Nothing screams romance quite like a toddler coming into your bed night after night.
If you and your partner are sick and tired of sharing the bed with your little one, then it’s time to get down to business. Here is how to get your toddler to stay in their bed – all night!
There are several reasons why children migrate from their own beds into the ‘big’ bed at night. They could be scared; they could be cold, or they simply could just want to be around Mum and Dad. However, if co-sleeping is causing problems with your relationship as well as disrupting everyone’s chance at a good night’s sleep, then this can be a big problem.
So, how do you get your little one to stay sleeping in his own bed all night, night after night? We don’t have a guaranteed solution to this problem but here are some suggestions for keeping your toddler out of your bed.
Your toddler is old enough to understand and possibly even explain what the problem is with sleeping in their own bed. They may tell you they are afraid of the dark or that the wind keeps them awake. Talk to them about the sleeping situation every morning and ask them what went wrong. Don’t ever scold or yell at your child for being scared, it won’t help you or them make the transition. On the days that they do stay in their own bed, praise them and offer plenty of good attention.
They are Getting Cold at Night
Most of the time there is a perfectly good reason why they move to Mum’s bed at night. Scared and cold being the two top reasons. You see, Toddlers are notorious for kicking off their bedding – and there is no place warmer than Mummy’s bed at night.
A good solution is to invest in some warm pj’s and perhaps a sleeping bag! Thick tracksuit pants with socks, singlet, long shirt and a warm soft jumper are also great options for bedtime for both boys and girls! If your child is way past the wetting the bed stage and your house is in a particularly cold area, perhaps look at investing in an electric blanket.
Yes, bribery can be dangerous but it can also work wonders. Start a reward chart where your children can visually see the progress they are making. Make the chart together and pick out extra special stickers that they get anytime they sleep through the night without coming into your room. After a week of success, offer a bigger reward, such as a chocolate or a trip to an adventure centre, or anything else that your child loves.
Put Kids in Together
If you have more than one child, sometimes it is reassuring for a toddler to have someone else in their room. Sharing is a great option for when the kids are young – unless one is waking the other that is! But particularly for toddlers, if they wake and see that their brother or sister is just there with them, it can be what they need to settle back down and go back to sleep!
Ward off Monsters
One of the main problems for children is that they are afraid of the shadows and other scary things that come out at night. Watching what your children watch before bed can help them relax but often their imagination will get the better of them. Invest in some ‘magic spray’ that will keep the monsters away. Simply add some lavender to a water bottle and let your children spray the solution before bedtime.
Make sure you always close any cupboard doors that could cast a shadow – and make a point of checking inside cupboards (with them watching) to reassure them.
The Slowly-Slowly Method
Start your toddler off with a mattress on the floor right next to you… give that a few nights until he or she is more than happy to sleep there (instead of your bed). Slowly move the mattress towards the door, then into the hallway, then finally into their room. Yes, it may take weeks – sometimes even months – but if you can’t stand the ‘firm stance’ way, this is a good option. Just make sure they have a night light available to them.
Let Them Choose Bedtime Bedding
Children will be more excited about sleeping in their own bed if they have a say in what it looks like. Let your toddler choose the bedding and make a big deal when putting it onto the bed. Your toddler will be proud of their bed and the selection and hopefully will want to spend the night there.
Invest in a Night Light
Again, let your child pick one out. There are night lights shaped as all different things, from teddy bears to Toy Story characters. Make a special trip to the shop so that they can choose the night light and let them help you plug it in at night. Often children are afraid of the dark and this can definitely be the reason for their waking up in the middle of the night and crawling into your bed.
Stick to Your Guns
Yes, after ten nights of getting up and putting your little one back into their own bed every hour, both you and they are going to be exhausted and it might be easier to just let them crawl in and shut up. However, you need to be strict with your routine. In the end, it will pay off when everyone in the household gets a better night’s rest and can enjoy a brighter morning.
Nina from Geraldton WA Shares her story:
“I made the mistake of letting Dylan into our bed early on… then he became a fixture and he was four years old!!! We made his room all nice, picked out a nice doona and decorated it beautifully so it was a nice place to go – then I got tough. Every time he sauntered into my room at night, I got up and put him right back. Yes some nights it was 20 times!!! OMG it was frustrating… But I find that after three nights (three exhausting nights) – he got the message. He stayed in his bed all night!!!! Half of my thinks it was just from exhaustion – but it did work.
Just don’t give up – be persistant!