A Real Mum's Guide to Toddler Bedtime
After converting her Cot Bed into a Toddler Bed, Emma, from Robyn & Mimi has shared her story and top tips on tackling the toddler bedtime routine.
It's true what they say ‘these are the longest days and the shortest years’. Pouring all our love into a gorgeous neutrally decorated nursery, eagerly awaiting our new arrival. I can vividly remember staring at the cot wondering whose little face would eventually be staring back at me through those bars. In that moment I couldn't even imagine having a newborn and now here we are, fully in the midst of toddlerhood. The cot is no longer a cot, it has now taken on a new form as a toddler bed. One side of the cot has been replaced with a toddler guard rail which is like stabilisers, but for the bed, giving you peace of mind that they won't fall out and hurt themselves, a security blanket (for you and them) during this new stage of their sleeping life. The rail doesn’t go the full length of the bed as there is now a gap at the end, which for a fleeting second, prompts a hopeful daydream into your future where your child takes themselves off to bed at 6pm.
After going through this transition ourselves, I feel compelled to offer up any advice I can on what has worked for us to make this transition a little easier for everyone involved and restore some normality at bedtime.
Adapt and be Consistent with Routine
Make a plan and stick to it. It really is short-term sacrifice for long term gain. It will be hard, it will be challenging and it will be stressful but a few days of perseverance is a lot better than months and MONTHS of nobody ever getting a good night's rest. Previously we would read downstairs, maybe even watch an episode of In The Night Garden. Now the bedroom is set up for sleep after bathtime. The night lights are on and books are picked out ready to read in bed. This is really good winding down time with no extra distractions like the TV or bright lights to keep them stimulated.
Say Goodnight Only Once
Toddlers are always looking for a reaction whether it be a good or bad one from their parents. So when you react by getting mad, raising your voice, even chasing them around, it just stimulates them a bit more. We agreed to say goodnight only once. So any subsequent shouting/getting out of bed etc after that wouldn't get any interactions by way of talking from us. Our body language is neutral, calm and sometimes I even offer another cuddle and kiss (without talking) before placing her back into bed. So even though in the beginning you can be putting them back in bed up to 50 times and more, it very quickly (for us it was two nights) works and they understand there isn’t any point getting out of bed because nothing will happen and it's a boring game to play.
Make the Bedroom a Nice Place
This may sound a bit over the top especially as it's for your toddler but I am a great believer in how much our surroundings affect us. I have put my heart and soul into decorating our daughter’s room. Thought has gone into every item I have ever lovingly picked out for it. Blush pink in colour, it’s very calm and cosy. I feel like the love seeps out from the walls and it is such a nice setting to promote a restful sleep. The room is so cosy at night you can't help but feel instantly calmed when you're in there. A truly tranquil haven.
Don't Use the Bedroom/Bedtime as Punishment
It's inevitable that your toddler is going to be naughty but try to avoid negative connotations surrounding the bedroom/bedtime such as saying things like ‘you will go to bed if you are naughty’ because this can give negative associations with their bedrooms. Other than sleeping, I think the bedroom should be for quiet time, singing lullabies and reading. It’s where you can get ready and plan out your day and then talk about all the adventures you have been on. I like to think of it as her safe haven.
The Boori Provence Convertible Plus Cot Bed literally grows with your child. We have been using this cot from birth first with its raised height (which was great as we didn't have to lean so far over to put the baby down) before lowering the height as she became more mobile. It is currently a toddler bed with a toddler guard rail. Having a cot bed that transforms into a toddler bed means your little one has the familiarity and secure feeling of their existing cot, making the transition much easier. Eventually it will take shape in the form of a double bed (using the handy Convertible Plus Conversion Kit) and a sofa at the same time! If that's not impressive I don’t know what is. It really is a timeless classic luxury piece of nursery furniture that I expect will be in our home for a very long time.
For more tips & advice head to Emma's blog here.
For more nursery inspiration, take a look at Emma's beautiful Instagram feed here.