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Toddler Bedtime Routine: Using Doll Play To Promote Sleep

It’s no secret that doll play is fantastic for growing imaginations. But did you know it can also introduce young children to the concept of routine and the importance of a good night’s sleep?

Here, we cover exactly why establishing a bedtime routine for toddlers is so important, explain how toddlers learn through their roleplay and offer hints as to how you can guide that play, as little ones mimic their own evening activities.

The importance of a toddler bedtime routine

Alongside helping to soothe and calm your child so they’re ready for sleep, a bedtime routine helps your little one develop good sleep habits which they’ll carry into their future. And, as there’s no shortage of research touting the mental, physical and emotional benefits of a good night’s sleep, establishing a healthy bedtime routine for toddlers will pay dividends in the long run.

 

How toddlers learn through roleplay

As little ones play with dolls, they’re developing a sense of responsibility – learning how to take ownership of something and make sure it’s cared for. By taking Baby Annabell through the bedtime routine in a calming, nurturing way, your little one will be processing not only the steps involved, but also getting to grips with why these steps are important. It’s for this reason that you should talk your toddler through the purpose behind each one. For example, “We give Baby Annabell a bath so she feels lovely and clean before bed!” or “Let’s read Baby Alexander a story to help him feel calm and cosy.”

 

The bedtime routine: toddler-proofed

Toddler bedtime routine too long? You’re not alone. At this age, your little one has a growing sense of self, bringing with it newfound independence that can make them reluctant to go to sleep, resulting in a lengthy bedtime routine. After all, when they’re having so much fun with you, it’s only natural they’d like it to continue! By incorporating Baby Annabell, your little one can find fun in the bedtime routine itself, making it something they look forward to engaging with rather than something to resist.

 

Let them know what’s coming

Toddlers get a sense of reassurance from knowing what’s coming up, so gently remind them what the next activity will be, with plenty of time to process it, to help the evening run calmly. For example, instead of cutting off their play with “It’s time to brush your teeth now” and whisking them away, try saying “You can have two more turns with that toy, and then it’s time for you and Baby Annabell to brush your teeth”.

 

Give them a sense of ownership

Another option is to implement a toddler bedtime routine chart, which offers little ones a visual guide to what comes next and gives them a sense of achievement once they complete a task. The chart should include all the things they need to do, such as:

  • Eat dinner
  • Bath
  • Pyjamas on
  • Brush teeth
  • Drink water
  • Change nappy / use toilet
  • Story time
  • Cuddles
  • Sleep time

Why not take a photo of your little one completing each task with Baby Annabell before printing them out and laminating them? That way, they’ll have a personalised toddler bedtime routine chart full of bonding activities they can’t wait to do with their favourite doll each evening.

 

Make it fun, yet calming

For toddlers to want to engage in an activity, there needs to be an element of fun. From marvelling at the magical Baby Annabell Let’s Play Bath Time with splish-splash sound effects, to bundling up their doll in the Baby Annabell Sweet Dreams Nightwear and snuggling down to get lost in the pages of a book together, there are plenty of fun yet calming ways to incorporate doll play into the bedtime routine.

 

When it’s finally time to drift off, Baby Annabell will make a yawning sound to signify she’s tired, close her eyes when laid down and breathe deeply once asleep to soothe your little one and send them into their own peaceful slumber.

To create a toddler bedtime routine full of tender, soothing moments, check out the Baby Annabell Sweet Dreams collection.