You may be finding yourself reading this for one of two reasons.
- You are approaching the point where you want to transition your toddler from a crib to a bed.
- You already have a toddler who has transitioned to a bed but they won’t stay in the bed.
We have advice that can be used for either situation!
Become A Unified Front
Before any caregiving decisions are made, we advise that all adults be on the same page. Consistency is key for success. Caregivers should work together to make a plan that everyone agrees on and is able to stick to. Children can learn what to expect when there are clear routines and boundaries in place.
Communicate The New Expectations
You should take the time to explain to your toddler what the new expectations are before acting on them. This allows the child time to ask questions and begin to process how the evening will go.
It is not a good idea to wait until everyone is tired and it is the middle of the night to address the issue for the first time.
You should clearly explain to your toddler what you consider acceptable options for when they want to get out of bed. This may look different for different families. You can practice these options with them and a stuffie while doing role play. This helps them really think about what you are telling them and put it to practice.
You can also try using a reward chart to positively reinforce when they do stay in their bed through the night. Rewards are different from bribes. Make sure you take the time to explain the difference between the two. They must earn the reward with the desired behavior being accomplished.
Consistently Take Them Back To Bed
Odds are, your child will not accomplish staying in their bed on the first night. This will most likely be something that takes perseverance. If you find your toddler out of their bed when they should be sleeping, consistently take them right back to bed. Stay calm, talk as little as possible, try to keep the lights off, tuck them in and leave the room.
Toddlers will most likely try to test the limits. Parents are often tired at the end of a long day and do not want to deal with a drawn out bedtime battle of wills. If you cave and let your little one stay up a little more, crawl in bed with you, get snacks, etc, they will not take your bedtime expectations seriously. If you can stick to your plan, put them back to bed and remain consistent and calm, they will eventually accept the expectations.
Support Through Transitions
We are happy to offer support and guidance through these challenging transitions. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you would like assistance that is specifically catered to your family.