7 Steps to a Tantrum-free Bedtime

“Bedtime”. A phrase whose very utterance has been known to reduce one to tears; kicking and screaming, biting and scratching, and a bolstering sense of vigilant defiance. And that’s just the grown-ups. Here at Cuckooland, we’re experts in children’s beds and furniture, and we have all the hardware that you need to send your kids off to Dreamland.

But the road between playtime and bedtime isn’t always a smooth drive; there are often obstacles, roadblocks and massive, gaping canyons stopping you from getting your child to go to bed and stay there. But since we only stock the very best kids’ beds and bedroom furniture, we understand how important a successful bedtime is to you and your children alike, so here are our 7 tips to preventing tantrums at bedtime!

Our gratitude goes to Hasbro Hospital, who recently acknowledged this article as a great guide for assisting children with their bedtime routine.

A Healthy Daytime Routine

One of the main and most overlooked causes of your child not wanting to go to bed is that they may not feel like they’ve spent enough time during the day with you. It goes without saying, but in today’s busy rat-race world, it’s important to remember to spend a good amount of quality time with your child during the day! Not only is this a good excuse to wear them out so that they’re tired come bedtime, they’ll also be satisfied with the time they’ve spent with you, putting them in a happier frame of mind for sleep!

Cool-off Time and a Good Story

That said, don’t let the playtime go on for too long, especially in the run-up to bedtime! Too much stimulation in the two hours prior to bedtime will mean that, by the time your child is in bed, they’ll still be in “playtime mode”, rather than “bedtime mode”, and they simply won’t be ready for bed! If your little ones are still running around later than usual, then it might be time to time to watch a film or read a couple of stories together to get them ready for bed. Keep a regular bedtime routine, but shake it up just a little bit so that they can’t sabotage it on their off-days!

A Bedroom Re-think

We’ve recently written a post on creating the perfect children’s bedroom, so we’ll keep this point quite brief! It might help to change your child’s room around a little bit to add a sense of “novelty” to bedtime. Build your children’s bedroom around them; their interests and their personalities. Maybe you can spend some quality time looking through our innovative range of children’s’ furniture together.

Shameless Bribery

Don’t worry, we won’t judge you. We know kids, and sometimes when there’s nothing else to lose, a parent’s got to do what a parent’s got to do. The promise of kisses, cuddles and – if necessary – another story when your child gets into bed can do wonders when you’ve exhausted all of your other options. Don’t make it a regular thing, though – that’ll only make them expect it all the time!

As a child of the 70’s and 80’s my mum used to give me the old “teddy rotation” trick. This is where I’d have so many teddies that I wouldn’t notice if she took a couple and hid them in her bedroom – then, when I wouldn’t go to bed, she’d show me these teddies that I hadn’t seen in a while, and bedtime suddenly seemed more appealing! Well, that and the further bribe of hot chocolate and another chapter of my favourite story (Black Beauty, of course!)


This one’s a Supernanny classic.

“Are you ready for bed yet?”

Come on, we all know what the answer to this question is going to be. Instead of asking questions like “are you ready for bed?”, “are you going to brush your teeth?” and “are you ready for story-time?”, don’t give them the option of saying “no”. Instead, say something along the lines of “which story do you want to read in bed?” or “what flavour toothpaste are we brushing our teeth with?” This not only distracts the child by making them feel important in the heat of a decision, it removes the option of a “no”, putting you back in charge.

Lay Down the Law

With all this in mind, don’t forget who’s running the show here, Mum and Dad. They may be the prince and princess, but you’re the king and queen, and you need to let them know that! This is for when the previous step hasn’t worked as well as it might. If there’s a particularly tempestuous tantrum going on, rather than trying to reason with your child – who’s probably only doing it out of defiance – walk away, take a deep breath, and ask again. Sooner or later, they’ll tire themselves out, and eventually, they’ll learn that tantrums aren’t going to get them very far!

Make a Game of it!

Just because bedtime is a time to relax doesn’t necessarily mean that it can’t be a little bit of fun! Remove the fear of lights-out by mixing it up on certain days with story-time under the blankets with a torch, or with a show of hand-puppets with that same torch and lowered voices to create a quiet and relaxing mood that’s both calming and fun. Another idea is to create a fun little scavenger hunt – hide bedtime things like teddies, toothbrushes and storybooks around the house in the general direction of the bedroom, and have a slow-paced half-hour-or-so of helping your child look for things. Hide the final thing under the covers – and once you’ve got them where you want them, ambush them with a story! Don’t do anything too exhilarating, though – you don’t want them getting all riled up again!

Now, of course, none of these are dead-certain to prevent tantrums. Kids’ minds work in strange ways, and some days are just “tantrum days” no matter what you do! But for the time being, we hope our tips will help your children (not to mention you!) a better night’s sleep! While you’re at it, be sure to check out our cool range of kids’ bedroom furniture, like the Mathy by Bols range of beds, built with imagination at the forefront of design!


With more than 8 years’ experience in providing advice and support to parents looking for their perfect kids bed, mother of 2, Nathalie Davis is passionate about helping children develop. In her role as Director of Product Procurement at Cuckooland, Nathalie has helped thousands of parents improve their children’s sleep and sleeping habits through the beds and mattresses she sources and the articles she writes. In her spare time she teaches her Golden Retriever to be a responsible vegetarian and is often spotted sifting through clothes at her local Charity Shops.

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