One of the most common questions that parents ask is how to get their toddler to sleep in their own bed. It can be frustrating when your child refuses to go into their room and instead insists on sleeping with you every night! If this sounds like you, then it’s time for some expert strategies for getting a toddler to sleep in their own bed. We’ll show you 8 different ways you can put an end to the bedtime struggles!
Why Toddlers Love Co-Sleeping
It’s no secret how much toddlers love to be with their parents. They want to cuddle up right next to you, or at least within reach! This is completely normal and healthy behavior for a toddler – they’re still very young and vulnerable, so it makes sense that they’d want the comfort of being close to the person who cares for them the most.
It’s actually common in other cultures around the world for children to sleep in the same bed as their parents, and this is how many children in North America also slept until not too long ago.
Of course, it’s also common for toddlers to start showing signs of wanting their own space as they grow older and become more independent – this is how you know that your toddler is ready to sleep in his or her own bed! It might be a struggle at first, but don’t worry – we’ll show you how to get a toddler to sleep in their own bed.
When you should put an end to co-sleeping
There are many reasons why you should encourage your toddler to sleep in their own bed instead of co-sleeping with you. You may want to encourage a little independence. You might want your own space back. Or you could just need a good nights sleep without a toddler kneeing you in the back all night long.
Whatever your reason for wanting to end co-sleeping, it’s valid. Don’t let anyone shame you into sleeping with your little one when you’re totally over it!
There’s still plenty of time for cuddles and snuggles at night and in the morning, or on the couch in the middle of the day!
8 Strategies to Keep Your Toddler in Their Own Bed
Here are 8 expert strategies for getting your toddler to stay in their own bed all night long.
Upgrade their bedding (& decor)
One of the best ways to encourage your toddler to sleep in their own bed is by upgrading their bedroom. Create a child sanctuary featuring their favorite characters, fun play areas, and a cozy sleeping nook.
Get a consistent routine
Toddlers thrive on routing. They like to know what’s coming next, how long it will last, and how they can contribute. Nighttime routines are especially important for toddlers because this is when they’re winding down their day (and yours!)
If you get consistent on the routine, and part of that routine is staying in their bed, it will become a habit that they don’t even think about.
Give them quiet activities in bed
Not all kids fall asleep quickly. Give them a book, a stuffed animal and other quiet activities to do in bed so they can settle down without getting too bored. Make sure they have a place to store any hard toys or books beside their bed so they don’t end up sleeping on them! You don’t want any reason for them to wake in the night.
Get the right lighting
Toddlers sleep better when it’s dark. If there is too much light in their room, or lights that they can control from their bed (like a nightlight), then this may be the reason why your toddler isn’t sleeping well at night.
At the same time, you can dispel nigh time fears with a small nightlight (away from their bed).
So aim for the Goldilocks zone: not too bright, not too dark.
We love the Echo Glow. It works with Alexa and can be controlled by voice or on the Alexa app. You can set routines to automatically change colors at a specific time, and you can adjust the color of the light to find the perfect balance for your little.
Practice bedtime during the day! Go through the entire routine to help your kids get comfortable with bedtime. Include a wake up cue if necessary (like the nightlight turning green, or the clock reaching a certain time).
Then switch roles! Your child will love to direct you through the bedtime routine. Giving them an opportunity to be the boss make them more compliant during bedtime.
Set firm boundaries
If they wake in the night and come into your bed, be firm and put them back where they belong! Once the boundaries have been set, don’t waver, because they’ll continue to push the limits to see what they can get away with.
Don’t reward attention-seeking behavior
This goes hand in hand with setting firm boundaries. If they get out of bed and cry, don’t go to them! They will learn how far they can push the limits if you always give in when they call for you.
They will beg. Do as little as possible. For example, if they desperately need water, hand them a small cup through the door. Don’t engage in conversation – that’s exactly what they’re trying to get you to do!
Get a gate or a door monkey
Some toddlers are persistent. You might need to physically keep them in their rooms. It can be scary for them if you simply lock them in thier rooms. But you can easily add a gate to their doorway (one they cannot climb) or use a door monkey to keep the door cracked, but also keep them in their rooms.
Tips for Success
Consistency is key!
Be persistent during bedtime. If your toddler continues to get out of their room, put them back in the crib or bed every time until they finally stay there!
It can take weeks for this strategy to work if you are not consistent.
It won’t happen overnight!
Your toddler is just beginning to learn how to sleep on their own, so it can take a while for this strategy to work. You might have many sleepless nights in the beginning! But if you stick with these strategies and consistently put them back in bed every time they get out until they finally stay there, then your efforts will pay off.
Keeping calm is crucial
This is harder than it sounds. When your sleep deprived you’ll struggle to keep yourself calm. But it’s a critical component of making this work! If you get worked up, your child will likely feed off your big feelings. Keep calm and keep working on their new sleeping habits.
The Bottom Line
Getting your toddler to sleep in their own bed can take some time. But once you’ve gotten into the habit of sleeping apart, you’ll be so glad you put in the effort! Use these 8 expert strategies to make it happen in your house.
What You Should Do Next…
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