How do you put your toddlers to bed at night?

Alicia - posted on 05/25/2012 ( 3 moms have responded )




I have 2 girls, 3 and 4, and I just don't know how to get them to go to sleep. They have a nightly routine of bath time, brushing their teeth, and reading a bed time story with mom. Their bed time is at 9 o'clock. It seems no matter what I do, they won't go to sleep till midnight or later. They don't typically take naps...They just play until they wear themselves out. I've tried rewarding them and punishing them...but they don't seem to respond to anything i do. Help?


Louise - posted on 05/26/2012




Crikey 9 o'clock for a 2,3, and 4 year old this is late. None of them need a nap in the day any more so make sure they are active and stimulated all day. At 6.30pm you should be into wind down time where you turn anything stimulating off. The kids can draw do puzzles or read but nothing that involves screaming and running around. Bath time at 7pm (I think I would bath the two small ones together quietly and then the 4 year old later on. 7.30pm story and bed. The at 7.30pm I would bath the 4 year old and put her to bed at 8pm. Ideally they need there own room. If all three girls are in together this is going to be a problem.

If you put them to bed earlier they might wear themselves out and fall asleep by 9pm. You have to get into a routine of putting them to bed early and laying the law down. Just try and take control of the situation. Take all toys out of the room and leave them with one teddy each. This way you are limiting the stimulation in the room. If they are in the same room then this is going to be really hard until they are old enough to understand that it is sleep time.


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Dove - posted on 05/27/2012




3 and 4 are preschoolers, not toddlers. ;) Try starting the routine earlier and staggering their bedtimes. Since they are used to going to bed at 9, maybe put the 3 year old to bed at 7:45 and the 4 year old to bed at 8:15. If staggering doesn't work, then maybe separating them and/or removing the toys from their room (I wouldn't have the space to do this one, but maybe you do) would work.

I agree that 9pm is too late. That's the bedtime of my middle schooler on school breaks. lol

Sarah - posted on 05/26/2012




9pm is too late for toddlers. I'd suggest 7, MAYBE 8 at the absolute latest. Many people think that putting them to bed later means they'll be more tired, but this isn't the case. Kids sleep better when they go to bed earlier. What we do with our almost 2 year old and 3 1/2 year old is: Dinner (5-6ish). Bathtime immediately after dinner. Jammies. Brush Teeth. Bed. They get 1 bedtime story, 1 song. Then lay them down awake. I have a nightlight for each of my children. They each have a comfort item (my son a blanket, my daughter a stuffed animal). I have to say, I almost NEVER have a problem with them going to sleep (maybe like once every couple months). We don't deter from this routine at all, it is done the same way every night. Kids thrive on routine and schedules. It may be a rough go the first week or so until they realize that you mean business, but it should work. Oh, sorry, on the odd times we do have problems, I just lay them back in their bed, give them a kiss, and say goodnight. If they get up again, no words, just lay them down. You don't say if they're in the same room or not, but if they are and you have the option, consider putting them in separate rooms. I also have an extremely strict no tv in the bedroom rule. I know many parents have TVs in their kids rooms, but IMO, if they're in there than things that are supposed to happen in bedrooms generally don't happen. Good luck.

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