As your little one gets older, you’ll find that they are far more susceptible to their environment with regards to falling asleep. Your baby, who previously couldn’t resist sleep when tired, has now transformed into a sleep-avoiding expert!
There are quite a few tips and tricks one can employ to help calm down a rowdy toddler at bedtime, as well as the usual bedtime routine methods of keeping things calm and dark, etc. I’ll go over a few of my favourites here. You could use these suggestions at any time of the day to calm your little one down if they are getting a bit overwhelmed. I’d love to hear your suggestions too; what helps your kiddo wind down?
A Warm Drink
There’s not many adults that can resist the sleepy-urges after a nice, warm drink before bed. Milk is a firm favourite; if you are nursing, then a relaxing nursing session will do wonders to calm them down — after all, human milk releases sleepy hormones in you and your little one; it’s perfectly designed to calm everybody down! If you’re not nursing, or your little one wants something in addition to this, there are a few other things you can try. Chamomile tea is a fantastic choice; it’s naturally caffeine free and is well known for its relaxing properties. It is very pleasant when iced, so if your little one doesn’t like warm drinks they can still benefit from its calming properties. Iced tea is easy to prepare; simply throw 3 or 4 bags into a glass jug/pitcher and cover with a small amount of boiling water. Allow to brew for the allotted time, before removing the bags and filling the pitcher with cold water and ice.
This can go either way with some toddlers; use with caution! Sometimes a slow, cuddly dance with my son to a relaxing song really calms him down, and it’s a wonderful bonding experience. However, if he is already quite hyper, just the mere mention of music (however calming and relaxing the choice) sends him flying around the living room, singing at the top of his voice! As I said, use with caution…
A Leisurely Walk
If my little man is overtired and struggling to cope with everything going on around him, we escape for a walk in the fresh air. This was especially wonderful when he was still being worn; I would put him into his PJ’s and snuggle him up in the sling, and we would go for a nice walk. The combination of the fresh air and one-on-one time with a parent never fails to calm him down.
Some children find it calming to sit up quietly at the table and do some drawing, painting or modelling with clay. Being able to focus their busy little minds on something constructive and not overly stimulating can bring them back down to earth. However, for a child that is incredibly overwhelmed and tired, this kind of activity may make things worse. Make sure you keep it simple, in order to prevent any frustration on their part.