Thursday, September 6, 2012

How Do You... Keep A Toddler in Bed?

How do you keep a toddler from getting up after she's been put to bed?

I mentioned recently that we had moved Alaine to a mattress on the floor after she learned to climb out of her crib.  A reader asked how the transition was going.  She had recently moved her toddler son to a bed and was having a terrible time keeping him from getting up at night.

When we first moved Alaine, she felt so big and grown up that she laid still and fell asleep without any attempt to get up.  It was only a few days before the newness wore off, though,  and she realized she could get up and play at nap or bed time.  For us, consistency was key even when it seemed to do no good.  Every time I found her up, I disciplined her and put her back to bed.  Even if it went on for hours (which it did a few times) and even if it meant she stayed awake all of nap time, I still continued to enforce that she stay in bed.  She still gets up a few times a week, but I think she is slowly getting the message.

Ooops!  Mama didn't catch the play time until it was too late!

Our boys are a trickier matter.  At age 6 and almost 4, they have been sleeping through the night for years, but this summer, they decided to change that.  Either one or both of them got up every night!  At first we got up to take them to the bathroom or get them a drink or tuck them back into bed, but then we realized that they were doing it based on habit, more than on true need.  We told them that we would not be getting up in the night unless there was an emergency.  Within a day or two, the night wakings stopped.  Well, at least they stopped waking me up.  Instead, three or four mornings a week, I wake with Benjamin asleep in the floor by my bed. 

napping in Mama's bed

I mentioned it to my friend, Allyson, and she said, "You know what?  He won't do that when he's 15." 

No, he won't! 

Yes, we want to instill good habits and yes, we want a good night sleep for everyone involved, and yes, we want our children to learn to do what they're told, but it's not going to be this way forever.  It may be a struggle now, but every child will learn to sleep! 

How do you keep your toddler in bed?  Let us know in the comments. 

Also, if you have a question for a future "How Do You...?" post, share that in the comments, too, or send me an e-mail! I'd love to hear from you. 

1 comment:

  1. My 2 year old still gets out of bed occasionally, but now it's mostly to get a toy or book and then he gets back in. It took almost a month of long frustrating bedtimes before he realized he had to stay in bed!


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