One of the most frustrating behaviour problems I’ve faced recently with my 3 year old is her constantly getting out of bed at both naptime and bedtime. She suddenly realised she could get out of bed whenever she wanted, and so she started to do it. Not only is going up and down the stairs constantly for 2 hours to get her back in bed frustrating, the fact that she is roaming around the house could be potentially dangerous!
Switching from a crib to a toddler bed can be a challenge for any parent. Not only is this a big transition for you and your toddler, it also allows your child to easily climb out of bed to play. This can be a problem anytime you need your child to stay in bed for the night or for naptime. This is also an issue that can suddenly occur long after transitioning from a crib to a bed or toddler bed to a full sized bed. Thankfully, there are ways to encourage your toddler to stay in bed.
Put Toys Away
Many times, toddlers leave their beds because they see something that looks more fun. In order to encourage your toddler to stay in bed, you might need to put all of the toys away. Not only should these toys be out of sight, you might also want to put them out of reach so that they are inaccessible for your toddler. After your toddler gets used to sleeping in their new bed, you can put the toys out again.
Use a Baby Gate
Another great way to get your toddler to stay in bed is to use a baby gate to block the door. Although your child will still be able to roam the room, they won’t be able to leave to explore the rest of the house. Since you’ve already put toys out of reach in the room, your toddler will quickly be ready to get back in bed.
Wear Them Out
The more energy your child has the harder it’s going to be to keep them in bed. In order to get your toddler to stay in bed, be sure to wear them out first. Go to the park or let them run around the backyard for a little. After letting your toddler run of their energy, calm them down with a bath or a story and they’ll be ready to pass out for the night. It’s hard to climb out of bed when they’re dreaming about all the fun they had!
Update their Bedding
If you want your toddler to stay in bed, you might want to get them excited about their bed. A great way to do this is to make a big production about needing to buy big boy or big girl blankets for their new bed. Take your toddler to the store with you and let them pick out their own bedding. Your toddler will be ready to sleep with their new bedding right away.
Do not Respond
It’s usually obvious when there is a reason your toddler is out of bed (thirsty, needs a drink, bad dream etc..) but when they show up quietly peeking around the corner at you, they are generally just avoiding going to sleep. The best approach is to take their hand and quietly walk them back to bed. Tuck them back in and say nothing until you are done getting them in bed and then just say a simple but firm good night. Do not make this fun or you will find them right out of bed again – boring and uneventful is key.
Transitioning a toddler to a new bed can be difficult, but with time and patience, your toddler will eventually stay in bed. What are your best tips for getting your toddler to stay in bed?
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Elizabeth Lampman is a coffee-fuelled Mom of 2 girls and lives in Hamilton, Ontario. She enjoys travelling, developing easy recipes, crafting, taking on diy projects, travelling and saving money!
Friday 20th of November 2015
I find myself worn out most days before them
Sunday 30th of August 2015
If I remember correctly when my kids were small it was a struggle every night to keep them in bed
Sunday 9th of August 2015
Oh I remember that stage. I remember entering it with fear and trepidation, but it ended up being not so bad.
Friday 3rd of July 2015
Wow thanks for the tips....sounds like you now have nap time under control
Tuesday 9th of June 2015
I really did not have too many problems getting my children, when toddlers, to stay in bed. They are all adults now so my memory may be poor on that point. However, if they have had a snack, used the bathroom and pjs on, they were usually happy to stay in bed. I would advise a gate, as have you; and no toys in sight.