Temper Tantrums at Bedtime - What is a Parent To Do?
Articles about parenting toddlers will tell you that at that age they need around ten hours of sleep each night. They will usually disagree with you, and the result is the dreaded bedtime fiasco of stalling, crying, and temper tantrums. This is especially true if your toddler is not an only child. Older children who are allowed to stay up a little later look like grown ups to these sleepy toddlers, and they want to stay up with them lest they miss anything.
This is an excellent time to take advantage of quality time with your toddler. If the fact that the other kids get to stay up later is an issue, make bedtime a very special quiet time for baby and parent. Read them a story all to themselves after a nice warm bath and all of your undivided attention. The toddler learns the discipline of getting ready for bed at a consistent time every night, and if you plan ahead and keep an hour before bedtime free of any other distractions, this should go pretty well. Do not rush the situation; the reward will be that the littlest angel is sleeping peacefully and you will have some time to yourself.
If the cause of the problem is not other children or a stubborn toddler, it may be that the baby is having dreams that upset them. You can't explain what dreams are very well at this age, but you can tell them that sometimes all the things that they see during the day play games at night in their head. Sometimes the games will wake them up, but you will be there and it is safe to go back to sleep. You may also want to read some books on the subject of bedtime parenting advice. Toddlers can be complicated little people if they can't articulate what they need. If the situation is overly volatile, there may be something else going on entirely or you may just have an active, creative, stubborn child.
Bedtime can be a challenge, ask other parents who have been there. Read articles about parenting and bedtime and you'll see what I mean, it's a very common part of raising kids. You can meet the challenge by having a plan, being consistent, and keeping your sense of humor.
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