a baby drinking milk in dad's arms
parents

winding down

3 minutes

Kids seem to do best with a bit of consistency to their days. This doesn’t mean you have to follow a strict routine; it just means giving your toddler a predictable pattern they can rely on.

This becomes more important as your toddler starts to demand their independence – a very normal part of growing up! Often, it’s those “care moments” that turn into a battle:

  • Mealtimes

  • Nappy changes

  • Getting dressed

  • Naps

  • Bedtime

Why your toddler might be resisting

Next time your toddler throws a tantrum or seems to make a big deal out of nothing, ask yourself if they might be hungry or thirsty, overtired or overstimulated. Sometimes (but certainly not always) your toddler will simply have missed a nap or is due a snack and that alone can mean the end of the world.

We can’t keep them in perfect balance all the time but having a flexible eating and sleeping pattern can help alleviate some of the drama. At the very least, you know you can rule out hunger or tiredness the next time there’s a tantrum.

Let them do it themselves!

Maybe getting dressed in the morning is tricky for you and your toddler. Can you involve your child as much as possible so they think they’re in control? For example, let them know that after breakfast it’s going to be time to get dressed and they can pick which jumper to wear today (or socks, or entire outfit…)

Maybe you can get them excited by saying how this morning they might like to practice putting their own clothes on. You can let them know you’re happy to help if they get stuck.

Make sure you allow an extra 5 minutes so you don’t risk trying to rush through the “game” - little people pick up on these things!

Our favourite helping activity: ask your child to bring you a nappy and a packet of WaterWipes ready for nappy changing time. Ask your toddler if they can pull out a wipe each time you need it. An older toddler might like to count 1, 2, 3.

The greatest battle of them all: bedtime

At some point, even the best sleepers might start to refuse naps and put up a fight at bedtime. Here are some tips to make winding down for sleep more successful:

Create a simple routine for bedtime

This doesn’t need to be lengthy; you want your toddler to recognise each step and know what comes next. For example, dinner, bath, books, and bed.

Replicate the bedtime routine before naps.

For example, lunch, wash hands and face, then into bed.

Your toddler can use WaterWipes to wash their face after lunch, praise them for their good job.

Keep nappy changes and bedtime separate

If a nappy change winds your toddler up, try doing these away from sleep time.

Naps and bedtime might shift a little each day, but it’s what comes beforehand that signals to your child it’s time to wind down for sleep.

The cure for anything…

At the end of the day we’re all just doing our best and parenting is hard work! We can put a simple schedule in place; make sure the kids aren’t too hungry or thirsty, overtired or overstimulated; anticipate battles before they start; and give our child a sense of control.

And even on a perfect day it can turn to custard in a moment.

If all else fails, let them loose with a packet of WaterWipes, run a midday bath or turn the hose on. We reckon pure water is as much of a cure as salt.

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