Though it may seem like your toddler does nothing but play all day, he’s working very hard and by no means is his life stress-free. As he’s learning to walk, talk, and climb, he’s pushing himself to the limits of his physical strength and mental learning. He’s also falling down, bumping, surprising, and hurting himself over and over again each day. And since your toddler doesn’t yet know how to roll with the punches or ease up on himself, he’s constantly frustrated and angered by failure. All this activity is bound to make for an exhausted toddler.
If you find his favorite activities or routine tasks are frustrating him, he’s most likely overtired and in need of restorative and restful sleep. Physical exhaustion, excitement, and tension build up until he no longer knows he’s tired. Then it is up to you as a parent to help him figure out how to stop and rest. You can help make the transition from busy, active, energetic day to tranquil, quiet and peaceful night by easing him into sleep with quiet activities in the evening after dinner. Coloring a picture, sitting down and watching a favorite, but quiet, video, reading books, singing, quiet play at bath time, or singing lullabies together helps your toddler disconnect and start winding down. If this is done within the framework of a consistent bedtime routine, your toddler will come to associate these activities with bedtime and find them comforting and he’ll be able to easily recognize when bedtime occurs.
It’s also important to relax with your toddler. If he sees you busy in the kitchen cleaning, outside gardening, or doing other busy activities in the evenings, he’ll be likely to want to do the same, making the bedtime routine frustrating for everyone involved.