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Tips To Help Your Toddler Stay In Bed

Making the transition from crib to a toddler bed is a major milestone in a child’s life. But seasoned veterans know that the real challenge isn’t persuading your toddler to stay in their exciting new big-kid bed — it’s getting them to stay in that bed overnight. Even the best-sleeping toddlers need time to adjust and probably won’t stay in bed all night long, right away. Not only does your kid suddenly feel unfettered, but they also have newfound freedom to walk out of the room and indulge their curiosity about whatever noises mom and dad are making in the night.

So how do you keep your toddler in bed? For some parents, a toddler that won’t stay in bed is less of an issue. They have an open bed policy and it doesn’t matter where their toddler sleeps as long as their toddler is sleeping. For other parents, alone time is crucial, and learning how to keep a toddler in bed is a top priority. Enter yet another round of sleep training – toddler addition.

Sleep-Training Your Toddler

Sleep training a toddler goes by many names, most of which include the word “walk” in them. That’s because you’ll be walking back and forth between your bed and theirs. Maybe all night. The simple steps are:

1.Complete the bedtime routine as normal. Including hugs, kisses, and encouragement.

2.Leave quickly without fanfare, and no answering last-minute please, or requests.

3.If your kid gets up, walk them back to bed calmly, tuck them in again and remind them they need to stay in bed. Leave the room.

4.If your kids get up again, walk them back to bed calmly and now silently. Tuck them into bed. Leave the room.


This is not an easy or quick thing to do. It may take a night before it works. It might take five. But it will eventually work. The key is to remain completely calm and quiet in the face of whatever your toddler throws at you. Even if they are literally throwing things at your face.

Need motivation? Just think of the quiet nights of conversation with only you and your partner in bed. Or having sex.

Make Expectations About Staying in Bed Clear

Make sure your toddler knows what you expect from them. Explain that big beds are for big kids and they are perfect for sleeping. You can make a sticker chart for stay-in-bed rewards if you’re into that kind of thing. In terms of the bed itself, make sure that it has all the great stuff they remember from their crib, except for the spit-up stink.

Maintain Your Toddler’s Sleep Schedule

Keep your toddler’s bedtime routine as sharp as it once was. But this time look at it with a critical eye to make sure any changes in sleeping habits haven’t put you in an impossible situation. Is your kid still napping? Is that nap too close to bedtime? Is bedtime too early? These are things that will make your tiny night owl want to hop out of bed and party.

What you can do when your child calls out or gets out of bed.

If you think your child is calling out or getting out of bed because he needs your help or something is wrong, check him.

If you think your child’s sleep issues are caused by stress or anxiety, or if your child seems very afraid or worried about night-time or about separating from you, it’s a good idea to see a health professional. You could start by talking to your GP or child and family health nurse.

Sometimes children get out of bed or call out as a way of keeping their parents around at bedtime. If this sounds like your child, and you’re happy to resettle her each time she asks for you, that’s OK.

But if this is something you’d like to change, start by helping your child settle with a bedtime routine. Then deal with the calling out or getting out of bed calmly and consistently.

Setting up a bedtime routine is the most important part of helping young children go to bed and settle. A basic routine involves:

  • Doing the same soothing things each night before bed
  • Avoiding loud or boisterous play before bedtime
  • Avoiding screen-based activity in the hour before bedtime – that is, avoiding TV, computer games or tablets, and other handheld devices.

Here are some things to think about when you’re setting up or changing a bedtime routine to deal with calling out or getting out of bed.

Think About Timing

If your child is taking a long time to fall asleep, you might be putting him to bed too early.
If your child takes more than 30 minutes to fall asleep, try making her bedtime closer to the time she can actually fall asleep. This will make it more likely that your child will settle for sleep.

Once your child is falling asleep regularly at a later time, you can slowly make bedtime earlier. For example, make your child’s bedtime earlier by 15 minutes every two nights until you get to the bedtime you want.

Sometimes children can feel very active and alert later in the day. They might not even seem tired. But it’s best not to keep children up too late if you want them to develop good sleep habits.

Do A Quick Check Before Lights Out

Before turning out the light, check that your child has done all the things that might cause calling out later. Has your child had a drink? Been to the toilet? Brushed teeth?

Turn on a night-light if this makes your child feel more comfortable.

Remind Your Child of What You Expect

Before you leave the bedroom, you can say that you want your child to stay quietly in bed – for example, ‘It’s time to rest quietly in bed’. You can also say, ‘I’ll come back and check on you once you’re quiet’.

Next, you can say ‘Goodnight’ or ‘I love you, sleep tight’ (or whatever you usually say when your child goes to bed). And then walk out of the bedroom.

Praise Your Child For Being Quiet

If you go back to check on your child, give him some brief and gentle praise – for example, ‘Well done for staying in bed. You look nice and sleepy now’. You can phase out these checks as your child gets better at settling himself.

Tips to Help Your Toddler Stay in Bed.

Nov.13th 2020

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