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5 ways to create a bedtime routine for your toddler- so everyone can get more sleep 😴

Newborn babies have the impressive ability to sleep just about anywhere at anytime. But that all begins to change right around the time they gain mobility. With the great big world to explore, it's as if sleep has lost its appeal—which can mean you suddenly have a bigger bedtime battle to wage.

Don't worry, though: It's completely possible to skip the battle and transition smoothly to bedtime. It all starts by acknowledging (as hard as that can be) that your little baby isn't so little. But by graduating from a traditional wearable blanket to the ingenious new On the Move Sleep Bag from Ergobaby with optional legs for loungewear, you can give them the independence they crave—while developing a peaceful bedtime routine that calmly transitions them to dreamland.

Here are more ways to make winding down a special (and stress-free) experience for both of you:

1. Start winding down early

Once little ones are on the move, there really is no slowing them down. That means going from 60 to zero when the clock says it's bedtime is just setting you up for a struggle. Before even signaling to them that it's "bedtime," it can help to turn off any screens, put on calming music and focus your attention on them.

"Before bed is a great opportunity to slow down, spend some time with our littles and give them our undivided attention," says Motherly's Sleep Expert, Rachel Gorton, a certified Infant and Toddler Sleep Specialist.

This could even include a post-dinner stroll around the neighborhood: Ergobaby's On the Move Sleep Bag brilliantly features openings to accommodate the straps in a stroller or car seat—so you can go ahead and dress baby for bed at the start of the wind-down process.

2. Encourage the use of a healthy sleep prop

Back in the days when baby didn't need much additional help falling asleep, it was probably common to feed them until they drifted off. As that begins to change, Gorton says it's key to support your child in finding a new sleep prop—or something that sends them cozy-time cues. "Instead of that prop being you, I suggest encouraging a lovey or using a sleep sack to provide comfort and security throughout the night."

With Ergobaby's new On the Move Sleep Bag, it's easier than ever to help your mobile child still experience the comfort of a wearable blanket: Just start by adjusting the snaps to open the leg holes so your child can freely move about. Then, before moving them into bed, simply fold and snap the leg holes inside to transition it into a comfortable, enclosed sleep bag.

3. Keep connection at the center of the process

As you transition into the real bedtime routine—including taking a bath, dressing them in pajamas and a walking-friendly sleep bag, and reading a book—make sure there is enough time to take your time. Those perceptive little kiddos can pick up on it if you're feeling anxious about the ticking clock, after all. By instead framing it in your own mind as a precious opportunity for connection, the sense of serenity will positively affect them, too.

"Children crave one-on-one connection with us and with the hustle and bustle during the day, it can be a challenge to find those moments of pause with our children," Gorton says. "When our children feel nurtured and loved, it also helps prepare their minds and bodies for rest."

4. Respond to your child’s favorite rituals

Tiring as it may feel to read the same book five times a night, every night, Gorton says that's actually a positive sign that your child is developing his or her own bedtime routines.

"This is why your child wants to hear that same song over and over or read Goodnight Moon for the 50th time in a row," Gorton says. By encouraging them to make their own choices when it comes to bedtime stories or by empowering them to get out their pajamas and sleep bag, you're giving your growing baby a much-desired sense of independence—with the ultimate goal of a peaceful bedtime transition.

5. Follow the same flow

By creating predictability with everything from the time of bedtime to the flow of winding down, you are sending your baby important cues about what to expect. "Children, especially toddlers, thrive when they are able to predict what is coming next through the repetition of routine each night," Gorton says. "This consistency lets your child know what is coming and helps her to transition more easily from day to night."

From reading books to singing songs and dressing for bed in Ergobaby's On the Move Sleep Bag, you are developing a sweet routine that leads to sweet dreams.

This article was sponsored by Ergobaby. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

When it comes to registering for baby products, there's one word we love: convertible.

In contrast to items you use for a short period of time, convertible (or multi-use) products are made to grow with your baby… and trust us, that makes them worth their weight in gold.

Convertible items allow you to reap the benefits of your baby registry for years to come—and that's just savvy shopping, mama. Also savvy shopping? Creating your baby registry with Target and enjoying their Year of Benefits registry program for expectant parents. Just by starting your registry, you will get a welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons and samples, two 15% off coupons to complete your registry, and a full year of returns. And Target's newest registry perk, the Year of Exclusive Deals, gives you discounts on essentials for your baby's whole first year when you sign up for Target Circle as well.

If you prioritize value and longevity when creating your registry, here are 10 items you'll love from day one through day 1,000… and beyond!


A crib that can grow through childhood + beyond

Simmons Kids Slumbertime Monterey 4-in-1 Convertible Crib

A crib is a necessity as you plan for life with your baby—you know that already. But what about in a couple of years when they need a toddler bed? Or a few years beyond that when they graduate to a bigger bed? Well, you're in luck: With the right attachments, this bed can be the only one they need until college.

$299.99

A cozy blanket for snuggles + security

Plush Velboa Baby Blanket I Love You - Cloud Island\u2122 White/Black

Blankets have earned their spot on millions upon millions of registries for good reason: They function as stroller covers or play mats during the early days, then become beloved security items in the toddler years.

$14.99

A comfy spot for feeding + stories

Baby Relax Addison Swivel Gliding Recliner

During your first months of motherhood, a comfortable gliding chair will be your second home as you spend time feeding and bonding. As your child grows (and mobility makes those snuggles harder to catch), you'll discover a new love for this cozy spot for stories and bedtime snuggles.

$329.99

https://goto.target.com/YJj2e

Sealy Cozy Rest Extra Firm Crib and Toddler Mattress

Fun fact: A standard crib and toddler bed actually use the same size mattress. That's why it's smart to get a quality crib mattress right out of the gate: One less thing to change up in a few years!

$59.99

A changing table that doubles as a dresser

Simmons\u00ae Kids Monterey 4 Drawer Dresser with change top

If space is at a premium in your baby's nursery, look for a combination changing table and dresser. That way, you can keep using the dresser long after your little one is potty trained.

$319.99

A car seat that converts to a booster

Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat

The safest place for your child is in the backseat of your car, in either a car seat or (later) booster. But instead of buying a new seat for each phase, you can check off multiple boxes at once by adding a convertible car seat to your registry.

$159.99

A stroller that accommodates big kids, too

Graco FastAction Jogger LX Stroller

The need for a good stroller doesn't end when your little one learns to walk, so look for a stroller that can accommodate bigger kids, too. We recommend a jogging stroller that allows you to attach an infant car seat and is still perfectly spacious for toddlers.

$146.99

A place to dine for years to come

Ingenuity SmartClean Trio Elite 3-in-1 High Chair - Slate

From first bites to family dinners around the table, one single high chair can be the solution you need. That is, if you look for a version that adapts into a booster seat when your child is ready for a plate at the table.

$99.99

A white noise machine + alarm clock in one

Hatch Rest Sound Machine, Night Light & Time-to-Rise

After spending months listening to ambient noise in the womb, white noise remains incredibly comforting for your child. It's nice to have a sound machine that can transition to a time-to-rise clock down the line. By cueing with sounds and colors, these clocks reinforce healthy sleep habits.

$59.99

A baby carrier that can haul a toddler, too

Infantino Flip 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier

A carrier is a major help when your baby loves being held, but you need use of your hands. But even months or years down the line, you can still get use out of that carrier. To maximize longevity, look for one that can be used with your child facing outward or even carried on your back as they grow.

$29.99

Enjoy building your registry with Target, mama! The Year of Benefits is calling your name with a Year of Exclusive Deals available via Target Circle, two 15% off coupons, a year of hassle-free returns, a free welcome kit and more! 😉

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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