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What are your proven wind-down activities for a 2.5yr old to help them get ready for bed?
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We also had a bit of a wind down routine for our kids when they were little. It always began with a relaxing bath after dinner and getting into some warm pyjamas. We then allowed half an hour of TV time with a show that was calm and not exciting. Following this we read some stories and then said goodnight. This simple routine worked well for our 7 kids.
We always had success with a bath or shower to help wind down. I even use a lavender spray or body wash and tell the kids that it's a special calming lotion. The shower was just a part of our daily routine and it worked. I know a lot of kids don't want to or need to bathe daily - but this worked for us.
We were reading to the kids for a bit, but sometimes having another person in the room was a little overstimulating. We have been using audio books or "Amazon story time" on an Alexa in the kids room. The kids love it so much. They get to pick their story theme and it will turn off after a certain time. It's a great way for them to lay down and focus quietly.
Each of our children was a little different regarding their nighttime needs. Some required a bit more attention, while others were a breeze to put down.
However, we did do a wind-down routine for all of our kids.
We always had baths and then "quiet" time.
Quiet time amounted to about 30 minutes of cuddling on the couch and watching TV. From there, we did the usual bedtime story, prayers, and tucking in.
At this point, we had to diversify depending on the child. Some simply rolled over and went to sleep at this point. However, there were 2 that required an adult to lay with them for a bit before we could "sneak out" of the room.
One very active little guy needed to read a book about relaxation as he could not "turn off" his body. Buddy's Bedtime Battery was the perfect story for him as we turned off each part of his always moving body to help him relax.
Here is the link to that book on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Buddys-Bedtime-Battery-Christina-Geist/dp/0553513397