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How To Get a Toddler To Stay in Bed (ALL NIGHT!)

Do you want to learn how to get a toddler to stay in bed and in general, how to get kids to stay in bed for the whole night?  Maybe you have children getting up multiple times through the night and you’re exhausted. Perhaps your five-year-old is going through that classic phase of being afraid of the dark, or your four-year-old is having night terrors or nightmares.  Or maybe your toddler’s just not used to being in their own bed and still looking for you throughout the night. 

Help is here!

Watch: How To Get a Toddler To Stay in Bed

Eight minutes jam-packed with tips on how to get a toddler to stay in bed.

 

Download my Free Childhood Design Guide!

 

Please note that these tips are suggested for toddlers and children slightly older, depending on development. Click here if you are looking for help with learning how to teach your baby to sleep.

 

How to Get YOUR Toddler to Stay in Bed

Yes, you too can learn how to get YOUR toddler to stay in bed for the night.
Here are 3 key ways to set your kids up for success and teach them to sleep alone.

How To Get Kids To Stay in Bed

A sleep training plan isn’t enough, here are the three most important steps to learn how to get kids to stay in bed.

 1. Clarity

Look, it’s really hard to achieve any goal when you don’t have clarity over what that goal is. 

You need to think, what is your expectation? And take into your considerations: 

  • your child’s temperament
  • their age
  • the structure of your house
  • your own resources, emotional and otherwise
  • how many adults are there to help out 
  • how many other children there are

Maybe your expectation is that your child can come into your room when they have a nightmare, but not into your bed. They need to sleep on a mattress next to you. 

 

Maybe your expectation is they need to stay in their room but it’s okay for them to call you. 

 

Maybe your expectation is that it’s not okay for them to call you but you’ll leave them a nightlight and a lovey. 

 

Maybe your expectation is that you’ll sit with them while they fall asleep so you can have a peaceful bedtime, but then they stay in their bed and you go to yours. 

 

Maybe your expectation is that they co-sleep with your partner, but they don’t disturb you while you’re co-sleeping with the baby.

 

There is no right and wrong when it comes to expectations. But depending on your child’s age and needs, you need to have clarity on what it is that you’re expecting. 

 2. Creativity

We want to get creative in our solutions because it’s likely that your child will resist, have fears, and won’t prefer this new sleeping arrangement.

So how can you support them? Maybe you’ll play games with them to act out their fears (like sweeping away any spiders, putting on a nightlight to banish the dark, etc.) 

We need to get creative and find solutions with them.

 3. Consistency

Our third C is Consistency. You have clarity on your expectations, you’ve creatively come up with solutions, and now, you need to show up for your boundary that you’ve set with consistency.

And this is the hardest part for us parents, cause on this night, the baby’s sick and on this night, we have a lot of work and we just wanna get it done and on that night, we’re too tired…

But, if we don’t show up consistently for our boundaries, you can be sure that your child won’t either. 

For example, maybe this means you:

  • consistently return them to their own mattress when they come into your bed
  • consistently act boring and unengaging when you sit in their room as they fall asleep
  • consistently return your child to their room

There are no rights or wrongs, except for being inconsistent when you’re really trying to establish a new habit (because it can’t get established that way!)

 

Kids will stay in their beds and sleep consistently through the night when we show up consistently with high expectations and high support to help them do so. 

Your Challenge

You can have better sleep with conscious parenting. Your challenge is to make yourself a plan right now.

Here is a template to fill out: 

How To Get My Toddler to Stay in Bed

Here is my plan for how to get my toddler to stay in bed. (I encourage you to write down the answers to these questions in a notebook or journal.)

 

  1. What is an actionable, optimized, sleep plan that we can start to implement in our family, or gradually work towards? 

  2. How can I communicate expectations with clarity to myself, to my partner, and our child? (I sometimes write out our rules and stick them on the door, so that in the middle of the night, when I have no patience and no willpower, I remind myself of my goal to stay consistent.)
  3. How can we show up creatively to troubleshoot and find solutions to whatever resistance is coming up?

  4. How can we hold that boundary consistently, until we see the results that we and our child desperately need and deserve? 

SUMMARY: How To Get a Toddler To Stay in Bed

Find a sleep plan that resonates with you. Then have clarity in your expectations, find creative solutions to set your child up for success, and hold your boundaries consistently. 

That is how to get a toddler to stay in bed. 

When sleep training, what have you found most difficult – clarity, creativity, or consistency? 

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