Keep in mind that few keiki willingly go to bed. They would much rather stay up and play. They think they will miss out on a great time if they go to bed.
There are some things you can do to help your keiki go to bed easier.
Preschool keiki should be in bed between 7:30 and 8:00 pm. Think about all the other things you can do with your time if your keiki is in bed!
A bedtime routine is crucial. Your keiki should go to bed to same time every night, even weekends and holidays. It is confusing for their bodies when their bedtime changes all the time. If keiki are used to going to bed by 8:00 they can handle staying up late once in awhile as a treat.
They should not watch television or videos after dinner. Parents often think that watching TV calms their keiki but often what happens when you turn off the TV is they become active again.
A bedtime bath is usually a calming activity. You can try adding some lavender body wash which will also help them calm down.
Brushing teeth can be done either before or after the bath. Letting your keiki decide when to brush often cuts down on power struggles because they feel that they have some say about their routine.
Take one last trip to the bathroom and get a last drink of water.
Read one or two books with your keiki in their bed. Again you can let your keiki have some say in the books you read but you can tell them how many you are going to read.
Kiss your child good night and tell them you will see them in the morning.
Enjoy your evening!
If you have an infant or are still breast feeding your toddler, do not breast feed or rock your keiki all the way to sleep. Keiki must learn to sooth themselves. When they fall asleep at the breast or in your arms they do not learn to put themselves to sleep. Instead nurse or rock until just before they fall asleep and then put them down. The habits you develop in infancy are more difficult to break when keiki become older.
Other helpful tips:
Make sure your keiki has protein and complex carbohydrates for dinner. It takes longer for protein and complex carbs to digest so your keiki is less likely to get hungry before bed time.
Consider giving them milk before bed. The calcium in milk may help them fall asleep. Do not let them fall asleep with a bottle. This may lead to cavities and more frequent ear infections.
You can put a cup of water next to their bed if your keiki uses the excuse of needing a drink to get up.
If your keiki gets up just very calmly, with no conversation, lead them back to their bed, and leave the room.