Recently, parents have been asking about how to keep their toddler or child in bed at night.
Toddlers typically take a long time to fall asleep, necessitating the presence of one or both of their parents or primary caregivers. It can take them up to an hour or more to get off to sleep. Many children wake up just a few hours later, either needing to repeat their overnight routine or climbing into the bed of the parent they were sleeping with.
These parents’ sleep issues with their toddlers may have been prompted by a new sibling, a large kid bed, or even co-sleeping.
Many parents feel this way when their child isn’t getting enough sleep and they’re looking for a solution.
If this is the case, I can only image the tiredness you are feeling at this very moment. Even if your evenings are unpredictable or your child is an expert at delaying tactics, you’ll need to figure out how to get some shut-eye in the middle of the night. You’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work.
It’s important for you to realize that this isn’t true. It is possible to change your child’s sleep habits!
Why Your Toddler Won’t Stay In Bed?
This type of conduct is temporary for some families. Other parents, on the other hand, have to deal with a jack-in-the-box child for months or even years.
So, what exactly is it about our children that causes them to get out of bed so eagerly? And, perhaps most crucially, what can parents do to ensure that their children go to sleep well at night?
From a child’s perspective, the “dance” of the jack-in-the-box that many parents and toddlers/preschoolers perform makes perfect sense. Your toddler’s nighttime routine isn’t anything out of the ordinary. So, of course, they want to join in on the fun in the living room with their parents!
In addition, parents’ responses to a child’s jack-in-the-box behavior can unintentionally encourage more of the same. It’s more likely that your toddler will keep getting up at night if you reward him with another tale, a snuggle, or some more attention each time.
Of course, it’s important to keep in mind the role that development plays in children’s lives. During the 18-month sleep regression and the two-year sleep regression, many toddlers suffer from separation anxiety. Night terrors and nightmares can be a major problem for some toddlers.
So What’s the Secret?
But I have to tell you the truth, and I’m sorry about that Nevertheless, when it comes to working with children, there is no one method that fits all. A weighted blanket, melatonin or moving them to a toddler or adult bed have all been falsely recommended to you. However, after the novelty wears off, you’ll find yourself right back where you started with these approaches. You can think of them as a band aid.
Many conditions must be present for toddlers to change their behavior, and this includes adjusting their sleep patterns. If they don’t live up to your expectations, you must act immediately to correct the situation.
Learn more about what I mean and how you may make a lasting impact on your toddler’s sleep in the following paragraphs!
#1: Firm Boundaries
Young children benefit from clear and regular instructions from their parents, as they are more likely to follow them.
There are several things that can make a huge difference, such as consistent bedtime and routines. Your youngster will be less likely to stall or argue when you use these cues to let him or her know it’s bedtime.
When a youngster is allowed to sleep in your bed on some nights but not on others, it can be confusing for them. Your child doesn’t understand why it’s acceptable for them to fall asleep in your arms some nights and not others, even if you’re watching Netflix or having a glass of wine downstairs. Consistent sleeping locations are essential for your child’s well-being and independence.
#2: Avoid Giving Attention to Non-Ideal Behaviors
When you put your attention on something, you get more of it.
You can encourage your child to continue using the potty by praising him or her for doing something great, such as peeing on the potty.
When it comes to preventing your toddler from repeating bad habits like waking up in the middle of the night and crawling into bed with you, the same holds true. Getting angry and sending your child to his room fosters this behavior because he gets your attention. Attention, even if it’s negative, can be beneficial to children. If this were to happen, quietly return your child to their bed is the best line of action.
Encouraging an early riser to begin their day as early as 5 a.m. will only strengthen their habit. The Hatch Rest is what we use in our home, and I’m not being paid to say this.) You can set your alarm clock to flash green or display a digital number like 7:00 when it’s time for your child to wake up. In the meantime, you can encourage your youngster to treat the time as if it were midnight by lying in bed and trying to get some shut-eye. After that, you walk in and wake them up when it’s time.
Your child will not sleep better even if you do both of the above things. Consequently, it’s possible that this is the most crucial of the lot. ‘
Punishment for misbehavior might help a youngster better comprehend their parent’s expectations.
In this case, I’m not referring to any sort of physical punishment. As a result, I believe that toddlers, who are still learning the difference between right and wrong, should be given a chance to make the right choice after a single warning.”
If your child is disrupting both your and their sleep because of a pattern of bad conduct, it’s time to institute some consequences.
Using the phrase “consequence” can refer to a variety of unpleasant situations for your child. I can’t advocate a one-size-fits-all approach here because every child is unique and you know your child best. Choosing a topic that is both relevant to them and free of things that would terrify or irritate them is a delicate balance to strike.
Your child’s immediate reaction to this conclusion is likely to be one of sadness, which could lead to tears. Your regimen and expectations should yield effects within a few days if you keep to them.
The Less Than Two Minutes Version: Getting Your Toddler To Sleep In Their Bed
- It’s critical for children to learn how to wind down on their own at night, even if their parents aren’t there to help.
- Assist parents and children in getting more restful sleep.
- If your partner or children are waking you up in the middle of the night, it may be time to reconsider your sleeping arrangements, according to pediatricians and psychologists. If it’s working for everyone, there’s no need to change anything.
- Make sure you explain to your child why you’re doing the things you’re doing so that he or she understands. Excellent justifications include saying that you require more sleep or that they must learn to sleep without you.)
- While they are in bed, or if you’re lucky enough, on a chair next to them, lay down next to them.
- Relax and let them to fall asleep, but don’t pay any attention to them at the same time Leave as soon as they’ve fallen asleep. nn
- The idea is to have a drab and boring nighttime wake-up call. After a brief walk back to their room, put them back to sleep.
- It is suggested that they spend the next few nights sitting somewhere other than their room as they drift off to sleep.
- Parents, according to a number of psychologists, have the power to influence their children’s conduct, even if it’s been going on for some time. Although it may take some youngsters a few weeks or longer, it is possible.
The Longer Version: This Is Normal + Variations on “Fading”
This is what we were expecting. To help your youngster learn to comfort himself or herself, it’s widely acknowledged that you should do this.
Because they are “excited by their newfound freedom and desire to extend their daily pleasure,” the Zero to Three Foundation says this is totally normal. Regardless of their age, your youngster will seek your comfort because their new bed layout is strange (e.g., a different perspective or bedding).
For both you and your child, the experience of being a parent is an entirely new one. “Sensitivity and consistency,” they advise, meaning that you should remind your child that you’re aware of how difficult this transition will be, but that you will maintain the rule that you must sleep in your own bed.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, while toddlers may experience a “heady sensation of freedom” after making the transition to a bed, “most children are delighted to ‘graduate’ and stay in their beds.”. If you’re having trouble making the switch, it’s better to stick with your regular nighttime routine while also employing the “fading” strategy (described more below.)
To avoid reinforcing the belief in your children that it’s unsafe to be alone, anxiety expert Jamie Howard recommends that you keep your children out of your bedroom. As Howard points out, reassuring your child can unwittingly encourage their anxiety, but you can start teaching your child these coping techniques at any time.
But Others Say There Is No “Right Way” For Toddlers to Sleep
There is no “proper” way to get a toddler to sleep according to a publication we looked at. There is nothing wrong with a child sleeping in your bed, but it can be unpleasant if the youngster is disrupting your sleep or causing conflict in the family. According to him, the only thing that matters is that everyone in the family gets a good night’s rest.
Prof. Doug Teti, an expert in human development, published a study linking co-sleeping with children to higher stress. He told the New York Times that “the data does not indict co-sleeping,” but he did note out that for some families, “a number of factors, including societal expectations and an unsupportive spouse, might make longer-term cosleeping a more stressful situation.”
Fading: How to Get Your Kid Out of Your Bed
There are a plethora of methods available for accomplishing this. Below you’ll find a collection of the best explanations we could dig up.
When it comes to chronic co-sleepers, Lynelle Schneeberg, a psychotherapist, lays out the method in four simple steps:
- A sleeping bag or temporary bed can help your youngster get acclimated to the concept of waking up in their own bed (or sleeping in their bed yourself).
- Take a seat on a chair and head to your own room while they fall asleep. If you find yourself regularly waking up at night, go back to the beginning of the process and try again.
- If they wake up at night, take them back to their room and make it as boring as possible. Refrain from allowing your child to be exposed to anything that would suggest that now is a good time to have some fun.
- Consider building a “nest” for your children in your room, which is a distinct sleeping location that is not your own bed, if they keep coming into your room even after you’ve done everything else. When they enter the room, they should do it quietly and not bother you.
Even more importantly, Schneeberg points out, it will be easier for you to get the child into their own bed at night if they can fall asleep without you there.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a similar technique: if your child wakes up and comes to you, gently and quietly take them back to their bed. Preparing for the potential that you’ll have to repeat this process numerous times on the first night is a major focus of this encounter. Getting out of bed should not be seen as a reward in and of itself, say the experts (and that includes negative attention.)
Child Mind Institute director Steven Dickstein provides the following rationale for recommending the following things:
- Occasionally, children will wake up during the night. In order to spend the night in their room, they must be able to fall asleep by themselves.
- To help your child sleep, softly remove yourself from the room before they fall asleep.
- Every night, for example, you might shift your position from their bed to a chair in the room to the next room down the stairwell.
The following are steps suggested by Child Mind Institute psychotherapist Jamie Howard for fading. In the most challenging situations, she claims, it can take months of effort:
- You can find out whether your child is coming to you in the middle of the night if you question him or her about it first. For those who are unable to sleep at night, it can help them discover what is making them afraid. You should avoid making your youngster feel bad about their fears, she says.
- Until your child goes to sleep, you should be sitting in a chair with them in their room.
- Eventually, when your child is able to fall asleep in this position, carefully pull the chair away from the door until the door is wide open.
- You should always keep an eye on your child at all times, and if they get into your bed with you, gently guide them back to their room.
- To prevent “letting [them] regress, it truly undermines the progress [they are] making,” your child needs to be made to sleep in their own bed frequently.
It’s So Worth It
However difficult it may be in the short term, adjusting your current schedule in the long run will be well worth the effort.
Ideal scenario: your youngster gets a good night’s sleep while you relax with your partner or have a glass of wine.
Imagining them snoozing peacefully in their own bed all night will allow you to get a good night’s sleep in your own!
When it comes to sleep training, the advantages far outweigh the time and effort required to get started.
The best of luck to you, and I hope this piece has been useful to you. To learn more about how I can help your family improve their quality of sleep using scientifically-proven methods, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.
How can I get them to sleep in their room at night?
Even if your toddler makes a fuss or tries to sneak into your room, don’t waver in your decision to keep them in their own bed. If at all possible, return them to their room in silence. Emotional outbursts or signals of desperation are not acceptable. It doesn’t matter whether or not you believe it, you are the boss.
What are the negative effects of older children sleeping with parents?
Sleep deprivation, especially for older children who are sharing a bed with a parent, is a risk of co-sleeping.