Bedtime tantrums are one of the most common toddler sleep problems that parents experience. There are many reasons why your toddler may be exhibiting bedtime tantrums. The first step to finding the solution of the tantrum is to find the cause.
Consider which of the following tantrums your child is exhibiting:
1) Over-Stimulation Tantrum – your toddler is overwhelmed, tired or hungry. His tantrum doesn’t seem deliberate; instead, it seems like he’s melting down.
If this is the case, slow down your child’s activity level about an hour before it’s time for bed. Look over his bedtime routine and ensure that there are no stimulating activities.
2) Power Tantrum – your child isn’t getting what she wants, and she wants you to know it.
Her tantrum seems completely deliberate, and she’s challenging your authority.If this is the case, offer your toddler choices.
Does she want to read a story or brush her teeth? If she feels that she has an option, she will most likely calm down and make a decision.
If she doesn’t call down, lay down the law: “You can do this or this. I’m not willing to argue any more about it. Let me know when you’ve made your decision.” Then
walk away and take a deep breath.
3) Attention Tantrum – your child is trying to get you involved, paying attention to him.
His behavior will seem deliberate, as if nothing will please him. If this is the case, evaluate the amount of time you spend with your toddler–is he getting enough one-on-one time with you during the day?
If not, this may be why he strives for your attention at nighttime. Teach your child various positive ways to ask for your attention.
If none of this works, remember that your toddler only wants your attention. So deprive him of your attention until he calms down.
Remove yourself from his room and tell him you will return once you hear him talking calmly. During tantrums, remember one thing: you are in
control of the situation.
Make bedtime a time to sleep, not to talk and act out. Keep your attitude firm yet boring. If your toddler wants a glass of water, get it without a word, give it to him, and then leave the room. This will teach him that no matter how much he acts out, his place is in his bed.
If you’re looking for more tips and strategies to help your toddler sleep through the night, you can check out my toddler sleep resources here.