Getting a toddler to sleep in their bed can be difficult. Once you’ve made the transition from a crib to a toddler bed, your toddler will often revel in his newfound freedom; he now has instant, 24-hour access to his toys, his room, and to you. At the same time, making the transition to a toddler bed is a significant milestone in his development. It means that he is mobile; it means that you are trusting him with newfound responsibilities. It also may be a bit scary for him, as he is losing the security of the bed that he has had since he was brought home from the hospital.
There are things that you can do get your toddler to sleep in their bed. For example, many toddlers enjoy helping you to select their bed. If this is not possible, allowing her to pick out a new set of sheets or other bedding might be just the thing to help her transition to a toddler bed. Giving your toddler a little bit of ownership of his own bed can help him to want to stay there at night.
If your toddler is getting up at around the same time each night (assuming she goes to bed at the same time each night) the fact that she gets up out of her bed might be a sign of a sleep problem. She may be experiencing nightmares, or her sleep pattern might just be getting interrupted. If your toddler won’t sleep in her own bed because of a general problem with sleep, there are some things that you can do to help her sleep more soundly at night. They can include:
– Make sure that your toddler has enough activity during the day. Toddlers are full of energy, and need to have lots of outlets to work some of that energy off. If your toddler spends most of the day watching TV or sitting at a table coloring, he probably won’t want to sleep at night.
– Be consistent. When it is time for bed, put your toddler to bed. Make sure she’s had a drink, a story, or whatever else she might ask for once you turn out the light. Once the light is out, unless there is an emergency, she needs to know that you are done for the day.
– You should also implement a livable and consistent bedtime routine. By including activities such as brushing his teeth, reading a book, and having a bedtime snack, he will get used to the pattern of getting into bed and going to sleep when it is time. A routine is an important part of your toddler’s bodily cycles.
– Avoid excitement at bedtime. The period between dinner and bedtime should be generally relaxed, and geared toward helping your toddler to slow down for the day.
– Make sure that your toddler’s sleeping environment is quiet and comfortable. If your house tends to be loud, try putting on some soft music for your toddler at bedtime. Make sure she’s got her favorite stuffed animal or blanket. Try to avoid having toys in the bed with her.
– Watch naps. If your toddler is sleeping for several hours in the middle of the day, it is not surprising that he won’t sleep at night. some toddlers will be ready to give up afternoon naps by the age of 2, while others may take much longer before they are ready to give them up.
– If your toddler regularly has trouble going to sleep and you have tried everything else, it is possible that he may have a sleep disorder of some sort. Consider speaking to your health care provider about the problem.