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Night Time Checklist for Toddlers

by Stacey Chaloux, studioD

Bedtime can sometimes be a challenging time as a parent of a toddler if your little one is refusing to go to bed or having a hard time falling asleep. Solving these problems helps your toddler get the sleep she needs while you end your day without feeling stressed. The key to a peaceful bedtime is a consistent routine so she knows what to expect and feels secure going to bed each night.


A warm bath can be relaxing and is a good way for your toddler to wind down from her busy and exciting day. While she may enjoy a few bath toys and playing in the water, try to keep this time as calming as possible. As you wash her, talk with her about what she did that day and praise her for any particular accomplishments. This will be a signal that the day is ending and you are moving on to the quiet and relaxing parts of your evening as she prepares for bed.


After her bath, let your toddler pick out the pajamas she will wear to bed. You may need to limit her choices to just a few pair of pajamas, asking, "Do you want the pink or red jammies tonight?" According to Dr. Laura Markham of AhaParenting.com, because toddlers are experimenting with their independence and their ability to control the world around them, they can often be defiant. By giving your little one control over this aspect of her nightly routine, you are more likely to get cooperation for the rest of what you are asking her to do, like go to bed.

Brush Teeth

Toddlers still need help brushing their teeth, according to the Ask Dr. Sears website. But you can allow your toddler to hold the toothbrush with you as you clean her teeth, helping her accept it more easily. Young children who are likely to swallow their toothpaste should not use toothpaste containing fluoride, so look for special toddler toothpastes or skip it all together and just use water. Sing the same song each night while you brush so your toddler relaxes and knows how much longer she has until toothbrushing is over. Setting these habits at an early age will help your child continue to have healthy teeth throughout her life.

Settle In

The last parts of your routine should take place in your child's room as she settles in for bedtime. Choose a routine that works for you and your child, but keep it simple. According to Parenting.org, your bedtime routine should occur in the same order each night and include quiet activities such as a story, a song and a bedtime prayer. Make her toys inaccessible if she likes to play with them at bedtime, and allow her one security item to take to bed with her such as a favorite blanket or stuffed animal. A fan or a white noise machine can help lull her to sleep, and a nightlight can help ease fears of the dark. Most importantly, you should leave the room after you say goodnight so your toddler learns to fall asleep on her own, according to MayoClinic.com.

About the Author

Stacey Chaloux is an educator who has taught in both regular and special education early childhood classrooms, as well as served as a parent educator, teaching parents how to be their child's best first teacher. She has a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Missouri and a Master of Education from Graceland University.

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