Like most parents, you’ve probably struggled with getting your toddler to stay in bed at night. They seem to have boundless energy and can often be found continually getting out of bed. Toddlers need to get a good night’s rest; it is equally important for parents.
So if your toddler won’t stay in bed, here are 11 tricks that work. Keep on reading because there are a few things you can do to make your toddler stay in bed all night!
In This Article
How To Make Your Toddler Stay In Bed All Night!
#1 Explain new changes clearly, so your child knows what to expect
The first step is to explain the recent changes that will be happening to your toddler. Just like you do when it’s time to wean your toddler off their pacifier you want to be sure to use straightforward language, so they understand what is expected of them. When children know the expectations, they will likely adhere to them.
Staying consistent as a parent is vital to having consistent children. Clearly state what you expect of your toddler during bedtime and throughout the night.
For example, state the rules, then ask, ok, before we go to bed, what are the rules? Then have your toddler repeat what you said and offer help if your toddler has trouble remembering what you said.
#2 Have firm boundaries
The second step is to have firm boundaries and stick to them. You must be consistent with your rules so that your toddler knows what they can and cannot do.
Before putting your toddler to bed at night, go over the boundaries with them to help refresh their memory from the night before.
As you continue to restate the boundaries each night with your toddler, it will eventually become second nature to them. If you give in one night, it will only make it harder the next time you try to get them to stay in bed.
#3 Don’t give your attention to non-ideal behaviors
The third step is not to give your attention to non-ideal behaviors. Toddlers are often testing boundaries and will continue to do so until they get the response they are looking for. If you give them attention when trying to get out of bed, it will only reinforce that behavior.
When your toddler tries to get out of bed, calmly and firmly say, “It’s bedtime; please stay in your bed.” If they continue to get out of bed, calmly put them back into bed. Be sure not to show any emotion when you put them back to bed. The goal is not to give them attention for this behavior.
It’s essential to also not give in to demands during the night. If your toddler wakes up and starts making demands, such as wanting a drink of water or a hug, calmly say, “It’s bedtime; please go back to sleep.” Then tuck them back into bed. Your toddler will expect you to give in next time if you give in once.
You can learn more about how to avoid giving attention to your toddler’s non-ideal behaviors in my book called Parenting Without Drama.
#4 Adjust the schedule
If your toddler seems to be wide awake at bedtime, you may want to look at your toddler’s routine and adjust their schedule if your toddler is still taking naps during the day and has an early bedtime.
Their bedtime may be too early because they simply aren’t tired. Or you may want to try decreasing their nap time so that your toddler will be tired at bedtime.
The same could be if your toddler’s sleep is too late; if it’s late at night, your toddler may be overtired, leading them to need their parents much more.
So take a look at your toddler’s schedule and make adjustments and give any new adjustments a week or two to see if they work and if they don’t, try another adjustment to your toddler’s schedule until you find one that works.
However, don’t change things too fast, as you won’t be able to properly identify whether the method you are trying is working or not.
#5 Clear & consistent bedtime routine
A bedtime routine can help your toddler know it’s time to start winding down for the night. Your bedtime routine should be around15-20 minutes long and should include activities such as:
-Putting on pajamas
-Reading a bedtime story
-Giving hugs and kisses
-Tucking your toddler in bed
It’s important to be consistent with your bedtime routine so your toddler knows what to expect. Having a clear and consistent bedtime routine can help ease your toddler into sleep mode.
#6 Help your toddler fall asleep by themselves
Getting your toddler to stay in bed all night involved teaching them how to fall back to sleep independently. You can do this by using the “chair method.”
This is a common sleep training method for babies, but it also works great for toddlers. If your toddler is used to you staying with them until they are fast asleep, then when they wake up in the night, they will go to you to help them fall back asleep.
The chair method is where you sit in a chair next to your toddler’s bed until they fall asleep. Then after a few days, you move the chair farther away from your toddler’s bed, and every few days, you move the chair farther and farther from your child’s bed until your chair is outside your toddler’s room.
If your toddler does wake in the night, repeat the chair method and sit where you were sitting previously. Do this consistently, and eventually, your toddler will learn to fall back to sleep all by themselves.
#7 Consider your toddler’s bed size
When a toddler goes from a crib to a big twin-sized bed, it can be a hard adjustment for them. A big bed can feel overwhelming to a toddler and make it harder to stay in their bed all night long.
If this is the case with your toddler, consider moving your toddler’s crib mattress to the floor or getting a smaller bed, such as a toddler bed that is low to the ground.
# 8 Make a sleep-friendly room for your child
When making your toddler stay in bed all night long, you also want to make sure their environment is sleep-friendly.
This means making sure their room is dark, calm, and quiet. You may need to purchase some blackout curtains for your toddler’s room or a white noise machine to help them sleep through the night.
Make sure your toddler’s room brings a sense of peace and calmness. If there are items or toys left all over their room, this can create anxious feelings, and your toddler may want to play, making it harder for your toddler to fall asleep.
#9 Get creative
If your toddler needs extra comfort, they are scared of the dark or monsters, you will need to get creative and develop ways to help your child meet their nighttime fears and needs. Here are some things you could try:
-Monster Spray Bottle
#10 Teach your toddler what to do when they wake in the middle of the night
If your toddler does wake up in the middle of the night, you want to be sure they know what to do. You can do this by teaching them to go back to their bed and try to fall asleep.
If they are still struggling, you may need to get out of your bed and help your toddler by bringing them back to their bed and following the chair method mentioned above.
So start by figuring out why your child comes to you in the middle of the night in the first place. Is it because they are scared, thirsty, or wet the bed? Once you know why your toddler is coming to your bed, you can teach them what to do instead.
Lastly, you want to…
# 11 Include your child in their bedtime routine
Giving your toddler small choices in their bedtime routine is a great way to allow your child some control and empowerment. Children who feel like they get some control over their bedtime routine are more likely to be cooperative and make their bedtime routine go by much smoother.
You can do this by holding up two pairs of pajamas and asking, “do you want to wear these or these?”
Or, “Do you want to brush your teeth now or after getting your pajamas on?”
Whatever the options you give, only give two at a time to not overwhelm your toddler with too many choices.
Not only is it important to know different methods to help make your toddler stay in their bed. It’s also important to understand what could be causing your toddler to get out of bed at night. Here are a few
Bedtime No-No’s to avoid:
#1 Avoid shaming
Shaming sounds like this, “Good children stay in bed,” or, “Only good girls or boys sleep through the night.”
When you shame your child, it only makes them feel worse and more likely to fight against what you try to get them to do. Instead, try phrases like, “I know you can do this,” or, “I know you will stay in your bed all night.”
#2 Avoid threatening
In most cases, threatening doesn’t work, and your child will get out of bed anyway, leaving you upset and frustrated. Avoid saying things such as, “If you don’t stay in your bed all night, then you don’t get the iPad tomorrow,” or, “If you get out of bed tonight, then your stuffed animal gets taken away.”
It would be better to give the other methods, such as providing options mentioned earlier in this video.
3. Avoid talking too much
When it comes to your toddler’s bedtime, talking too much can get in the way of your toddler’s peaceful, calm, and quiet bedtime routine. If your toddler asks you a question, simply answer it. Say what you need to say using short, simple phrases and leave it at that.
4. Avoid overstimulation
Overstimulating activities such as watching movies or playing active games right before bed can make it hard for your toddler to fall asleep when it’s time for bed. If your toddler’s body is not calm, they won’t sleep!
Relaxed bodies lead to sleeping bodies, so instead, try reading a story, quietly playing with calming toys such as puzzles, blocks, coloring, or singing a soothing song together. If your toddler got some wiggles, you could create a fun wiggle dance to help get all their wiggles out.
Making sure your toddler stays in their bed all night long can be a tricky process, If you find that no matter what you try that your toddler just won’t stay in bed or not go to sleep then check out a sleep consultant to help you further!