How to Get a Toddler to Sleep Earlier – 7 Tips

Let’s face it, you have had a rough day, and you cannot WAIT to get your toddler in bed!

It is only when your toddler is asleep that you can finally relax and recharge for tomorrow’s onslaught… so you want to know how to get your toddler to sleep earlier, right?

Not only do you want your toddler to go to sleep earlier, but you also want them to stay in their own bed!

Here I give you 7 tips on how to get a toddler to sleep earlier, so you can take a break from the constant, CONSTANT demands on being a parent.

You have done well, now you can chill out!


How To Get Toddler To Sleep Earlier – 7 Tips

How To Get Toddler To Sleep Earlier – dadgold - parenting tips - toddler sleep

You have made a decision, you want to get your toddler off to bed a little earlier than they are used to, and you also want them to stay asleep. Sometimes you can do this easily, but other times, you may need to build up to the new bedtime over several days.

If you want to know how to get a toddler to bed earlier, it may take time and a slow build-up over a number of days!

Getting your baby or toddler to sleep and developing a good bedtime habit has some huge benefits for their development! You must have a good sleep routine.

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Let’s take a look at the 7 tips.

1. Relax them with a light projector

best baby light projector

If there is one thing to (almost) guarantee my son goes to sleep quickly, it is a light projector!

Seriously, these beauties work A LOT more than I expected them to when I was first introduced to the idea. First, they act as a distraction tool to snap your Toddler’s eyes on the awesome light show.

Then as the relaxing music fills the room, their melatonin levels ramp up, and they begin to get tired. The magic starts, and your mood improves as you accept that soon you will be free to do what you need to do!

I have some recommended light projectors to help get your toddler to sleep.

2. Take a drive

get Toddler to sleep earlier driving

I dread to think how much gas I have wasted getting my son to sleep since he was born!

Every single time was worth it, though. Strapping a toddler into a car seat and taking a drive is one of the best options if you want your toddler to sleep.

It is a better option to drive in the dark. Like a light projector, they begin to stare at the street lights as you drive past them, and their bodies start to relax.

Occasionally, when I am driving at night with my son, desperately hoping he will be asleep by the time we get home, he goes quiet. Most of the time, the quietness in the back of the car leads me to believe he has fallen asleep, and I can chill when I get home.

Sometimes though, he does not play ball, and as we pull up outside our house, I hear those depressing words:

Are we at home now?


Ultimately, if you want a tip for how to get a toddler to go to sleep earlier TONIGHT, then take a drive.

3. Make the house dark

get Toddler to sleep earlier make the house dark

Darkness begins the onset of a Melatonin increase.

Melatonin is your friend! It is the hormone that dictates our sleeping patterns. When you sense that it is getting dark, you begin to get tired. It is the same for your toddler.

If you want to get your toddler to sleep earlier, you need to ensure your home is not bright. You need them to realize that it is nighttime and not daytime.

Blackout blinds are a top invention, and they can be an excellent friend to you, especially if your house is naturally bright.

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Turn off those lights, and let nature take its course!

4. Make them tired during the day

get Toddler to sleep earlier make them tired

Exercise is awesome! Not only do they get to be healthier and happier, but they will also be tired and much easier to get to sleep earlier than their normal routine.

Ok, so this one takes a bit more prep time, and you need to be thinking about it earlier in the day to make it work. All you need to do is take a trip to the local play park(walk if you can) and let them run around!

If you do not have a local play park to go to, go out for a walk.

5. Fresh air is sleep-inducing

get Toddler to sleep earlier fresh air

If you have a toddler, you are old enough to realize that fresh air makes you tired.

It can be because you are generally performing some light exercise when you are out, like walking.

Fresh air does kind of fall into the tip above too. Another reason why it is important to walk somewhere because it is going to make them more tired!

If you live on the coast, why not go and take a walk on the beach? It is well known that sea air makes you tired, although I have no idea why it just works!

6. Think about what and when they eat

get Toddler to sleep earlier watch eating

Think about it; if you give your toddler some sugary treats and expect them to go to sleep 20 minutes later, it will not happen!

When you set the bedtime, make sure they do not have anything to eat in the build-up. Try to leave a gap of at least 1 1/2 hours between eating and going to sleep.

This is not limited to food either, so watch what they drink. If it contains sugar, it will not help, and to be honest, it is not healthy either.

It is best to stick with water or milk if your toddler wants a drink close to bedtime.

7. Take it day by day

get Toddler to sleep earlier plan

If you do not need them to get to sleep today, you have time to prepare them for the new time you would like them to sleep.

The best option is to prepare over a period of a week. Reduce the time each day by 10 or 15 minutes until you hit the desired time. They will not even pick it up!

You could even wake them up earlier each day to make them a little more tired when it comes to the evening.

Ultimately, preparation and a good plan are the key points.

Good reasons why you want your Toddler to sleep earlier

There are some good reasons to get your toddler to sleep early:

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It would be best if you got up early

You never know…..if you can get them to sleep early, they might wake up early and save you from having a grumpy toddler, right? Well, maybe. You might get lucky. You probably won’t, though.

To relax

This is the biggest reason. Being a parent is a tough gig and one where you seem to be paying out for the ticket TO that gig. You need to relax, you need to chill out, and you NEED to recharge.

Tomorrow is another day.

To get stuff done

That list of stuff you need to be doing is getting out of control, and you will not be able to get them done while a toddler is moving inconsistently around your feet. Why don’t they look where they are going?

Sure, you can get them involved in what you need to do; it sometimes helps. Other times, it just hinders you from doing a good job. Save it until they are asleep.

Why it is sometimes a bad idea to get your toddler to sleep early

I am going to stick with just the one here:

They will get up earlier

Ok, so this isn’t too much of a problem if your toddler likes to sleep in. In fact, you might be one of the luckiest parents around! If your toddler wakes early or gets up at the right time, you might be playing with fire.


All the above tips are fantastic if you want to know how to get a toddler to sleep earlier than their usual bedtime routine.

If that is your goal, cycle through the tips above until you get the desired result.

Some of the tips take some preparation, and you can use some to make a snap decision.

I use them at the last minute because there is a big game on the TV! That is usually the reason I like to get my son to bed early!

Oh, and try not to use all the tips in one go. Although it will almost certainly work, you will probably follow them to sleep as soon as they are asleep.

Good luck!


About ME

Let’s start with the obvious, I’m a dad.

I have 2 kids. One was dragged out from the comfort of his Mother’s womb kicking and screaming, and the other was a little easier.

Dad Gold was created to give tips that I wish someone had given me!

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