Over the next week, we will be posting tips on topics that parents have requested on our Facebook page. In this post we start with, 'how to keep toddlers sleeping in their own bed all night!'
When toddlers move from a cot to a bed it is a big transition for them and their parents. Most of them realise pretty quickly that they have the freedom to get out of bed whenever they want to. This new found freedom can make bedtimes and night times more stressful and challenging! However, as with most things with children, if you respond consistently and they understand the clear boundaries that you have set, this new habit doesn't have to become a problem.
Explaining to your child that your expectations are that they go to sleep in their own bed and remain there for the entirety of the night as part of their bedtime routine will define your boundaries from the word go. Try making this conversation fun and interesting, by using their toys and books - a few examples; pointing out characters in books that are sleeping in their beds, telling them their own toys get lonely if they aren't in bed with them, explaining that older siblings or other children you know sleep in their 'big' beds all night.
It is very important, especially if you have a toddler/child that migrates to your bed during the night, to make sure that they feel safe and secure in their bed and their bedroom. Talk to them about this and ask them if there is anything worrying them about sleeping in their bed. Also look at how their room is lit at night and consider a dimly lit night light if they don't already have one. If they do stir or wake in the night, this will enable them to get their bearings as to where they are, which will help reassure them.
If your little one gets out of bed either at bedtime or during the night, the best thing you can do is be consistent and persistent! Try using the 'back in bed technique'.
Step 1, the first time they come out of bed, tell them it's bedtime and pick them up and place them back in bed, tucking them in, but saying nothing else.
Step 2, the second time, don't say anything, just pick them up and place them back into bed, tucking them in.
Thereafter keep repeating step 2 until they are snuggled up in bed and asleep!
It can be a battle of wills, but stick with it and you will win! It is vital that your child sees that you will stick with it, as this sends them a clear message about what will happen if they get out of bed and will remove some of the incentive to do so.
Don't get me wrong, I know how tough this can be when doing it at the end of a long day or in the middle of the night when you would rather be asleep! But it is a technique that does work if you remain consistent.
This technique is great and one of the most popular, however all children are unique and no one technique works for them all. We do work with some toddlers or children that may need more reassurance and confidence building and alongside the parents we choose to use different methods to achieve independent sleeping in their beds. We of course can advise on this when meeting with families individually.
It is also important to point out we are not against children sleeping in their parent's beds for all or part of the night. If a family is happy with their sleeping arrangements and habits, then there is no problem. It is personal choice as to what works for you as a family unit. We just tend to work with families that have identified a habit or issue that they wish to change and we work closely with them to achieve their goals.
We are always working towards a Blissful family unit, in which ever way you want to achieve it.