7 Things to Do When You Don’t Know How to Keep Toddler in Bed

It can be a huge challenge to get enough sleep when you don’t know how to keep toddler in bed in her or his room. The constant battle of taking them back to bed can be overwhelming. Such situations could often lead to you giving in and letting them sleep with you. Once your kids crawl into your bed, you can kiss the idea of getting any sleep goodbye. You will worry about rolling over on them and getting little feet in your face. The six inches on the edge of the bed will be your “half” for the night. In the meantime, your toddler will gladly take up the rest of the bed.

It is important that kids sleep in their own beds. The reasons are their safety and your sanity. But how are you supposed to get any sleep if your toddler doesn’t stay in bed? Be prepared that it will require some dedication and consistency, but it can be done. After the first few days you spend breaking the habit, your toddler should be sleeping in their own bed. Everyone will get more sleep in the long run, and be more awake and energetic during the day.

bed with toddler and toys in the air

Transitioning from giving in and letting your toddler sleep with you to getting them to go to sleep in their own bed is hard for everyone involved. Your toddler may meet you with resistance, and you may want nothing more than to give in. In the moment, you may feel like crying and that the back and forth will last forever. Don’t give in right away, as the hard part will end sooner than you think.

It can take up to two weeks to form a habit, and even longer to break one. So, think about creating a new habit, rather than breaking the original habit to learn how to keep toddler in bed. During this time, try to remain as consistent as possible and avoid any other major events in your toddler’s life. You will have more success if your toddler isn’t also focused on something else, like potty training or moving into a new home.

Figuring out what to do when you want to find out how to keep toddler in bed can take some trial and error. Check out these seven tactics to help establish a routine and create the habit of staying in bed so that everyone can get more sleep.

1. Open the Door

One of the reasons it’s hard to know how to keep toddler in bed could be that they are scared yet they don’t want to tell you. There could be any number of things that they are afraid of, whether it be the noise from outside or just afraid of the dark.

Keeping their bedroom door open is a great way to remind them that they are not alone and you are just in the next room. This reminder could help your toddler feel more comfortable and more likely to stay in bed after you tuck them in.

2. Skip the Nap

As your toddler gets older, the need for the midday nap disappears. If your toddler doesn’t stay in bed at night, it could be that they are not as tired as they should be.

Try getting rid of the midday nap to see how to keep toddler in bed. This way, your toddler will be ready to go to sleep when it is time for bed. Be prepared that you may have to put them to bed earlier if you get rid of the nap. An overtired toddler may be just as hard to put to sleep as a too-well rested one.

3. Establish a Reward System

collection of baking stickers with roller pin, cookies, jar, made with love message, spoon, bowl

Despite what some people say, there is absolutely nothing wrong with rewarding your toddler for good behavior. If your toddler doesn’t want to stay in his or her own bed, try focusing on the positive and establishing a reward system.

Every time your toddler goes a night without getting out of bed, reward them with a few stickers for their sticker book. You can use whatever reward system works best for you and your toddler, whether it be stickers, candy, or trips to grandma’s on the weekend.

4. Leave a Night Light on

Many toddlers consistently get out of bed because they are afraid of the dark. Try leaving a night light on. This way, they can see around their room and know that there is nothing to be afraid of.

Letting your toddler keep a flashlight by their bed could give them a sense of control over their fears. This can help solve the problem if your toddler doesn’t stay in bed.

5. Establish a Consistent Routine

Establishing a habit can take up to two weeks. You will have to put in a lot of hard work, yet consistent bedtime routine can really help if your toddler doesn’t stay in bed. Help your toddler stick to the routine. Give them a bath, help them brush their teeth, tuck them in bed, and read a story together.

A relaxing routine will help them get ready to fall asleep. After a few days, they should be able to fall asleep on their own without getting out of bed.

6. Make Sure They Are Comfortable

happy baby boy standing in bed in pajamas

Another reason why your toddler doesn’t stay in bed could be that they are uncomfortable. Give them a small snack and a sip of water if they are hungry or thirsty. Make sure that they aren’t too cold or too hot and that they don’t have to go to the bathroom. If there is anything keeping them awake, they will have a harder time staying in bed.

7. Stay Calm and Don’t Lose Your Temper

The first few nights you try to establish a good routine, your toddler may continue getting out of bed. Stay positive and just calmly take them back to their room.

You may end up taking them back to bed a hundred times the first night. However, through positive reinforcement, that number will drastically decrease by the second and third night.

Final Thoughts

When your toddler doesn’t stay in bed, everybody’s sleep suffers. Try to reinforce a good bedtime routine by establishing consistency, staying calm, skipping the nap, and making sure they are comfortable. Putting a reward system in place can encourage your toddler to give their best effort in establishing this routine.

If you have any other suggestions for things to do when your toddler doesn’t stay in bed, please feel free to share them in the comments. Other readers might find wisdom in your life lessons on how to keep toddler in bed.

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