How to Get Your Toddler to Stay In Bed
Making the decision to transition your toddler from their crib to a toddler bed is a HUGE milestone! It is such an exciting time for your little one, but can be overwhelming and a little troublesome for you, the parent. Now that they have a bed that is easy to get in and out of, it can become a real challenge to keep your kiddo in bed all night. Without the tall sides of a crib, toddlers can hop right out of their own bed, leave the room, and make their way to yours at bedtime or in the middle of the night!
Getting in a routine of letting your little one sleep with you every night can cause huge issues for both your and your child’s sleep. You may also fall into the cycle of needing a drink, needing to go potty again, brush teeth one more time, read another story, the list can go on forever… Toddlers are masters of finding reasons to get out of bed now that they have the newfound freedom of a big kid bed. This isn’t formally known as a sleep regression but more so toddler behavior in testing boundaries and limits! So, your toddler won’t stay in bed? How do you keep them from getting up a million times? Let me give you some quick tips!
How do you get your toddler to stay in bed??
1. Set Clear Boundaries and Expectations
From the very first night your toddler sleeps in their new bed, set clear and firm boundaries and expectations. Let them know that it’s time for sleep and they are to stay in bed all night until wake up time. Don’t be afraid to introduce a reward or incentive for staying in bed if they start to have lots of get ups. Kids are super visual, oftentimes a sticker chart can come in handy when setting the expectation of staying in bed. Make a simple chart and let them put a sticker on it each time they stay in bed. Let them know that if they stay in bed x amount of times they can have a reward!
2. Have a Solid Bedtime Routine
If your child doesn’t already have a solid and predictable bedtime routine, now is the time to set one up, before you switch them into a new bed! Bedtime routines don’t have to be long and complex. A good bedtime routine has a few consistent steps that you do each night to signal to your child that it’s time for sleep. It can be as simple as brushing teeth, putting on pajamas, reading a story, snuggling, and then into bed. Having this solid routine in place before making a big change will help keep your child comfortable and ready for the change. With a solid routine in place, it signal’s your child’s brain and body that it’s time for bed and they will fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer, eliminating the need to get out of bed a bunch of times.
3. Lots of Positivity!
Nothing makes a toddler happier than making you feel proud! In addition to offering them a reward for staying in bed all night, making a HUGE deal when they do stay in bed has an awesome impact on your little one. Praise them up and down when they wake up in the morning having stayed in bed all night. Start each morning in a super positive way and it sends a happy and delightful message to your kiddo that you’re SO PROUD of them!
4. Night Light / Clock
Kids have very active imaginations. Switching from a crib to a big kid bed can be a great time to introduce a night light to your kiddo’s room. This can help them feel a little more secure in their space and provide them the comfort they’re looking for in their new bed. If your toddler falls asleep independently and sleeps through the night but is getting out of bed at the crack of dawn, an OK to wake clock might be what you need. They light up green at a time that you set, letting your kiddo know that it’s OK to get out of bed.
If after trying these tips you’re still struggling, let me know!! In addition to more formal sleep training, I have tons of helpful guides, smaller packages and quick calls that can help you get your kiddo sleeping all night in their own room, without all those trips out of bed!