A typical day for a modern family involves a lot of running. Running to and from school or daycare, zipping to sports or other activities, then flying through a family dinner to finally reach bedtime!

It is important to find some quiet time before bed, kids and parents need this time to unwind after a busy day.

Unfortunately, our kids don’t know how to naturally unwind, so we have to teach them. Because everything is new, and their brains are absorbing new information, relaxation isn’t easy for a busy toddler.

Since kids get tired at the end of the day, and tired looks different for each child, it is important for parents to recognize their own child’s sleep signs and begin a bedtime routine.

Parents everywhere are aware that having a consistent bedtime routine can help to ease the transition from playtime to sleep time.

But what activities will help calm a toddler and help them unwind? Which steps can you take to help your toddler find his own personal “power button” and turn off his brain for the night?

The following tricks might just be what you need to help your little one learn to relax before bed.

Dim the Lights

You can make a game of getting sleep spaces ready for bedtime. Place night lights in each child’s room to allow a warm glow instead of the glaring overhead lights.

Try spending just two or three minutes heading from room to room, transforming the space into a restful place. The kids play follow the leade while you go from room to room. Encourage them to stretch and move while they do this.

Try getting them to walk like an elephant, or crawl like a turtle (this is their last game before bed) to get the last wiggles out.

Get Ready for Tomorrow

Help eliminate the stress of the next day by getting items together for your morning routine now.

Young children can help by laying out their socks and underwear/diaper for the morning. Older children can help by packing lunches or lay out their backpacks.

This can help decrease the stress of getting ready in the morning!

Turn Bath Time into a Relaxing Spa

calm a toddler before bed
📷 IG @brock.maci.sky

Some parents find that it saves time to bathe multiple children at once.

Other parents find that kids are more relaxed when bath time is part of a peaceful wind-down routine. Try adding lavender scented oil to the tub and turn on soft music instead of splashing and playing.

Calm a Toddler Through Reading

calm a toddler for easier bedtime
📷 IG @jessieandager

Set aside at least ten minutes at bedtime to read. Snuggle into a comfy chair and let your child choose the book.

Allow your voice to maintain a gentle volume and take time to talk about the story, find things on the pages, and ask your kids what they think will happen next.

Not only are you helping build reading comprehension skills, but this quiet time helps their minds to slow and settle. (Remember not to turn on those big, bold, lights again!)

Use a Timer

Letting children set the timer can be a great way to give your toddler some autonomy. The timer can let your child know how much time is left for reading or bath time.

You could also try a soothing bedtime song that signals it’s time to be tucked in.

Remember that teaching your child to be calm is a process. They will need guidance and reassurance as well as consistency for this process to work.

Have patience while you introduce these relaxation strategies. Once it becomes second nature, your toddler will begin to calm down because it is a habit.

Feature image: @ashleyjoyperez

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