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Toddler Won't Stay in Bed
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Toddler Won't Stay in Bed
I have a potty-training 27-month old who is quite lousy at
staying in bed after the evening bed-time ritual. How do I be
respectful of her 'real needs -- using the potty/changing her
diaper -- while ignoring the others?
I put her to bed with a diaper, but she gets up to use the potty
three or four times over a short period of time (sometimes will
go, sometimes will sing and otherwise look for attention) and
sometimes she will come to me telling me she has a wet diaper
(sometimes it is wet and other nights I'll trade it with another
dry diaper four or five times before she stops).
This behavior isn't new. We went through it when she
transitioned to a toddler bed from her crib at 21 months.
Finally the nighttime request ritual was taking up to two hours.
I began putting her back to bed without talking to her or giving
into her requests. After a few days, this ended the problem. I
was quite happy to finally get my evening back.
I told my almost 3 year old daughter (who is recently potty trained and
also liked to
get up to request trips to the toilet) that it was ok to get up ONLY if
needs to go. I also told her that if she kept telling us she had to pee
if she didn't
really need to, then I wasn't going to let her get up because I might
not believe her.
Then maybe she'd have to pee in her diaper - which she didn't want to
do. I had to
be very clear (because she was concerned about us getting mad at her for
up) that we wouIdn't be mad if she's really gotta go. For some reason,
She doesn't want to wet her diaper when she's awake, so that's a
One key health element, however, is making sure that your daughter
doesn't try to
''hold it'' all night if she really needs to go.
No more crying wolf
My daughter was late to transition to a bed (about 3 and 1/4) and
probably would have been happy staying in her crib. The first
few nights were OK and ever since it has been a nightmare. She
is now sleeping on the floor on a mat, and gets up continuously
after we tuck her in. I am so incredibly frustrated and
resentful and I have no idea what to do. All of the advice that
suggests you calmly walk your child back to bed seems ridiculous.
My child is squirming away and saying ''no'' when we try that. If
she is determined to stay up nothing seems to work. Despite her
age (she'll be 4 in August) she still seems unable to talk about
what is going on for her (scared, missing us during the day,
etc). Also threats and offers of rewards really don't seem to
work... and isn't it wrong to offer a treat to get your kid to do
very very tired.
I also have a 3 year old (will be 4 in Sept.) who now stays in his bed,
but we've had the same issue. I also felt like all the advice that says
''calmly put your child back in bed'' was ludicrous, since he would
resist and resist. Finally I got really fed up, and told him that he
would have to stay in bed because he needed his sleep, and so the next
time he got out of bed, I'd put him back in but then close the door.
[His usual routine is that I would put him in bed, then get into my own
bed in the next room and read until he fell asleep - until he started
getting out of bed, that is. He hated having the door closed in between
the rooms.] So when I told him I would close the door, he acted all
defiant and said he'd get up anyway - I guess he thought I wouldn't
follow through. When he got out of bed again, I did exactly what I said
I would, and he just howled and screamed. I actually held the door
closed as well, so he couldn't open it. After a minute of him
screaming, I went back in and put him back in bed, and said I would
leave the door open this time, but I'd close it next time if he got out
of bed again.
He said ''maybe I will and maybe I won't.'' I think we went through me
closing the door twice before he agreed to stay in bed. After that
night it wasn't an issue at all fixed our problem
I've checked the archives on this and got lots of good & interesting advice, although
I'm wondering if anyone else has any different advice on our particulars. This is the
story of TRANSITIONS. About 2 months ago we transitioned our then 2 1/2 year-
old from his crib into his new ''big boy bed.'' (He was perfectly happy sleeping in his
crib, but was definitely interested in a bed due to our conversations, his friends &
Caillou having a bed, etc.) About a week or so after that, we moved our 7-month-
old daughter out of the bassinet in our room and into the crib in his room. Then 6
weeks ago we moved into our new house, in which he and his baby sister share a
room. He says that he likes his bed, likes his room, doesn't want to sleep in the
crib, and hasn't expressed any dissatisfaction in sharing a room with his sister.
In his crib, he was an angel to put to bed...regular routine, then he went to sleep.
At first it was a similar story with his big boy bed, with minor variances. But about
3-4 weeks ago he started to figure out that he is capable of getting out of bed lots
of times. After a few nights, we started putting him back to bed (without
conversation) until he finally went to sleep. The first night was abut 30+ times, and
the second/third nights were fewer and fewer. But now he LOVES this ''game'' and
will continue for 90 minutes sometimes. He's not asking for anything when he gets
up; he just stands at his door looking tired, or sometimes goes for a little romp
around the house until he finds me or until we catch him. We generally stand
outside his bedroom door and turn him around immediately to go back to bed,
unless we sit on the couch in the living room (which is 12 ft away from his bedroom
door) because we think he's going to sleep. My husband and I are losing our minds
because we both feel like spanking him even though we've agreed that that doesn't
jive with our parenting philosophy.
So far, in addition to just putting him directly back to bed without conversation,
we've tried taking away special things the following day (too far away for him to care
about in the moment.) We've left the light dimly lit at times (he doesn't seem to care
about the dark usually.) I've also stopped covering him up until he stays in bed or
goes to sleep. This used to help because after about 8 times he would cry for me to
cover him up and tell me he was ready to stay in bed. Now, he MIGHT stay in bed
for 10-15 minutes after I cover him, then he pops back out again.
Oh, and he has just gone through daytime potty training throughout this whole
period of time (started about a month before we moved - on his own timeframe.)
We need something else to try before we start regressing to staying in the room
with him, which is one of last things I want to try. Thanks for any constructive
criticism or helpful input.
Another Set of Frustrated Parents
We are going through a similar stage with our son. He just turned 2 and
was climbing out of his crib, so we made the move to a big bed. The first
week or so was perfect, as he would just follow his old routine of going
to sleep. But now he has discovered that he is the king of his castle.
One thing we do is put a gate up in his doorway at naptime and bedtime.
This helps alot. When he gets up and stands at his door, we go to the
door and tell him it's time to lie down again. We are having to do this
several times a night, and sometimes we do go in and lie on his floor for
several minutes. It certainly is not as easy as it used to be, but we're
Our big problem is the morning. He has always been an early riser
(anywhere from 5:30-6:30... if we're lucky), but when he was in his crib
he had nowhere to go, so he'd sometimes fall back asleep. Now he gets
up, turns on his light and starts playing. We have put an CD alarm clock
in his room, which has been GREAT! We still go in between 6:15 and
6:30 to be with him, but he knows that ''wake up time'' isn't until the music
starts (at 7). For over a month, there have been no requests to leave his
room until he hears the music! It's amazing...
Have you tried to put a child-proof handle on the door?
parents need their time too :)
Have you tried rewarding his staying in bed rather than punishing
his getting up? Perhaps you could start a chart and give him a
star for every night he stays in bed. When he has, say, 5 stars,
he gets a reward that has real meaning for him: a small toy, a
trip to the ice cream store, a special video, whatever. You
could put a picture of the reward on the door of his room or
somewhere near it, so he sees it every time he gets up to leave
the room and can think twice about whether he wants to break the
If you think he can't think that far ahead then you could try
having a tangible reward for every night he stays in bed. For
instance, you might tell him he's earning tv or computer time,
starting from zero (no tv or computer at all),
and every night he stays in bed he gets 10 minutes on the
computer or watching tv, or whatever, which can be added up or
used daily, however he wants.
If he goes five days without getting up he gets a whole extra
hour or something. It's a cliche, but I've found with my very
spirited boy that rewards, and earning their way to something,
have way more impact and effect than punishments.
Finally, you might also emphasize (if you don't already), that he
doesn't have to fall asleep, but the rule is he has to stay in
bed. That gives him a little wiggle room. I even let my son take
books (and only books, no toys) to bed with him, and he thumbs
through them for a few minutes and then usually puts them down
and goes to sleep. On nights that he's restless, he may get up
to get more books from the shelf, but he sticks to the rules, for
the most part.
This happened with our 1st child. I thought she was ready for a
bed. We finally put her back in her crib where she stayed until
our 2nd was ready to move to the crib (she was almost 3). At
that time we played up BIG girl bed and she mostly stayed in
it. Now we have a problem with her getting up in the middle of
the night. We instituted a reward system instead of a
consequence. Only on occassion now do we talk about having to
institute a consequence and when we do, we frame it like ''you
sure like getting those stickers, they sure are fun. You really
like going to the store with mommy to pick them out. If you
keep getting out of bed we can't do that anymore''...or something
like that. We also established a routine, brush teeth, 2-3
books in bed, night light on, water at the bedside and a back
scratch. I hope this helps!
We moved our 24 month old to a toddler bed after finding
him (several times) perched on the rails of his crib and
unable to get back in or down, YIKES! He likes the Big Boy
Bed, and if he is really tired he will just go to sleep, but
MOST of the time he finds it SUPER FUN, to get out of bed,
over and over and over again. I have been picking him up
and putting him back in bed or telling him to get back in bed
(while he laughs hysterically all the way), using a firm voice
to say “stay in bed” and then telling him “good night.” But
this is not working. 99% of the time I can do this calmly and
without a fight from him, but that 1% where I break down and
laugh along with him is obviously making this REALLY
What should I do when he rolls over walks to his door and
opens it waiting for me to put him back to bed? This is
obviously a game for him and I am at a loss for what to do.
If I close the door he gets really really upset and cries and
cries, not putting himself to bed or sleep. If I sit in the room
with him, I think I just keep him awake. When he was in his
crib we always put him down to bed said goodnight, closed
the door over and he would fall asleep after some singing
and other quite time to himself. Any suggestions as to what
to do when he gets out of bed? I read the postings about
toddler beds and most seemed to be on when to make the
switch, not how to deal once you have made the switch.
I, too, didn' realize how much confinement in the crib had
contributed to my son's being a good sleeper until he climbed
out (and fell!) at 23 months during nap time and we immediately
put him on a futon that night. You might try putting a baby
gate on his bedroom door and child-proofing his room (to be
like a big crib). That way, he won't feel like he is shut off
from you by a closed door but also won't be stimulated by your
presence in the room after it's time to go to sleep.
This is what worked for us two years ago when confronted with a
similar problem with our own daughter, who is now 4 1/2 years.
1. We didn't get concerned about it and recognized that our
daughter was getting enough sleep.
2. My husband tied the co-sleeper back to our bed, because that
is where our daughter wanted to sleep and the crib was no longer
there to stop her from climbing in bed with us.
3. We banned the television all but entirely, due temper
tantrums she was having after watching TV before bedtime.
4. We began reading complex chapter books to her as soon as she
was ready to listen, at around 3 years of age. After reading to
our daughter for at least an hour each night, she is ready to go
lay down and ''try'' to go to sleep, which usually takes her
anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes.
My thoughts on why this works so well is that both my daughter
and I believe that we have ''trained'' the other to do what each
person wants. My daughter believes she has trained us to read
books that she enjoys every night, and we believe we have
trained her to go to bed when we think it is time (while at the
same time exposing the entire family to an enormous breadth of
relatively complex children's literature at a rate of at least
one chapter book a week). This has been a real win-win situation
for all of us! All the best.
-115 pages to go on Harry Potter, Volume 3
We are going through a very similar situation. About 2 months
ago, we converted our 2.5 year old's crib into a toddler bed.
He goes to sleep well most nights, but we have been struggling
with him getting out of bed as soon as he wakes up. This could
be at 3, 4 or 5am. We know he is an early riser, but think his
sleep needs dictate that he get up around 6am. So we've been
experimenting with a nightlight on a timer. We bought a nice
lamp in the shape of a horse, put a 4 watt blue bulb in it, and
plugged it into a timer. The timer turns the light on at
7:30pm (bedtime) off an hour later, and turns the light back on
at 6 am (wake up time). We almost put the crib rails back up
after over a month of saying 'you can't get out of bed until
the horsey light comes on', but it finally seems to be
working. For the past 3 mornings, he's gotten up at 6.
Another problem we had was our son getting out of bed early in
the morning and opening and closing the door - mainly to get
our attention and let us know he was up. He has since stopped
doing this, but our next strategy (should the behavior return)
is to put a gate up outside his door (or two gates across the
hallway perpendicular to his door). That way, he can't just
run to our room, or the fridge, or the playroom.
Since the nightlight on a timer seems to be working, we're
going to add another element to it. We're going to make a
calendar and chart his good progress with stickers. Not sure
what the reward will be yet, but we would like to familiarize
him with this kind of positive reinforcement which we hope will
come in handy come chore time:)
Best of Luck!
Our son is 31 months. We are getting ready to get him a bed.
Currently, he sleeps in the same crib that he has used since he
was 3 months old. He still fits in it, and has always really
loved it, preferring it to sleeping with my husband and me. In
fact, he used to climb into it and pretend to go to bed, build
tents in it, and generally enjoyed playing there very much. His
bedtime routine has always been stable: bath, brushing teeth,
stories, cuddle time, bed. Generally, we place him in his bed
while he is still awake, and he puts himself to sleep without
trouble. We often hear him in his room happily talking to
himself before he actually falls asleep. In the last week,
however, he has suddenly begun insisting that he does not want
to go into his bed, that he wants to sleep in our bed. If we
stay with him until he falls asleep, he will remain in his bed
and eventually go to sleep - although it seems to be taking
longer now for that to happen. If we put him down and leave him
in bed awake - as we have done since he was born - he repeatedly
gets up and comes out to say he does not want to be in his bed.
We're not aware of any sudden event that would have caused this
change, and are wondering if anyone has had a similar experience
or has advice for successfully coping with the change. We'd
rather not bring him into our bed for various reasons: we have
other children and bed is our only alone time; I have problems
with insomnia; and we're not in bed when he goes to bed, etc.
Thanks for your thoughts!
I'm not sure he dislikes his bed; he's probably just trying to
test the limits surrounding bedtime. If he feels he can get
more attention by leaving his room, then that's what he'll do.
You can consistently put him back in his room with no fuss and
tell him to stay there. Or you can do what we did which was to
put a baby gate across our daughter's doorway when we moved her
into a bed (from a crib) at about 28 months. Our daughter also
liked to talk and play in her bed at bedtime; giving her a gate
helped her to understand that it was okay to do that, but that
she needed to stay in her room. Since we are normally in a
different part of the house after she goes to bed we were also
concerned about her safety if she was wandering around outside
her room (even with gates across the stairs).
Now, at age 3 1/2, I'd like to take the gate away so she can go
to the bathroom by herself at night (the last potty training
hurdle), but she wants to keep it up to keep her baby brother
out! (So I don't think having the gate has traumatized her in
Whatever you decide, I'm sure this is just a stage that he'll
grow out of.
Our 20-month-old son, who has gone to sleep in his own bed, alone and
without crying, for the whole of his life, has also suddenly started crying
when we put him to bed. His language skills are obviously not as
advanced as your son's, but he stands up and calls for Mommy and
Daddy in a really pathetic tone, and says ''no, no'' when we put him in
the crib. When we walk by our bedroom on the way to his, he points into
our room and says ''night-night,'' then cries when we continue on past
our room. Like you, we didn't really know why this might have started.
I'm guessing that kids around 2 or 3 start realizing that there are other
options for them than ''what they have always done'' and are trying to
explore them. Maybe they really think they would like to sleep with us
better than in their crib, maybe they just want to see if we will let them
have what they ask, if they ask often and long enough.
As far as what to do: For the first week after this started, our son would
cry for awhile and we'd have to work with him to get him to go to sleep
(staying in with him, going in every few minutes, etc.). Now, several
weeks later, he still doesn't like being put in his crib, but he only cries
until it's obvious we're leaving the room. I would guess that if you just do
the classic ''training them to sleep alone'' for older kids method (either
just keep taking him back to bed and leaving him there, or staying with
him and moving farther and farther out in the hall, or using a reward
system for staying in bed -- see a book like Jodi Mindell's to find a
suggestion that makes sense to you), he'll eventually go back to
21-month old won't stay in bed
I am the parent of a 21 month old who just figured out how to climb
(hurl himself) out of his crib. The day after he did this, I converted
his crib to a bed. Our problem is, he will not stay in his bed. As
soon as he is put there, he is up like a shot out of a cannon. He can
open his door and comes down the hall. At Midnight the last two nights,
my wife and I have given up and put him to bed with us. We would rather
not start this as a habit, but we do not have a clue as to how to get
him to stay put in his room at such a young age. I welcome any
Here's my two cents about the screen tent gizmo referred to in the
We bought the tent (from One Step Ahead) before our second son was born, in
order to keep cats *out* of his crib. For this purpose, it has been
excellent. As a restraining device to keep a child *in* the crib, however,
I'm pretty skeptical of its potential efficacy, because I'm sure that our
son (now 11 months old) is going to be able to figure out how to unzip that
sucker, at least part way, any day now (although his goal so far is fun
with the zipper, rather than escape from the crib). Yes, even though
there's a handy dandy pocket into which the zipper tab fits, snugly, I'm
still convinced that it's not enough to foil a determined child. (And,
yes, his mattress is at the lowest setting.)
Does anyone else out there have longer or older-age experience with this
From: a mom
We had similar challenges with our 2 year old. We actually used suggestions
from Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems by Richard Ferber, MD. These are ideas
you have probably heard. We asked our son to stay in his bed. In exchange we
would leave his bedroom door open. The process was difficult for 2-3 nights.
He really wanted to be with us or us to say in his room with him while he went
to sleep. We ended up working out a compromise that I remember another parent
mentioning in this newsletter. He now sleeps in his bed - but we moved his bed
into the doorway of his room and leave the door open. Since we made this
change he has been willing to stay in his bed (at least until the early am
when he sometimes comes in with us and cuddles). Good luck!
Take this with a grain of a salt as our oldest is 20 months
and not yet is a bed. Our son frequently takes a nap on a
couch in his room and I will often put a child gate across
the door and take a nap in my room at the same time. His
room is child proofed so I know that if he wakes up he
will be somewhere safe until I go and get him. I would
think that the same thing might be useful for your situation.
A gate across the door would serve much like the barriers of
a crib as long as your child's room is child-proofed. Also, a
dark room isn't going to prove very much fun to play in. You
could go to the gate to reassure them (but not pick them up)
and tell them to get back into their bed.
My son has been known to sneak out of bed every once in a while and when it
started to get more frequent, I struck a deal with him (this may not work
with younger kids, he's 3 1/2): "you sleep in your bed when it's dark and
when the sun comes up you can come to my bed!" This has worked amazingly
well, although I'll have to think of a new strategy when summer comes
Another thing to think about is why is he/she getting up at night or not
staying in bed? Many times it is fear (ghosts, monsters, etc.) and some
reassurance and/or a night light may go a long way toward alleviating the
problem. Often there are other things going on in a child's life
(starting daycare/preschool etc., a move, divorce, etc.) and the accustomed
routine is out of whack. My son has been through all of the above and
being understanding and supportive has really helped both of us. I usually
tend to make exceptions to accomodate his needs, but at the same time let
him know that it is an exception and not the norm ("I know you're having a
hard time, so you can do xyz, but when things get better we'll go back to
abc or we'll start efg"). This has worked out quite well in many
Our daughter, 2 1/2, used to go to sleep wonderfully all by
herself. After two books and a lullaby, she would lay down in her crib
and fall asleep on her own, and in complete darkness.
The crib has been gone for two months now and she's in her own toddler
bed. And now it's pretty difficult to get her to get in bed at her
regular time, or to stay in bed once she's there. And in helping her
do so, we're now leaving the light on dim, we're letting her sleep on
the floor, and we're staying in the room far too long. And that
wouldn't be so bad, if it worked. But it often doesn't, and she'll pop
out 15 minutes after we leave.
She's dealing with a lot: a new sister, her own potty training, and
the usual two year old search for independence. Still, What have you
folks done to keep yours in bed?
Last weekend we moved my two year old daughter Emily from her crib to a
"Big Girl" bed (a twin with bedrails) because we're expecting another baby
in April and wanted to get her acclimatised in ample time for the baby to
use the crib. She's very proud and seems to love the bed. The only
problem is she won't sleep in it by herself. She's figured out that mommy
and daddy can fit too. Neither of us can actually sleep when we're lying
down with her.
The night after we introduced the bed a friend was sitting for us while we
went out for dinner. We were amazed to find that Emily had gone to sleep
like a little angel for our friend. But since then it has been a battle to
get her to sleep--I've basically had to lie down with her or sit next to
the bed until she's FAST asleep. If she stirs and realizes I'm not there
she's up. Once she finally goes down for the night, she inevitablywakes in
the middle of the night andwon't go back to sleep until one of us lies down
with her. When she had her crib she sometimes woke, but we just went in
and told her it was okay and to go back to sleep and she did. This isn't
working with the new bed. We're getting exhausted.
So far we haven't let her "cry it out" because it seems like she's
genuinely scared. Are we being too soft-hearted? What should we do?
Please Help!!!! Jennifer
Both my kids were generally good sleepers but went through rough spots
when stressed. After our second child was born, our first child
(almost four) would leave his room and we would find him asleep in the
hall outside his room. My second son also went through a period, at
age 2 1/2, of popping out of bed repeatedly and looking for us.
Sometimes we didn't even know he was up, but would find him asleep in
the hall or even sitting on the steps (a small flight so not a major
safety issue). We didn't make too big a deal of it, escorted the
children back to bed, tucked them in with their loveys again, and the
problem passed in a few weeks. We also let the kids bring books to
bed with them, and to "read" as long as they want; bedroom lights are
out but there is enough light from a nightlight plus the door ajar
with the hall light on. Our little one, now four, surrounds himself
with books and reads for up to an hour before falling asleep. We
often have to peel books off him after he is asleep -- adorable. So
make clear rules, be firm but loving in enforcing them, and the
problem will pass.
We moved our now 17 month old son to a toddler bed
about 2 or 3 months ago.
At that point I noticed him scaling the safety gates
at the bottom of the stairs, and figured that he would
be trying that on the crib shortly. I felt it was
better to be safe, and get him out of the crib, than
risk him falling from such a height. He has been
co-sleeping with us (for part of the night) for months,
and had never fallen out of our bed. And based on that,
I almost just put him in the twin bed (since we already
have one) but I realized that while he had been able to
climb down from our bed for months, he still wasn't able
to climb up into it. I wasn't sure if he would ever "put
himself back to bed" but I figured the chances were
better in a toddler bed that was lower, than in our
bed that he couldn't reach. Now that he is older he
is able to climb in and out of our bed (even in the
dark in the middle of the night) by climbing over the
rungs of the foot board, but he still can't climb into
the twin bed, so I think that the toddler bed was worth
the investment, even though he doesn't put himself back
to bed in that bed.
I need some advice on moving my 22 month old daughter from her crib
into a "big girl's bed". I have a 3 month old son who is outgrowing
his bassinett & needs the crib soon!! I have been talking & reading
to my daughter about the new bed (it's a toddler bed that uses
the mattress from her crib) but the first day that I tried to get her
to use the new bed she flat out refused and threw a giant fit. I now
have the crib & the new bed set up in her room & I am hoping that she
will get used to the new bed over the next week or so and start using
Any suggestions?? I don't want to force my daughter out of her crib
but I am hoping to avoid having to buy a different crib for my son.
Thanks for the help.
do you have a friend or family member who would be willing to loan
you a second crib? Or maybe you could pick up a second-hand one
somewhere for a reasonable price. I think your daughter would be
very aware of the reason she is moving to the big bed and could grow
to resent her younger sibling. Toddlers are smart, they figure
these things out. She isn't even two years old yet and it is very
common for toddlers to stay in a crib past two years of age. Why
not hold off if you can if she is happy and secure there? It may
save you some additional stress besides already having a newborn
and a toddler at the same time! I have a thirteen month old and
an almost three (in December) year old. I was fortunate to have a
sister who loaned me an extra crib so I did not have to move him out
early or buy another one. In fact, they are both in cribs now in
the same room and very happy. My toddler is very content in his
crib. (We are planning to get bunk beds for Christmas.) I think
the pediatricians advise to transition the toddler out of the crib
before the baby is even born to avoid any feelings of resentment or
other problems. My mom had a 22 month old son whom she moved out of
his crib a couple of months (so, around 20 months of age) early with
no apparent issues at the time. A few months later, after new baby
was born, he spiked a high fever and talked about how he had to move
out of his crib for his sister! Can you imagine? My mom felt awful.
Of course, this is worst case scenario. But, if you can wait a couple
of months longer it might work out better for everyone. GOOD LUCK!
When we found out that we were expecting our second child, we realized
that it was time for our 2yr9month daughter to move out of the crib.
First step was to take down the crib, but leave the mattress on
the floor of the nursery, right where it had been. At the same time,
we put the twin-size mattresses on the floor of her big-girl room, so
she now had a choice of where to sleep. Then, we bought her special
big-girl furniture, and talked it up, so when it was delivered, she
was very excited. She was quite involved in setting up her new room
(deciding where to hang things, etc); she would play in her room,
read in her room, but NOT sleep there. Finally, one day, she informed
me that she wanted to sleep in her big-girl bed -- and, that was that.
We've been there ever since. It took a couple weeks, but it was worth
As an aside, we took her with us when we picked up the replacement crib
for the new baby (found on the Marketplace! Thank you!), and she
is very much the little helper in putting the nursery together for 'her'
new baby. 3 is a great age!!
We moved, and now 3-y-o wants to sleep with us
We recently moved to the area with our nearly three-year-old son. He
had been sleeping in his own little toddler bed at our old house, but
with the radical changes of moving and the long transitional period
waiting for our furniture to arrive, he fell out of that habit. He
now wants to sleep with Mommy and Daddy in our bed. The problem is
aggravated by the fact that we moved into a much smaller house and
were forced to put his bed in our room. Now he goes to sleep in his
own bed, but in the middle of the night wants to climb into ours. We
wouldn't necessarily object to having him as a bed companion, since
of course we love to have him near us and snuggle, but he is a
terribly unruly sleeper, kicking and keeping us up much of the night.
How can we convince him (gently) to return to his own bed? We're not
getting enough sleep!
What you want to do is help your child form a new habit (or return to
his old habit) of sleeping in his own bed all night. I had a similar
problem with each of my daughters when they were each around 3. They
had their own rooms, but they would come out or call me repeatedly after
bedtime & frequently during the night. I cured them of this habit with
bribery. Each night that they stayed in their room w/out calling me they
got a star in the morning. After 10 stars they got a prize (some small
toy or treat). You couldn't do this with a baby, but by age three it can
work. I was afraid I'd be giving stars forever, but they eventually get
less excited about the whole process, forget to ask for the morning star,
& you can gently tell them they've now learned to stay in their rooms
& don't "need" stars anymore to help them. It worked for me.
We started out bed-sharing with our eldest, but quickly stopped since
no one was getting any sleep, so we went through the process of getting
(and keeping) her in her own sleeping area. We have always allowed her, and
now her baby brother, too, into our bed just before wake-up time, for
about an hour of snuggling and sleeping together. We have gone through a
number of periods, usually after she was sick, or we had been traveling, or
she'd gone through a transition, when our daughter wanted to come into our
bed early in the night and stay there. Each time, we chose a cut-off time
for ourselves (she can't get into our bed until 5:00 a.m., e.g., for
morning snuggles), and whenever she'd wake up ealier than that, we'd simply
take her back to her bed, tell her it's still sleep time, and kiss her
goodnight. Sometimes this would happen 3 or 4 times in a night for a
few days. We'd do this for a week or two until her sleeping was back on
track--in her bed, through the night, until morning snuggle time.
We've done this both when her bed was in our room, as in our old
house, and in our current place, where she and her brother have their own
room. The one difference was that when her bed was in our room, I could
reach her bed from mine and would sometimes just lay a hand on her as she
back to sleep in her own bed.
We read Ferber, hated it, found our approach to be more work, at
times, than his, but our daughter's now almost five, and has slept very
reliably in her own bed through the night since she was four, and still joins
us for a bit in the morning.
this page was last updated: Sep 13, 2009
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