By now a bedtime will probably be established. If your toddler gets overtired he can become too wired to fall asleep. If you want to make bedtime earlier, start working backwards and putting him down 15 minutes earlier each night. He needs around 10-11 hours sleep at night with up to 2-3 hours of daytime naps. The daytime sleep may continue until he is 3 or 4 years old. Instead of a nap it may be a time for lying quietly with books and safe toys.
Children tend to feel comforted by routine, especially at bedtime as it helps them to relax. Try a bath, food and a story with a cuddle, then bed.
There may be renewed anxiety about keeping you within sight. Your child may already have a favourite soft toy or bit of blanket. Now it acts as a true comforter to help with the separation anxiety, make sure it is tucked up with him.
Many children overcome bedtime fears with a nightlight left on in the bedroom, the door left ajar, or a radio playing softly.
Your child may decide to try bedtime delaying tactics – two favourites are “I want a drink of water” and “I need to do a wee”. Also if he is now in a bed, getting up and down is very common, just for a chat and cuddle.
Be patient, firm and consistent. Put him back to bed and make sure he understands it is sleep time. By all means have a cuddle, and if necessary keep repeating putting him back to bed.
Never tie a child to the bed, or lock the bedroom door.