Children need plenty of sleep to rest their growing bodies and minds. But for many kids, bedtime is no fun, and for many parents, getting their kids to go to bed and stay there can be frustrating.
It’s best for your 1- to 2-year-old to still sleep in a safe, secure crib. But, if you have an active climber who is getting out of the crib, it’s time to consider moving her into a toddler bed or a “big kid” bed with a side rail.
It will be difficult at first to keep your toddler in it, but at least you’ll know your child won’t be hurt climbing out of a crib.
When kids transition to a regular bed and can climb in and out of it, these tips may help when your child won’t stay in bed.
- Return your child to bed right away.
- Find out what your child is afraid of. Nightlights and monster checks can make kids feel safer.
- If your child cries or protests, wait a few minutes, then go back to check on her.
- If your child continues to cry or call for you, wait a little longer each time before you go in to check on her.
- Remind your child that it’s time to go to sleep, and if your child stays quiet, you’ll come back to check on her in a few minutes.
- Praise her the next morning for staying in bed.
For added safety, install a gate in the doorway of the room so that your child can’t wander around the house unattended. Also, be sure your child’s room is childproofed.
Heading off bedtime troubles
Take these steps to ward off bedtime troubles before they even begin. Make sure your child has everything she needs to get a good night’s sleep, including:
- A regular bedtime
- A consistent bedtime routine that includes soothing activities, such as storytime or lullabies
- A reminder to start winding down about 30 minutes ahead of bedtime
- A place to sleep with a comfortable temperature, ventilation and a nightlight
- A bedroom without a TV or video games
© 2016. Article adapted from The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth®. Used under license.