Vol.1, No.4

Getting a child to stay in bed all night

Climbing in and out of bed is a common practice among toddlers and young children.

A child out of bed
Photo Credit: Jane Norton
Climbing in and out of bed is a common practice among toddlers and young children. While some children may spend part of the night in their own bed (only to join mom and dad in their room in the middle of the night) other children get out of bed repeatedly before falling asleep. If you're tired of tucking Junior into bed only to find him rambling about the house fifteen minutes later, then you're not alone. Here are some tips to help you get your child to stay in bed all night.

-- Establish a routine. Even young babies can get into the groove if you establish a set routine. Let your child know it is bedtime by following the same rituals every night. This routine can include a bath, a snack or drink, tooth brushing, a bedtime story and prayers. It may help to give your child a special stuffed animal or blanket to cuddle with at bedtime-- this will help to comfort the child. Afterwards, tuck your child into bed and turn the lights off. Let your child know where you'll be so he or she can feel safe and secure.

-- Consider staying with your child until he or she falls asleep. If your child habitually has trouble falling asleep, try sitting in the room with him or her until he or she becomes sleepy. This suggestion may help you if you have recently moved your child from a crib to a toddler bed. Remember, the toddler bed gives previously constrained child lots of freedom-- all of the sudden he or she can get in and out of bed at will. It may help if you stick around to make sure the child falls asleep-- at least for the first few weeks after converting to a toddler bed.

-- Invest in a night light. If your child is afraid of the dark, purchase an inexpensive night light for the bedroom. This may help to prevent a frightened child from sneaking into your room in the middle of the night.

-- Return the child to his or her bed immediately. If your child does climb out of bed, it is important that you escort him or her back to bed right away-- no matter how tired you are! Sure, it's easier to just let the child come in and curl up in your bed with you, but it will likely become a habit that is very hard to break. It's better to be consistent and put the child back into his or her own bed each and every time.

-- Don't expect a miracle if you co-sleep with your baby. Many co-sleeping parents find it to be a hard adjustment once baby moves out of their bed and into a toddler or twin bed. Remember, the child is used to sleeping with you. It will be a slow and painstaking process to keep him or her in his own room all night long once you make the switch. Just be patient and start with baby steps --eventually every child learns how to fall asleep in their own bedroom.



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