Getting your headstrong toddler to stay in their bed all night can be a huge challenge! But we are currently in the thick of it, and let me tell you, I am ready to get some sleep back!
In my (almost) 13 years as a parent, I have learned a few good tips that have helped me with all my children.
Here are eight simple ways to help your toddler stay in bed at night!
1. Keep a Bedtime Routine
It’s important that when it’s time to go to bed, your kids know that too. Whether they are 12 or just a few months old, starting a good bedtime routine is the key to success.
Every bedtime routine is different. How you put your kids to bed will be different from your neighbors, mine, etc. So, it’s important that the routine works for you! The important thing is that you and your toddler both need sleep.
Here are a few things I do to help prepare my toddlers for bed. Not only is it important to do these things, but it also keeps the essence of a routine so that your kids will know it’s time for bed.
- Fresh Diaper
- Wash Hands
- Brush hair and teeth
- Drink of Water
2. Let Them See Older Siblings in Bed
Doing this was a literal game-changer. Usually, I’ll put my 2-year-old to bed first, followed by my 3-year-old. But I did this for one primary reason… The stalling. Oh, the stallings of a 3-year-old. It can take a while.
But I realized after a while (actually, after my husband pointed it out) that letting my 2-year-old physically SEE my 3-year-old getting in bed first would help! So, off to bed, the 3-year-old goes, and then the 2-year-old. It works like a charm. (On most nights!)
3. Be Gentle (Even When It’s Hard)
If you’ve ever been an exhausted mom who has to work the following day and just wants to sleep…I know you know what I mean. Sometimes it’s hard to stay gentle, not only with your toddler but with yourself. Keeping your toddler in bed is a process, and we are on their schedule.
So when they wake up in the middle of the night or put up a fight to go to bed, remember. Remember that it will be okay; remember that this season won’t last forever, even though it feels like it will.
Be gentle not only with your toddler but with yourself.
4. Do “The Check”
As a mom of 5, it’s really important to go through all the “checks.” And no, sadly, this is not a checklist that you cross off, and you’re done.
If you go through your checklist, and they wake up in the middle of the night….the checklist starts all over. Obviously, they’ve already brushed their hair and teeth, so that doesn’t need to be repeated. However, other things may be repetitive.
Things like diaper changes, sips of water, hugs, and kisses may need to be repeated. So, do your check, whatever your checklist looks like. Here’s my checklist when my toddler goes to bed and wakes up in the middle of the night:
- Diaper change
- Hugs and kisses
5. Set Boundaries and Be Firm
Being a mom is hard, right? Sometimes we are soft. Sometimes we have to put our foot down. Bedtime is one of the situations where we need to put our foot down.
I don’t mean to be cold or mean and let them fend for themselves. I mean to set boundaries. One of the ways to set boundaries is to talk to your toddler. For example, saying, “We have to get some sleep, so we wake up big and strong,” or other similar things can make them feel like they have some control.
And also be firm. Don’t give in. That doesn’t mean stopping checking on your kids or starting to yell. It just means be patient and stick to what you say.
6. Read About Bedtime
Reading is a great way to get your toddler’s attention. I love reading, and a bedtime book is one of the best ways to get your child into a sleepytime routine. In addition, a book about bedtime will help prepare them that it is time for bed! Check your bookshelf or library for books that prepare your child for bed.
7. Sing About Bedtime
Singing is a great way to get your toddler’s attention. Singing a specific song about bedtime or a childhood lullaby is a perfect way to lull your child to sleep and will help signal to their bodies that it is time to settle down for the night.
8. Give Yourself Grace
It’s hard putting a toddler to bed who fights it. It’s hard hearing the cries. It’s hard knowing you’re losing out on sleep. But give yourself some grace.
Related Post: An Open Letter To Busy Moms Everywhere
Keeping Your Toddler in Their Bed at Night
Bedtime looks different for every family and every child. The key is finding out what works for you and your toddler. Maybe you co-sleep with your child, and something in this article resonates with you! Perhaps you are like me, and your kids sleep in their beds every night.
We all are on the same journey, regardless of how we get there. We all want our kids to sleep through the night so they can feel refreshed in the morning and not be cranky and tired.
Here’s my advice on toddlers sleeping all night. The thing to remember is that you are going to have those nights. You’re going to have those late nights where you only want to rest and sleep, and your toddler is keeping you up.
But as I said, the season won’t last forever. So embrace it, and try to get a nap the next day if you’re tired. You got this.
Also, it’s best to speak to your doctor or a pediatric sleep consultant about any concerns about your sleeping toddler!
Tell me in the comments, what’s your secret to getting your toddler to stay in their bed?!
Featured Image Credit: Depositphotos