(CNN) – Establishing a good bedtime routine for a toddler sets an important precedent for future health. That’s usually easier said than done.
However, there are ways to help your little one to consistently get to sleep.
Dr. Terri McFadden from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta says, “Toddlers learning to sleep well is really important, because it’s a platform for their overall health. We all need to have our bodies and our minds rest at night so that we can replenish, rejuvenate so that we can be ready for the next day of activities.”
Between talking, playing, and learning, toddlers are very active. Getting them to slow down at bedtime can be a real challenge.
Pediatricians advise parents to remember the “4 B’s” when it comes to a bedtime routine.
Dr. McFadden says, “Routines are really important, so starting with bathing and having that bath time that allow them to settle down. And then, brushing their teeth and then they start to think, ‘Okay, bath then brushing.’ And then, bedtime and story time. It’s really important to have a nice calming activity like reading a book together, and then there’s bedtime.”
Singing a lullaby or playing soft music can help. If it’s too dark, add a night light or leave the door cracked.
And for children older than 12-months, a special blanket or toy can help.
Dr. McFadden says, “These are all behavioral modification techniques that we’re talking about, and none work overnight. And so, a parent really has to decide that this is a course that they’re ready for, and they have to be consistent and make sure that they’re ready for the long haul.”
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