Bedtime Blues

Dear Janie,

Here’s a good one: bedtime.  My son is much better now about staying in his room, but he doesn’t go to sleep until 9 or 9:30 p.m.  We always follow the same routine, put him to bed about 7:45-8 p.m., and then he plays in his room.  He only comes out a couple times now, instead of several times before, but with him getting up at 6-6:30 a.m., I don’t think that is enough sleep for a 2-year-old.  He also takes a 1.5–2 hour nap during the day.

Signed,
Sleepy

Dear Sleepy,

As you know, sleep is very important for our little ones with developing brains. Two-year-olds need a combined average of 12 to 15 total hours (nap and bedtime) of sleep daily. Not enough sleep can impact our little ones in many ways. Good for you for having a consistent bedtime routine. Those are very important!

The same way you helped him learn to stay in his room will also help him stay in his bed. Cleanse his bed of toys and play items, dimly light the room (nightlights are fine), just him and his pillow. If he is getting out of bed to play, keep a look out for him getting out of the bed and gently put him back to bed without saying a word.  If he uses this time to play in toyland, his brain will not allow him to relax and visit dreamland.  Our book, The Sleep Fairy may also help your son stay in his bed.