Having to drag your toddler back to bed night after night can get exhausting. So much so, that you’re probably begging for answers on how to keep your toddler in bed. Now, you may not have trouble getting them back in bed. The struggle is figuring out how to keep them there.
Many parents will say that raising a toddler is the toughest stage of parenting. While this may be true for you, you can take some steps that may help your toddler stay in bed. But first, why do toddlers have trouble staying in bed in the first place?
Why Do Toddlers Struggle to Stay in Bed?
Before you can begin to figure out how to keep your toddler in bed, it will help to figure out why they are struggling to stay in bed. That can help you pinpoint the cause of their sleeping issues. You will be able to figure out the best solution much easier once you know what’s causing them to get out of bed.
Waking up with the birds
Do you find your toddler waking up very early in the morning? You will definitely know if this is the case because a toddler won’t want to be up by themselves in the morning (yes, that means that they will wake you up).
If you find your toddler waking up earlier than he or she should be, try moving their nap up earlier in the day. That may make them more likely to be tired when it comes time for bed.
Are you afraid that your toddler will wake up from a wet diaper? Try limiting fluids too close to bedtime, so that it will be less likely to happen.
Fear is a common cause of a toddler getting out of bed frequently. They may be scared of something! It could merely be the darkness, or they may be terrified that there are monsters under the bed.
Additionally, toddlers can start having nightmares once they reach the age of two. Because they are so young, they may have trouble separating these dreams from reality.
Suffering from teething pain or earaches may be the culprit that is keeping your toddler out of bed.
Deeper sleep issues
Of course, there could be some deeper sleeping issues that are causing your toddler to stay awake when they should be sleeping.
One of these could be sleep apnea or bad snoring. If your toddler has allergies, a stuffy nose, or large tonsils, they may be having trouble sleeping at night.
If you believe that your toddler is having trouble sleeping at night due to breathing issues or snoring, consult with your pediatrician to figure out how to proceed.
How to Keep Your Toddler in Bed: Our Top Tips
Now that you may know the cause of your toddler frequently coming out of their room when they should be sleeping, we have a few tips for you on how to keep your toddler in bed.
Goodbye to screen-time?
One more possible cause of your toddler’s sleeping struggles could be that they’re having screen-time too close to their bedtime. Screens (including the TV) emit blue light that can increase alertness, delay sleep-inducing melatonin’s release, and reset the body’s internal clock to be later.
To combat this, try setting a digital curfew for your toddler. This can benefit them later in life as well because they’ll have a routine of eliminating screen time before bed. Blue light can affect all of us before bedtime, not just toddlers!
Calm their fears
If you suspect that anxiety may be the cause of your toddler getting out of bed frequently, then your best bet will be to try and calm those fears. Depending on what exactly your child is afraid of, there are a few different steps you can take to do this.
First of all, try talking it through with them first. Make sure that they feel like you understand their fear and are not dismissing them. They’ll feel reassured by you, and will be more likely to trust you when you say that there’s nothing to be afraid of.
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If darkness scares your toddler, try a nightlight and give them a comforting toy or blanket to cuddle with. You can also try keeping their door open, so that some light may come through while you are still awake so that they can fall asleep.
If they’re scared of monsters under the bed, set up a routine of checking under the bed and in the closet with them before you put them into bed. You can also try reading them a fun book that may calm their fear of monsters.
Finally, if your toddler won’t stop coming out of their room and coming to you when they should be sleeping, try this “100 walks” method. This is precisely how it sounds. Keep calmly walking them back to bed. That may mean walking back and forth 100 times throughout the night.
Be sure not to get angry or show any emotion of frustration when doing this. Just tell them it’s time for bed, and walk them back. After (multiple?) nights of doing this, your toddler should eventually get the point and stay in bed.
You can also use a praise system along with this. This could be a sticker chart or giving them a special breakfast in the morning.
Should you let them cry it out?
You can certainly attempt to let your toddler cry it out if that’s your preferred method, but we don’t recommend it. It will most likely stress your toddler out and could cause issues with attachment.
Getting Through Sleep-Training
Figuring out how to keep your toddler in bed throughout the night may be challenging, especially if you can’t seem to pinpoint the cause.
Remember to consult with your pediatrician if you think there may be a health or psychological issue causing them not to sleep at night. We promise you will eventually get through this!
Do you have any more tips on how to keep your toddler in bed throughout the night? Let us know in a comment!
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