Toddler Won’t Go To Bed Until 10pm? Here’s What You Must Do

Author Image By Paula McLaren - Norland Nurse NNEB RSH •  Updated: 04/06/23 •  Sleep / Sleep Tips

Are you at your wit’s end because your toddler won’t go to bed until 10pm? As a parent, we know how challenging it can be when your child’s bedtime routine becomes a nightly struggle. In this blog post, we’ll share some practical strategies and advice to help you tackle this common parenting issue and get your little one to bed earlier.

Why Is My Toddler Going To Bed So Late?

If your toddler is going to bed late you need to look at why they refuse to settle earlier. Therefore, you need to ask yourself:

Of course, in your toddler’s ideal world, they want to be with you all the time and spend all day together. Therefore, it is up to you to implement strategies to get your toddler into bed sooner so that you can have some downtime too.

Now here’s the painful truth… In most cases, your toddler is going to bed late because you are allowing it.

But the good news is that if your toddler has been going to bed at 10pm for a while, you can take action and get your little one sleeping earlier again and reclaim your evenings.

4 Ways To Get Your Toddler Into Bed Earlier

Before we begin, I am going to be honest with you… Dealing with sleep issues is tough.

Sleep deprivation makes all other aspects of parenting harder work so getting the whole family into a healthy sleep routine is vital.

If your evening routine is getting disrupted by having a toddler who won’t go to sleep until late then, thankfully, there are things you can do to get back on track.

Toddler Won't Go To Bed Until 10pm

1. Implement A Consistent Bedtime Routine

I am a great advocate of a healthy and regular evening routine and when your toddler is not going to bed until 10pm, you need a bedtime routine now more than ever.

Having a regular bedtime will ensure your children are getting the cues that bedtime is approaching to help them get enough sleep… And it will also give you time to yourself which is an investment in your parenting for the following day.

The three B’s principle makes up the majority of a bedtime routine (Bath, Book, Bed), however, you need to remember the following to really nail the evening routine fully.

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GOODLOGO: Bathtub Wall Toy for Toddlers - Fill, Spin and Flow

This bath toy from GOODLOGO will captivate your little one's imagination and teach them about cause and effect in the process. It is brightly coloured, has good suction cups, includes colanders, spinning aspects and fun waterfalls too! All in all, it is the perfect early bath toy!

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2. Create A Healthy Sleep Environment

Creating a conducive sleep environment with strong sleep associations will definitely help your toddler to sleep peacefully. Setting the perfect stage will also give your toddler fewer excuses to complain that they’re too hot, too cold, afraid of the dark, lonely and so on.

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Toddler Night Light Lamp By LICKLIP

Finding the right night light for your child can be quite a task. You want something safe, comforting, and practical. The Cozy Starry Night Light ticks these boxes, with eye-friendly warm lighting and an easy-to-use dimmer.

Its gentle glow makes it the best night light for feeding baby, diaper changes, or comforting your little one back to sleep.

As your baby grows the Cozy Starry Night Light's starry sky projection can provide comfort and gentle quiet time stimulation. Its soft lighting ensures a dreamy, peaceful environment, supporting your baby’s natural sleep cycle.

It really is a fantastic nightlight (at a very reasonable price!)

  • Eye-friendly warm lighting with adjustable brightness.
  • Includes a timer function for convenience.
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  • Rechargeable battery, so it's very portable.
  • A USB adapter is not included for charging.
  • The star projector is static without motion (however, this is ideal for very young babies and toddlers).
  • Battery life varies based on the brightness settings.
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My Top Pick
Dreamegg White Noise Machine - 21 Soothing Sounds

White noise machines are a game-changer for your little one's sleep and having one that plays all night is a must. With a long-lasting battery, this compact and stylish white noise machine contains 21 non-stop relaxing noises, which will lull your little one to sleep night after night, no matter where you are!

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3. Be Aware Of Nap Times

Sleep breeds sleep… so don’t be tempted to drop daytime naps in the hope that your toddler will be ready to go to bed earlier.

Overtiredness will make it even more difficult for your little one to settle at bedtime as they will be full of adrenaline and cortisol, so make sure they have enough daytime sleep and consider using a sleep schedule to help get into the routine.

Read my post When Do Toddlers Stop Napping to learn how many naps your child needs every day, what to look out for during a nap transition, and if they need quiet time.

Looking to get your little one to sleep quickly and effortlessly without any bedtime battles? Check out my Bedtime and Nap Cheat Sheet and master the art of making daytime naps and bedtimes as seamless as possible.

4. Know The Importance Of Daylight

Another thing you can do during the day to help your toddler be more ready for sleep is to make sure you get outside in the fresh air every day.

Being out in the daylight taps into your little one’s circadian rhythm which realigns their body clock and makes their body more aware of when they should be awake or be asleep.

Being outside also means that your toddler can run around, enjoy physical activity and use up more energy… all of which will help get your kids to sleep at a better hour as they will not be so hyper before bed.

Read this article to discover my favourite Outdoor Activities For Toddlers.

My Toddler Won’t Go To Bed Until 10pm Featured

The Process For Shifting To An Earlier Bedtime

If your toddler has been going to bed at 10pm for a while… the truth is that a sudden change to make bedtime happen at 7.30pm is not going to work. They will kick and scream and have far too much energy for you to handle… causing tears, tantrums and meltdowns.

So, here’s the secret to bringing everything together and getting your toddler to sleep at a reasonable hour…

Implement a bedtime routine which ends with them getting into bed 15 minutes before they would normally crash out.

For example, if your toddler normally crashes out at 10pm… Aim to start your bedtime routine at 8.45pm so they are all clean, cosy and reading a book by 9.45pm.

Then reduce the time you start the bedtime routine by 15 minutes every other day.

Gradually, and with patience and consistency, you will be able to work your toddler’s bedtime back to a reasonable hour.

It may seem like a simple formula, but it really does work brilliantly. And if you can stick with this, you will have a 7.30pm sleeping toddler in no time.

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Frequent Questions Asked Alongside “Toddler Won’t Go To Bed Until 10pm”

Looking for more information and help about a toddler going to bed late? Here are the answers to the most common questions.

How Much Sleep Does My Toddler Need?

Your toddler is a very busy individual and is learning at a rapid rate. Therefore, sleep is a hugely important factor in their healthy development.

The following guidelines are what sleep your toddler needs in a 24-hour period (including daytime naps) as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Is 10pm Too Late For Toddler Bedtime?

Yes, 10pm is a very late bedtime for toddlers. Ideally, your child should not be in bed any later than 8pm to ensure they get enough sleep to support their brain’s growth and development as well as their physical development.

What Time Do Most Toddlers Go To Bed?

The sad truth is that most toddlers are going to bed far too late. The National Sleep Foundation in America has conducted surveys that have proven that about 30% of children under the age of 11 get less sleep at night than is recommended.

Despite many sleep experts suggesting that young children should go to bed between 6pm and 8pm, the fact is that half of American toddlers and preschoolers, go to bed after 9pm.

This is a very scary fact and as parents, we have a responsibility to ensure our children are getting the best start in life and getting enough sleep is a big part of this!

If My Toddler Goes To Bed Early, Will They Wake Early?

Yes, your toddler will wake up earlier if they go to bed earlier. But your child should not be disturbing you before 6am.

If your toddler is going to sleep at around 8pm and getting enough restful, deep sleep… they should wake up between 6.30 and 7am. However, if you worry about your toddler waking too early, you can always use a color-changing toddler clock to help your little one visualise when it’s ok to get out of bed.

My Top Pick
MELLA Ready to Rise Children's Sleep Trainer

MELLA is the #1 most backed kid's clock and all-in-one Ready to Rise children's sleep trainer designed to keep your kid in bed longer. MELLA is a sleep trainer, alarm clock, sleep sounds machine, night light and nap timer rolled into one adorable package!

Studies show that children do not fully understand the concept of time until around 8 years old, so MELLA uses colours and facial expressions to teach your kid when it's time for bed and when it's okay to wake up. With MELLA, your kid can learn to stay in bed longer, giving you more sleep!

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Author Image Bio
Paula McLaren is the founder of Teething to Tantrums and a highly qualified childcare expert with over 40 years of experience as a Norland Nanny. She holds a BA (Hons) in Early Years Development & Learning (0-6 Years) and the prestigious Norland Diploma. Paula has worked as a night nanny, run a successful daycare center in London, and helped raise countless children using her tried and tested developmental and guidance methods.

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