Thank you to Sleep Buddy and BSM Media for sponsoring this important conversation about sleep and ways to help your toddler stay in their bed.
Moving from a crib to a big kid bed is a HUGE milestone. But the transition isn’t always easy.
There are two camps – those who can’t wait and those who would keep their toddler in a crib until they head off to school. While some parents celebrate not having to lift their toddler from the crib, others dread the transition. I was always one to dread the transition. Having so many littles at one time, knowing that the smallest was safe in their crib was one less thing for me to worry about. Until our youngest started climbing out of the crib. Then I knew it was time for her big girl bed.
Regardless of how you feel about it, the transition from crib to bed is a day of independence for both parents and children alike. Now your little one is free to get up from their bed when they want. No more standing up in the crib calling for you to come get them. Now they can get out of bed all by themselves.
Let’s repeat that. Now they can get out of bed all by themselves.
How do you keep your toddler in their bed?! Because if your toddler is anything like mine, now that it takes little effort to get out of their bed, they are likely to test the waters. If your child is particularly independent or stubborn, you know, like my kids, you are in for a fun couple of nights! Make sure the coffee is strong in the morning.
Let me tell you that while it’s HARD, it’s not impossible. Just when you’re about to give up all hope of them ever staying in their bed at night, they do. Don’t lose hope. Here are some ways to help your toddler stay in bed and fall asleep.
4 Ways to Help Your Toddler Stay in Their Bed
1. Make it a big deal. Sleeping in their own bed means they are growing up. Tell them that. Hype it up. Help them feel the pride that is associated with this big step, and then teach them the rules and responsibility that comes with this step. What do you expect from them? For example, can they get out of bed before six in the morning? No? Okay. How will they know when they can get out of bed? We LOVE the Sleep Buddy at our house. It’s been a game changer. What about going to the bathroom? Clearly explain the rules so your child knows what to expect.
2. Create a routine. Bedtime routines work well for adults and children. They help us fall to sleep and stay asleep. And they help our minds and bodies know what to expect. By creating a bedtime routine that includes a potty stop, youíre helping to ensure your child sleeps well and stays in bed.
3. Be consistent. This is incredibly important. If bedtime is eight o’clock and your little pokes her head out at nine o’clock, do not let them come downstairs and watch television with you. Usher them back to their bed. When it happens again, take them back to bed. For most kids, taking them back to bed several times a night only happens for a few nights – as long as you are consistent each time. Now listen, try not to have an emotional reaction to their behavior, even though you will be exhausted, frustrated, and possibly angry, especially if you have work that needs to be done. Simply escort them back to bed.
4. Go buy the Sleep Buddy. NOW. Seriously. Game. Changer. Our youngest is almost four. While she sometimes sleeps in her own bed, she usually ends up in mine. First, it was because she was nursing. Then it was because we moved. Now, almost two years later, it’s just because it’s easier. But, um, yeah, that had to change. I wasn’t sure how the Sleep Buddy was going to work, but she LOVES it. It’s her “little light” and she knows that if the light is on, she has to stay in bed. If the light is off, she’s free to get up. The Sleep Buddy comes with a fun book that she really took to. There is an incentive chart that she loves adding stickers to. While we’ve talked about getting a toy as a reward, she’s convinced we’re going to the beach. We live in Colorado. There is not a beach. Ha!
Don’t Give Up
There have been times when I have sat outside their bedroom door. Sometimes in a chair. Sometimes with a book. They would try to come out, I would put them back in bed. They would open the door, I would put them back in bed. We would repeat this dance a couple of time before our little one would fall asleep. The next night, the same thing would happen. But by the 3rd or 4th night, they weren’t getting out of bed. On the nights though that my husband and I would be lax and them they come downstairs, we had to start all over the next night. It’s not easy, but be consistent. This was obviously before the Sleep Buddy. Seriously, the Sleep Buddy has been a game changer.
Some children are a bit more of a challenge and you may have to repeat this for weeks until they get the picture – until they realize that you aren’t going to bend on this rule: Get in bed. Stay in bed until the Sleep Buddy light goes off. I love you. Goodnight.
Children are naturally going to test the limits. This is particularly true when they receive a new freedom. Establish rules, explain them clearly and then stick to them. Your little one will be sleeping and be staying in their own bed in no time.
You thought those late-night and early-morning trips to your baby’s room were over when he or she began sleeping through the night. When you find yourself making similar trips again at the toddler stage, discover how to help your toddler sleep in his or her own bed and reclaim your uninterrupted sleep.
What are your best sleep tips for toddlers? I’d love to hear them!
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