How Long Should a Tot Take to Nod Off?

Sleep is the ultimate bugbear for many a parent—and when it comes to especially little ones’ sleep, the parental angst can be exponential. Mainly, it’s the time it takes for tots to give up the fight and say goodnight. Because commiseration is often the best medicine, here’s a poll of how long other mums and dads wait before their tots surrender to the land of nod.

Sleeping one year old baby girl

According to a survey of 2,000 parents by Better Bathrooms, a soul-sucking 90 minutes is the average fall-asleep period for kids under three—almost one decent film length (or two episodes of your fave Netflix show).

But it’s not all sitting in the dark restraining the thrashing. Those 90 minutes are actually broken down into some pretty special moments—with ‘bedtime’ actually referring to the rituals preceding lights-out, too.

The survey’s results reveal that approximately 22 minutes are spent on stories, with 30% of the time soaked up in the tub. On a less sweet note, 55% of parents claim they regularly miss out on eating dinner because of lengthy bedtimes. 15% of fathers admit they’d rather get in some work than get sucked into the seemingly endless get-them-to-sleep vortex.

There are some ways, however, that you can make the lights-out process a little less fraught; experts insist that routine is the key to cueing kids to sleep:

1. Bath

A bath doesn’t just get rid of the grub, it also relaxes muscles and helps cool core temperature to aid better sleep.

2. Jammies

Keep pyjamas lightweight and comfy—check that scratchy tags or bothersome buttons are removed.

3. Quiet game

Use the downtime to reconnect with your little one—set aside at least 15 minutes to chat about the day, or play a favourite (quiet) game together.

4. Stories

Choose a story that is soporific in content—no big thrills or spills; and keep your reading voice similarly sleepy to match.

5. Cuddles

Whether you stick around until they’re fully asleep, or bid goodnight beforehand, never skip this all-important final step—make sure you end the busy day with lots of love!

Via babylondon