Having trouble getting your toddler to stay in bed?
Here’s what to do...
You may have heard me say a time or two that when it comes to keeping a toddler in their room, you'll have to add consequences.
No one really likes to dish out consequences, but I prefer to say that we are setting up boundaries, and keeping them in place:)
So what can you do in these situations?
Your toddler keeps coming out of their room at bedtime
You get a visitor in the middle of the night
You're seeing multiple stall tactics
They wake up before the crack of dawn and are ready to start their day
Before you do any of these strategies, make sure that you have a few things in place first:
A bedtime routine
Steps of bedtime routine images printed out and put up on the wall
A toddler clock
Consider adding a toddler-resistant door handle thingy (yes, that's the official term) You know, those door handle covers?
And, you'll want to start talking with your toddler about the changes that are being made at bedtime, and what you hope for them to feel when they get good sleep (well rested, happy, have energy, good moods, etc.)
Okay, so now you've set the stage, and you've been on top of the stall tactics, referring back to the toddler clock and the bedtime routine, but your toddler doesn't want to stay in bed!
Here's what you say:
" Lay down, and stay quiet or I'll have to leave and close the door"
So here's the thing, they won't like it, but that's kind of the point.
Some 'discomfort' is often needed to show that you are serious about what you say (because they pick up if you don't follow through, even one time).
You as the parent are calm, and cool as a cucumber during this time, you aren't being malicious, or threatening, just letting them know what's going to happen if they don't do as you ask.
So you've told them what you're going to do, and you're going to give them a minute to process what you've said and respond.
If they don't lie down and be quiet, you leave the room and hold the door closed for 1 minute.
After 1 minute, you return to the room, escort them back to bed, tuck them in and say that they need to lay down and stay quiet.
Repeat the strategy each time they don't lay down and/or stay quiet.
A couple of things may happen:
1) They may freak out, get out of their bed, pull on the door, etc. We expect that to happen, remember, you're the calm, cool cucumber of a parent at this moment.
2) They may cry as you're out of the room, but then realize that you're serious, and lay down and stay quiet:)
I'll also tell you that it gets a bit worse before it gets better, then we see the switch turn on in their minds, and the boundaries start to work! Yay!
I wish you the best of luck as you practice your boundary-setting muscles!
You can do it!
Here for you,
P.S. Are you struggling to figure out bedtime/nighttime boundaries with your toddler? Don't worry! I can help and it's not too late to get them sleeping well!
Do you have a toddler that isn't sleeping well, and you need help turning the sleep ship around?