The Ultimate Guide In keeping Your Toddler In Bed
Finally! You have discovered a piece of heaven by getting a full night’s rest. Well, a decent night’s rest compared to being up every two hours with a newborn. Your baby, now a toddler has developed a sleep pattern that allows for an adequate night’s sleep for mom. HOLD UP!!!! (BREAKS SCREECHING!) What was that? The thud on the floor grabs your attention, and steals away your peace from your coveted mom time; your sweet baby who you thought was on his way to “sleepville” is still awake??? Knocking on the door, hollering down, “hi, mama!” Like he’s conquered this big feat and so proud that he must share it with the world!!
Your mighty adventurous toddler has now discovered how to remove himself from his crib, and scale the walls of danger to the floor of freedom. It seems you have just mastered this sleeping through the night thing and now you can’t even get a moment’s rest. Don’t lose hope; I have the ULTIMATE guide that will instill tranquility back into your quiet mom time and provide that same peace of mind your once sleeping baby brought you. Let’s get started so that bedtime anxiety is tucked into bed with that silly, sweet little toddler.
The Ultimate Guide In keeping Your Toddler In Bed
A bedtime routine is crucial to encourage your toddler to rest well. If he isn’t ready or sleepy, you will be up and down those stairs placing him back into bed. Before you know it, you’re exhausted it’s late, and you have missed out on your precious mom time. Here’s a perfect routine to help set your night off right and successfully keeping your toddler in bed.
Begin your bedtime routine at the same time every night. I know this can be a challenge, but try to stick close to the same time as your toddler will pick up on the time of day by the things you do as a family. We start with a warm tubby every evening at 7. After the bath, brush his teeth, and hair, and keep talking about how it’s almost time for bed. Talk through what he is to expect and do this every night. Toddlers are very smart and pick up on routine. For instance, “when mommy is finished giving you a tubby we’re going to brush your teeth and go upstairs to read before bed.”
But the first few times won’t be perfect…
Read to your toddler for 10-15 minutes. Quiet reading allows for the “sleepys” to roll in and do their job. Now, tell your toddler that it’s time to sing and go to bed. Shut the lights off, grab his favorite blanket and rock together and sing. Sing for 10-15 minutes, and I usually sing the same nighttime songs. Again, routine! Talk in a soft whisper and say, “okay, it’s time for bed and mommy loves you.” Kiss him and hug him and place him in his crib. (This is also the same for a toddler bed.) Caress his forehead and tell him you will see him in the morning. Blow a kiss and walk away. Now, in a perfect setting, he will fall fast asleep. But, the first few times it will probably not be perfect, and you will have to continue down this guide. Once, you have achieved your toddler staying in bed, always follow this routine.
Okay, mom, you’ve got your work cut out for you, but I promise it is worth it. You’ve followed the bedtime routine and now downstairs reading your favorite book. You hear the emphasis thud, and she has scaled her crib and now roaming freely in her room. Go straight upstairs open the door and place her back in bed. Do not say a word. NOTHING. Walk away and close the door. Now, if your toddler is as adventurous as most, she will keep trying. Here is the tough part and it won’t last very long once you have established this behavior is unsafe and unacceptable. Sit outside the room and as soon as you hear your toddler begin to escape open the door and place her back in bed. Again, say nothing. Walk out, close the door and sit and wait. Placing your toddler back in her crib could take numerous times in the beginning, but it will get fewer and fewer.
Things to avoid…
Try to avoid talking or yelling. Toddlers thrive off reaction. The less you can show that this behavior disturbs you the best chances for it to end sooner. Now, mom, prepare your heart and mind for a long evening until this comes to an end. The more prepared you are for a challenging evening, the more energy you will have to be consistent and successful. Grab your favorite glass of wine, you kindle and read while you wait for that thud.
I cheat a little and have a baby monitor/camera observing the crib. So I can see when the behavior starts and can go right in and stop it immediately. My bedroom is right next to my child’s room so I can sit and read in bed and watch the monitor. My heart is with you, and I know this is the toughest part of keeping your toddler in bed. But you can do it! Don’t give up. You are worth this quiet time, and in a few short days, you will see that your amazing ability to stay consistent, firm and quiet has paid off. Good luck mama, the rest of the weary mamas are right there with you!
What toddler doesn’t love to get a sticker??? Place a chart outside of your toddler’s room on the door. Make it fun and exciting for your child. Something cheap and homemade is perfect. Every morning when your child wakes up, be super excited that he slept through the night and place a sticker on the chart with him. Let him pick out the sticker and apply it. Do this even if there were some imperfections in the evening as your toddler probably won’t remember.
Be super excited that he finally chose to stay in his bed and laugh and tickle and show your toddler how proud of him you are for him staying safely in his crib. This technique is called positive reinforcement. You’ve awarded his behavior with a fun experience. Remember to do this every morning.
Remember to stick to safety guidelines with age appropriate bedding, but if your child has a favorite character deck her crib/bed out with what she loves. As a mom, laying in my bed, with my favorite sheets and comforter is like a small piece of heaven. The same can apply to your child. If she loves her bedding, she will be super excited to get all snuggled up into her crib. Make the crib/bed a place she can’t wait to place her tired sweet head on and fall fast asleep.
DO NOT ALLOW FOR EXCUSES
Every toddler has a hundred reasons he wants to get out of bed, another book, more song time, water. But, stick to your guns and don’t allow for any of these things to encourage your child to get out of bed. Stick to the consistency and place him back into bed and don’t allow for any of his requests. The first moment you do, you have now turned the “yes switch” on in his head, that these things mom will allow for to get out of bed. If you followed the bedtime routine and the consistency tip, you have prepared him for bed, and he does not need anything.
THE AMBIENCE OF THE ROOM
If the room is too bright, you could be encouraging your child to stay awake. Try using dark shades to keep natural light out and dim nightlights. Use warm lighting like reds and yellows as white, blue and cool colors stimulate the brain to wake up. Also, white noise is awesome in soothing a toddler to sleep. You can use a fan or purchase a noise machine that plays soothing sounds or even just white noise. If a toddler can hear her family still enjoying the night while she is tucked away in her crib, she will be more enthusiastic about getting out of bed to see what she is missing. So be mindful of how loud, quiet or bright her room is as these things can become for a more turbulent night’s sleep.
ENCOURAGING TIP FOR MOM
Don’t lose heart. It takes about three nights to break these bad habits of getting out of bed. Some moms may experience a shorter time and some longer. Always go back to the basics. Routine and consistency and the no talking rule are what will make or break your bedtime. Don’t stop until you have fully achieved your toddler staying in bed from the very beginning of his bedtime.
Also, stick to these exact tips for naptime too. Some will tell you to skip the nap if your toddler is refusing to rest. I say absolutely not. Sleep is so important for your toddler. Even, if it’s just one nap a day, he needs a nap. Most states make it state licensing rule that rest time is offered at daycares because it is so crucial for your child’s wellbeing and development. I’m not a doctor but say yes to naptime.
You will find that even after you have finally got your child to stay in bed that a disruption in routines like a vacation or a sickness can start this behavior over. Just return to these tips until she has remembered the expectations of bedtime. **TIP** Try to stick to routine and consistency during vacations or any change to avoid your toddler backsliding to old behaviors.
Best of luck, it will come together for you and that quiet time is just around the corner. As soon as you get started, the sooner you will be back to enjoy that glass of wine and your favorite book.
I can’t wait to hear all about your success stories. Comment below on how things are going and how long it took your strong-willed toddler to stay in his bed.