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Handling Toddler Tantrums at Bedtime

It is nighttime and the house turns into a battlefield where your toddler doesn’t want to sleep and you are adamant that he/she should sleep. Even though you have sung lullabies, read stories and played with him/her still your little munchkin is showing no signs of sleep. These testing times leave parents frustrated and result in shouting matches where both sides do not want to negotiate. But as the saying goes, there is always a hope for good news. Yes, the good news is that the child overgrows these tantrums and parents are successful in retaining their sanity.

All toddlers are genius in negotiating on every issue relating to their welfare. Usually nighttime is when toddlers want to watch television, play with siblings, parents or pets. At this point of time, these little ones are very active and while going to sleep they cry, shout and even avoid the beds. Therefore, it’s important to understand why these toddler tantrums occur.

Tantrums occur because toddlers play more than required, which causes them to get overwhelmed with hunger and frustration. This further aggravates the problem when the child melts down at the slightest matter.

  • The list includes authority challenging tantrums. Here the purpose of this tantrum is to get what he/she is not able to procure.
  • Then is the attention seeking tantrum where your toddler wants you to pay full attention to him/her.

Solutions for Reducing Tantrums at Bedtime

Mostly toddlers will cry and shout and no amount of talking will help. The best remedy is to be firm and leave the toddler but remain within his/her sight and return only when he is calm. Further, these particular tips will serve as an answer towards the problem faced by most of the parents.

Avoid Certain Foods
Avoid foods which will keep your child awake. Doctors suggest that during nighttime, it’s always important to avoid caffeine and food that contain high sugar levels like cakes, chocolates, etc. Basically dinner should be a combination of items like vegetables and tomato sauce or spaghetti with sauce and for dessert, moderation rule is the best. Fruits like grapes, strawberries and other fruits which have high sugar content should be given moderately.

Give a Gentle Bath
Taking a calm bath can help your toddler to settle down. Bathing helps the body temperature to drop down, which then helps the toddler to relax. Also, it’s better to dress your child warmly so that the child may feel secure while sleeping. You can also use aromatherapy products in your baby’s bath. But before using these products, do consult your pediatrician about the product usage. Using a mild and calming lotion can help relieve stress from your toddler and help him/her to sleep.

Toilet Train Your Toddler
Before sleeping, do make it a point to have your toddler to go to the bathroom. This routine will help him in imbibing good habits. If these habits are not taught, your toddler will have a disturbed sleep and also can experience discomfort while sleeping. This can further aggravate the bed wetting problem; therefore it’s essential to toilet train the little one at night. Even if in bed, your toddler wants to go to the bathroom, then allow him/her to go.

Spend Quality Time
It’s important that you spend some time with your toddler. He/she is probably seeing you after a long day and wants all your attention. During this time, make it a point to talk to him/her about your day at work, ask him about his/her experience at day care or a play group. It’s always nice to be with them as it helps them to relax. Reading a story or singing also helps the toddlers accept bedtime routine without any fuss.

Allow Some Alone Time
If he/she wants some alone time to play quietly on the bed or read a book, let him/her do that activity. In this way, you are giving him freedom and you are also staying firm in your decision. If your toddler insists on not sleeping, involve him/her in other activities like listening to bedtime rhymes.

Manage Anger Spells
Even though you are tired and want to doze off, it’s important that you be calm while witnessing a tantrum. These anger spells will vanish once they see no reaction from you. When the toddler is calm, talk to him/her about the issue but be firm about bedtime routine. Of course the toddler will do everything to resist your decision. Here you need to steer your toddler in the right direction and not let him/her have his/her way. Try not to return to your child immediately after you leave the room. This will give your child the wrong message and he/she will know when to cry.

Provide Choices
Toddlers do test limits of parents but the best alternative is to offer your little one choices. Give the child a choice to watch the television, allow him some play time, etc. With the help of such choices, you can stay on course and let your toddler listen to you in a subtle way.

Lastly, the best way to stop a tantrum is to identify the underlying cause. Once you have singled out the cause, you can reason out with your toddler by establishing eye contact. If the tantrum increases in intensity, stay quiet until your child has calmed down. Try not to talk to him/her and resume talking only when your child has settled.

According to many pediatricians, sleep is important for your child from the point of growth and development of his/her body. Without quality sleep, your child can become cranky and suffer from other health problems. Therefore, it’s crucial that you do not act as a submissive parent but a strong one in order to set time for every activity. Like doctors say – you are the parent, you are the responsible one, so act accordingly. Though now it may feel as a difficult task, but later on this habit will certainly help him/her in future.

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