How can I avoid bedtime battles with my toddler? Sleep

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toddler crying in crib
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Struggling to get a tired toddler to bed at night? Get expert advice and read about other moms' successful strategies for making bedtime more peaceful.

Create a Bedtime Routine

"Your kids will probably find every excuse in the book to not want to go to bed. A bedtime routine you stick to is totally worth the having! Not only is it important so your child gets enough hours of sleep, but it is a great time to nurture your relationship with your child. Take the time to snuggle, talk about your child's thoughts and feelings, give your child undivided attention, and show your child that you're there for him or her. A bedtime routine helps your children feel safe. Your...

"Your kids will probably find every excuse in the book to not want to go to bed. A bedtime routine you stick to is totally worth the having! Not only is it important so your child gets enough hours of sleep, but it is a great time to nurture your relationship with your child. Take the time to snuggle, talk about your child's thoughts and feelings, give your child undivided attention, and show your child that you're there for him or her. A bedtime routine helps your children feel safe. Your child will also learn to relax at the end of the day and develop a love of reading. Once you begin reading and dim the lights, he will calm. Even if bedtime is the furthest thing from calm in your home, do not give in and let him stay up. Stay strong and stick to it. It will be well worth it in the end." -- Alison Mitzner, MD, pediatrician, New York, NY

Figure Out Why

"It may take some detective work to get to the bottom of it. Perhaps she's scared. If so, give her a 'monster light' -- a flashlight specifically designed to smash out monsters. It worked for my son."

Set Bedtime Rules

"She needs to know what you expect of her, so ask her to help you make up 'sleep rules' that you post on her wall. Before it's time to turn off the light and go to sleep, you both recite them together."

Don't Cave

"You just have to keep putting her back in bed over and over until she stays there. If she makes excuses -- like 'I'm hungry, I'm thirsty, I'm not tired' -- just keep telling her it's bedtime and put her back."

Use a Reward System

"Use a sticker chart to reward her for 'going to bed nicely.' This mean no tantrums, no throwing things, etc. After a set number of stickers, tell her you will take her to the store to get a little treat or present."

The advice on CafeMom aims to educate, inform, and provide a range of solutions to the issues moms care about. It is not a substitute for consultation with a medical professional or treatment for a specific condition. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without consulting a qualified professional. Please contact your health-care provider with questions and concerns.