Toddlers are fascinating creatures, aren’t they? Watching them develop into thinking, creative little people is such a fascinating time, and one that parents often wish would last a little longer.
Of course, they usually wish that AFTER baby has grown out of the toddler stage, because along with that creativity and new found intelligence, we usually see a lot of boundary-testing, which can be incredibly frustrating.
When I have my initial consultations with the parents of a toddler, there’s usually some kind of amusing story surrounding bedtime. They’ll tell me about how their little one gets three or four stories a night, sometimes five, and then they usually ask for a glass of milk that they’ll only drink a few sips of, then they want to say goodnight in a very specific, drawn-out way, and the parents will end up looking at each other wondering how on earth they got to this point.
And it always happens the same way... a little bit at a time.
Toddlers love to test boundaries, and they know that the one thing you want from them at bedtime is for them to go to sleep, so they’ll use that to their advantage. I know it sounds a little diabolical, but it’s their way of seeing where your boundaries lie and how much authority they actually have.
So one night they ask for a glass of milk, and the parents think, “What’s the harm?” The next night, they ask for a glass of milk and an extra story. A week later, they want a glass of milk, an extra story, and three hugs and two goodnight kisses. Little by little, these crazy bedtime routines get established, all according to what the toddler wants.
When parents ask me this, I know they’re looking for a quick answer.
“Three nights from now,” or “Six months old,” are the kind of responses you’re hoping for, and the kind I wish I could give you, but it’s not that simple.
The first thing I need you to understand is this...
Your baby will never sleep through the night.
My name is Ericka Cooley and I'm a mom of two young ones, Taylor and Matthew.