Tantrums at Bedtime: 3 Ways To Turn Your Bedtime Beast Into A Sleepy Puppy!

It seems that when it comes to your toddler, throwing a fit about watching his favorite show, getting one more glass of water and hearing just one more story are the things that tantrums at bedtime are made of.

While all of this may seem like new territory to first time moms, veteran parents know that this behavior isn’t just cliché . . . it’s downright normal. Children in the second year of life are just notoriously, well, sometimes a little bratty and unfortunately it’s just the nature of . . . nature.

What it means to be a Toddler

The first thing to realize before you try to tame the bedtime beast is that your son or daughter is hard wired to explore the world. When bedtime comes around it can be really hard for your little guy or girl to stop playing and that’s not just because it’s fun – it’s because playing is how a two year old will learn most of what he knows.

While you might not always like how he’s learning the lessons, whether it’s him refusing to get out of the bath because he’s afraid the ducks will go down the drain or whether he wants to try to get dressed himself . . . which of course always ends up making him angry because he’s still just too small . . . these little mini adventures are how toddlers get to know the world. His need to explore is a lot of our need for a coffee break – if we don’t get it we might get a bit cranky.

With that said this doesn’t mean you should give in and let your little guy explore until the wee hours of the morning. It’s just meant to help you understand why these battles might start. But these aren’t the only reasons that bedtime can go all wacky . . .

Temper Tantrums

Emotions and temper flares can have a lot to do with being unable to settle down for the night. Toddler temper tantrums cannot only be a hassle for parents they can also be scary for kids. Bedtime tantrums can be the scariest and they can happen for many reasons . . . Maybe your search for his red dinosaur didn’t end successfully, maybe he doesn’t like the light off in his room, maybe his sippy cup went under the bed or you didn’t read his favorite story just one more time.

A lot of parents make the mistake of walking away from their toddler during a tantrum. This is, after all, an age old method and sometimes even necessary if you feel that you too are getting a little too hot headed, however, it’s really more successful to sit next to your child during a tantrum and especially during tantrums at bedtime.

A tantrum doesn’t happen just because – they happen as a direct result of your child’s emotions going out of control. There is nothing a two year old likes less than feeling out of control and this can be very scary for them. It’s important to know that tantrums at toddler bedtime aren’t directed at you. They simply have yet to learn to control their feelings. Assuring your child that you are near is helpful and some toddlers even respond well and will calm down sooner if picked up and held.

It’s important to note that sometimes stress also comes out at bedtime . . . if you are expecting a new baby or if you are going through troubles in the home then your child picks up on those things and may not always act quite like himself. Working to help him feel secure and paying him extra attention can also help to settle tiny fears and get little noggins in bed faster.

Settling In

The key to making bedtime easier for both you and baby is to keep things simple. Too much activity right before bed can make settling down tricky. Finding out what works best for your child is also vital as tantrums at bedtime are caused by different things in different kids. What works for one person might not work very well for you and vice versa.

A bedtime story is of course a great settling down tool and bath time, for those who enjoy bath time, can be helpful. If your toddler likes bathing and you have trouble getting him to get out of the bath then be sure to start the bath a little earlier than normal so rubber duck time doesn’t start cutting into bedtime hours. I find using language techniques like compliance sets or reframing methods work very well. Read my review to find out more how these methods work.

Developing a routine can be hard for parents because sometimes you just don’t feel like doing it all the same way. But in the long run this will really be beneficial to both you and your child. Toddlers thrive on familiarity. It comforts them and gives them a sense of being in control . . . as we spoke of before, control for a toddler is VERY important to feeling secure.

When it comes to temper tantrums, there really is no sure fire way to kiss them goodbye forever. However, with the right amount of patience, love and a little bit of luck you can help make bedtime an easy transition for you, your toddler and your family. As Chris Thompson  points out, picking your battle will saves you great amount of unnecessary frustrations.