Just because your toddler has all this energy to spare doesn't mean it's okay for her to sleep inconsistently. So you'll need to choose a bedtime and stick to it. Toddlers need between 10 and 12 hours of sleep at night, so your child should be going to bed between 7:30 and 8 p.m., depending on how early you need her awake in the morning. Between ages 2 and 5, kids are also ready to start giving up their afternoon nap -- if you think your child is ready, that may also help make her more tired before bedtime. Remember, the key to a sleep schedule is consistency. Try these tips to get started:
• Give a warning about 15 minutes prior to starting your bedtime routine, so your child knows it's time to start winding down and finishing whatever she's doing.
• Set up a bedtime routine, like reading a story, that will signal your child that it's time to sleep and get her in the mood to snooze. Start at the same time every night.
• Once you've completed the routine, say goodnight to your child and leave. If she comes out of her room, turn her right around and put her back to bed.
• Make any post-bedtime interactions with your child totally boring (i.e., no conversation, cuddling, or playing), which will help make it not worth her while to get out of bed.