It happens to everyone despite your best intentions and best efforts. Whether it is due to traveling, sickness, sleeping in a new place, changing for daylight saving time, or just a babysitter who could not get him into bed as scheduled, there comes a time when your little one gets off his sleep schedule. While the disruption can be minor if it is not too much of deviation, getting significantly off a routine can not only throw your little one off, it can also make it seem like you have no time to yourself or time to get anything accomplished without having a tiny child under foot.
Shift the time gradually
This is the gentlest approach to moving a bedtime or nap time. Each day sneak up the time you put the little one down by five or ten minutes. It is a slow tactic, so for large disruptions this may take longer to reset a skewed bedtime than you want to take. But because it is slow, it is easier to execute and adjust without major fights.
Tire him out
If you are trying to get back to naps after missing a few, or trying to reclaim an early bedtime, a tired child will fall asleep easier than one who is well rested. Try increasing your child’s activity level. Take them outside to run around. Spend time at a playground chasing them. Add a playdate with active children. Try introducing a new game that requires plenty of running or jumping. Any activity that gets them moving will help spend energy. Be careful to time your activities; too active too early and your little one might just take a longer nap and still be wide awake when you want him to go down for the night.
Create a calm environment
Trying to get a young one to go to sleep on time, let alone getting back on schedule, is hard to do when there is excitement. If you know you will have your little one out of the house for a special event, or if you have visitors that can provide overstimulation, it is not the time to worry about resetting a schedule. Wait until visitors have left, schedules have settled down, and order is restored to your house. Once you have normalcy, you can create a calm atmosphere that will be more conducive to sleep. Remove all distraction and turn the light down. Make being awake as boring as possible.