The nightly struggles of trying to get your kids to sleep in their own bed can be frustrating and exhausting. Here are some ways to finally get your child to sleep in their own bed all night long.
End The Struggles of Getting Your Kid To Sleep In Their Own Bed
The transition from a crib to a toddler bed can be one of the toughest parts of parenting. Getting a kid to stay in bed takes a lot of work. But getting them to sleep in their own bed for an entire night? Almost impossible!
My daughter was never a great sleeper at night. She woke up throughout the night for her entire life. No joke. Even now as a tween, she still wakes up at night. Thank goodness she’s learned how to get herself back to sleep!
But it wasn’t always that easier. It actually took several years of tears and yelling and frustration… from both of us… before she finally stayed in her bed every night.
Looking back now, I realize it could have been a lot easier and quicker if I had just made a few small changes.
So let me save you the years it took me to figure out the solution to getting your kid to sleep in their own bed every night… all night long!
Tips To Help Your Kids Sleep In Their Own Bed
Our nights looked something like this for several years:
My daughter would wake up in the night and come to my room.
I would wake up and walk her back to her bed.
I would go back to bed and she would start crying.
I would yell for her to stop.
She would cry harder and start saying “mommy please!” through her tears.
I would get frustrated and let her come sleep in my bed.
Over and over we went through the same thing every night. I was never a co-sleeper so that wasn’t the problem. And each night she started in her own bed, so that wasn’t the problem either.
But she was smart. She waited until I was sleeping and too exhausted to argue with her. So each night I would let her into my bed just so I could go back to sleep.
I was too tired to deal with it most nights, so instead, I created a problem that lasted an eternity (or at least it felt that way).
The Message We Send When We Let Kids Sleep In Our Beds
I decorated my daughter’s room like it was straight out of an HGTV show. I wanted her to LOVE it. Cause then she would want to stay there, right?
This would have probably worked if I wasn’t letting her into my bed each and every night to start with. While I was letting her into my bed just to get back to sleep, what I was really doing is sending her the message that her room wasn’t safe for her to stay in.
We want kids to feel safe and protected in their rooms. But if we allow them to leave that room every night and stay with us, it’s just confirming that their room is unsafe.
Staying in their own room needs to be a firmly followed rule to show them it’s safe and it’s ok to be alone in there.
We want kids to be able to learn how to comfort and soothe themselves. Despite all the reassuring words you can give them, the best way to really show them is to allow them to learn how to do that.
How To Get Your Kids To Stay In Bed All Night
Develop a Bedtime Routine
Nothing works better for kids than having a ROUTINE. I wrote this in caps because that’s how important it is. Routines help kids feel safe and secure. And when they feel that, they feel confident and have fewer behavior problems.
So take the time to develop a good nighttime routine. Have a bath, read a book, get a cup of water, and end it with a kiss and a song with and them laying in their own bed.
Keep Reading: How to Create The Perfect Bedtime Routine
Help Identify Fear Factors
Are they scared of the dark? Get them a unique night light.
Do they hear strange sounds? Get them a cool noice machine.
Do they think something is hiding under their bed or their furniture? When my daughter said this, we would take all her dolls and teddy bears and they would lay on the ground with their eyes facing under the bed or under her dresser.
She felt super protected that all her “stuffies” were watching out for her!
Keep Walking Them Back To Their Room
I know its super tempting to just let them crawl into bed with you so you can get back to sleep without getting up. But trust me, it just makes things worse.
Each and every single time your child tries to come to your room and get in bed with you, you need to get out of bed and walk them back to their room.
Keep the conversation to a minimum. You don’t need to go over and over the rules again. They already know the rules. You just simply say “let’s go back to bed”.
The less conversation there is, the less arguing there will be
I know its really hard to get out of bed sometimes, but the good news is that you only need to do this a handful of times to make it work long term. Giving in to them and letting them come sleep with you will last a whole lot longer.
Check On Them In Five Minutes
Most nights, my daughter wouldn’t even stay in her bed for a single minute. I could barely leave the room.
So we came up with a bargain.
She only had to “try” sleeping for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, I could come check on her. If she was still awake, we would come up with another plan.
But she actually had to try. Eyes shut, no playing with dolls or talking to the dogs. Or else the 5 minutes started all over again.
99% of the time she would be passed out way before the 5 minutes were even up. She just needed that reassurance that I wasn’t going to leave her alone forever.
Sit Nearby Until They Fall Asleep
The absolute last thing you should be doing is laying down in their bed with them. This trains them to need you by their side to fall asleep. And more than likely, they will seek you out ever MORE during the night for that contact.
Instead, try sitting with them in the room until they fall asleep. Try to make it as close to the door as you can. Even if you have to put a chair in the doorway.
Little by little, you move the chair further away until eventually, they don’t need you there to fall asleep anymore.
Praise Them for Each Step
Remember your positive parenting! Praise them every step of the way, no matter how small. So that everything they do is a step in the right direction and your child will soon be eager to go to bed, to get your praise.
Even if it means they stayed in bed for the full five minutes you gave them. Tell them how great it is that they did that. Praise them for being so very brave for staying in bed that long. Then see if they can do another 5 minutes.
If your child does make it through the whole night, praise praise praise! They will be so happy to have your praise, they will start to WANT to stay in their bed to get that positive reinforcement from you.
Do Not Yell or Scold Them
When they get out of bed a hundred times after their bedtime or come to you in the middle of the night, it can be easy to get angry and snap at your child. But this will have the opposite effect of what you are trying to achieve.
Do your best to stay calm and talk to your child in a normal tone. Raising your voice or yelling at them will just cause them to shut down, and all progress will be lost.
Celebrate The Success
If they do spend all night in their bed, praise the heck out of them, but also reward them too!
It could be anything from their choice of breakfast to en extra hour of screen time.
You can even try making a bedtime chart. Every time they spend the entire night in their own bed, they get a sticker. 10 stickers and they earn a small toy from Target.
One trick that worked well for us too was the “Nighttime Fairy”. She comes to visit little boys and girls who stay in bed sleep through the night in their own bed. If she sees them doing this, she leaves a small candy in their room for them.
Some Final Tips on Getting Your Child To Stay In Bed All Night
Let them know its OK to come to you on a bad night. If there is a thunderstorm or they had a bad dream. But even in those instances, you walk them back to their room and stay with them until they feel safe again.
Don’t engage in discussions. Staying in their own bed is not up for discussion. It’s a firm rule you need to stick to. No arguing, no explaining.
You Might Also Be Interested In:
- How To Create A Bedtime Routine For Toddlers
- How To Discipline Your Kids Without Yelling
- Effective Ways To Get Angry Kids To Calm Down
- Tips For Using Positive Parenting In Your Everyday Life
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