7 Effective Ways to Handle Toddler Tantrums at Bedtime

Children’s tantrums come out of nowhere, especially during bedtime. They used to sleep so well and so easily when they were younger, but now that they’re already toddlers, they have meltdowns right before bedtime. Parents wonder how can they manage toddler tantrums at bedtime.

Toddlers start to kick and scream and freak out, and you just wonder what went wrong. Maybe your toddler will resist your bedtime routine, or maybe he’ll start crying so hard that he coughs and gags.

Ways to Effectively Handle When Your Toddler Tantrums at Bedtime

It isn’t easy to remain calm and composed when your toddler throws a tantrum right before bedtime. Dealing with kids will take all of your efforts and sometimes, you’ll feel like you don’t know what you are doing. Don’t worry because you are not entirely hopeless.

Here are 7 strategies that moms have found to be effective in dealing with toddler’s tantrums at bedtime.

Talk to your kids about the plan

Children don’t like to be surprised so when you plan to end the day, talk to them about it. When you already have a bedtime routine, talk to your toddlers about what to expect still. Just tell them what they should do after dinner time. Talk to them about brushing their teeth and changing into their pajamas after bath time.

Tell them about how you’ll read a story to them before lights off and hugging them and kissing them goodnight. Parents can do this for a number of days so that your toddler will get used to it. Give your children a head’s up so that they won’t throw a fit or at least their tantrums can be lessened.

Have Snuggle Time with your Kids

To ease the separation anxiety of your toddler, snuggle with them until they can sleep soundly. This anxiety is a common reason why toddler tantrums at bedtime and by snuggling with them and having quality time with them, you can ease this anxiety. Make them feel that you are always there for them, that they are safe and secure, and that they can sleep comfortably because you will see them in the morning.

Spend a few minutes with your kids in their bedroom, you can even read them a book or make silly faces to make them laugh. Tell them you love them and kiss them goodnight to remind them that you will always be there for them.

Give them a special toy or something that will comfort them

Your child may feel alone and lonely when they are sleeping in a bed without you. This can potentially trigger them to throw a fit. If this happens, you can offer them a comfort item or a special toy that they can hold on to and bring to bed so that they won’t feel alone.

This special toy can be what they need for you to convince them to go to sleep. A comfort item can be a soft blanket, a cute stuffed animal or a favorite household item that you don’t usually let them have.

Your toddler’s emotions are valid so acknowledge it

Tantrums make parents lose their minds because they seem to come out of nowhere. Sometimes, even when the bedtime routine is the same, tantrums just suddenly happen even major changes haven’t happened in your life. Know that even the smallest things can trigger a human’s emotional strength and this doesn’t exclude kids. While they seem to be doing okay on the outside, your kid may be feeling another thing inside.

Toddlers may have been experiencing a developmental milestone and you haven’t discovered it yet, or perhaps, he’s trying to communicate something to other people and he’s been affected by it so he’s clingy to you.

Acknowledge your child’s emotions, whether it’s sadness or anxiety or anger. Don’t tell them off and deem their emotions as petty or frustrating or repetitive. Show your child that you understand him and that his feelings are heard. Showing empathy to your children will make them feel that you are on his side and will melt his defenses and be more willing to follow and comply with you.

Set boundaries and indicators

Every parent, if not most, have experienced negotiating with their kids. May it be “one more story”, or “one more minute in the tub”. No wonder kids will have a tantrum when it’s already time for bed. This is why it’s important to set indicators and boundaries so that kids won’t go overboard.

Set indicators that your kid will understand. Be firm when the bath time starts and ends, or that they only have this amount of time to wear their pajamas. This will give you the opportunity to teach your kids how to tell time.

Stop their habits that you don’t want or like

Sometimes, when parents feel very tired from their day, they do what they have to do to get through bedtime and through the night. Some moms coax and spoil their baby just to get them to sleep, some dads even fall asleep in their kid’s bed just to make them fall asleep. If these things are taken too far, it can give mixed signals to the toddlers.

They would get used to these routines and habits and they’ll come to accept them as the normal type. Stop doing the habits that you don’t want. Be intentional with your choices and set up a plan on how you’ll deal with your toddler’s bedtime tantrums.

Be consistent

Regardless of your kid’s bedtime tantrums, being firm and consistent with your efforts means you are making sure that your child stays in bed. Explain it to your child thoroughly so that they will understand that what you tried in the past wasn’t working. Explain to them that bedtime is important and that sleeping in her bed on her own will be good for her.

Your child will likely cry at first but she will eventually get used to it in time. Just don’t shut her out and assume that she’ll get the point immediately. Check in with her from time to time, talk to her in a calm manner and encourage her that she can do this.


Parents will have trying times on how to deal with toddler tantrums and it can be very exhausting so hopefully, these seven tips will help you with it. Follow these tips so that your little one will be a great sleeper again.