Re: Teach me how to be a better parent to my toddler. I'm failing miserably.
I set up a sleep schedule for my (then) 18 month old to help her with sleep issues. My husband was away for training for 5 months, I had to stay with my MIL, so I ended up sleeping with her every night. She kept getting out of the crib, so I just let her sleep in my bed. When he finally came home, we moved across the country for his new job and she had her own bedroom again.
Needless to say, it was a huge ordeal getting her to bed every night. I did like KingsDaughter76 - she goes potty, brushes her teeth, then we lay down in her bed. I read her 2 books, then turn out the light. I sing her a song or 2, and sit there for a bit and cuddle. When it's time to get up, if she begins crying, I remind her that its dark outside, which means it's bedtime. Then I remind her everything we just did to get ready for bed. Then I give her a kiss & a hug & tell her I will see her in the morning. When I did this the first few times, she screamed and jumped out of bed, hysterical. I sat outside her room, but did not come in. She would cry for a few minutes, then go to sleep on her own. It took a few weeks before she finally accepted it, but after that it's been smooth sailing. It was very rough to listen to her cries, but in the end I believe it made her stronger and more independent. She is now 4, and has no issues when I walk out her door at night.