Getting your toddler to bed and… KEEPING him there (A Professional's take)
Having your toddler make the transition from a crib to a bed, is a huge milestone. The simple act of changing the place your toddler sleeps in, lends itself to an independence that your child has never felt before. This is a very good thing, however, it almost always presents a new challenge… Teaching your child to STAY in bed once it is bedtime.
The following, are a few tips, you can try...
1-When you are ready to make the transition, include your toddler in that decision. Let him/her get involved in choosing the bedding, the place where the bed will be, the special snuggly support he/she will want to bring into the new bed.
The idea is to make your child excited and to feel important, that this is happening for them.
2-Establish a bedtime routine, that is realistic. As a parent, you know the time frame for all that your child has to get done. Bathing, downtime, bathroom routines- if your child feels rushed, he will feel that vibe, and not be settled. Remember, your child has been up for 10-12 hours at this point. The end of the day has to be a calming experience.
3-Most of us, as parents, like to read a story, tell a story, or even have a short discussion about the day with our children before bed. All of these are great ideas, however, they cannot be done in your child’s BED. It is very important to do this in an area other than their bedroom.... your room, the den, or even the kitchen. Your child’s bed is for sleeping ONLY. Once you make the mistake, of being in that bed with your child, there is no turning back.
4-Make sure your child is comfortable in their room. Nightlights, open bedroom doors, comfortable temperature setting, appropriate bedding and pillows. All of this factors into a good night of sleep.
5-If your child does get out of bed for the usual
excuses-drinks, hunger, bathroom, saying good night to Daddy etc.... it is important that you immediately redirect your child back to the bedroom. You can escort them once or twice, but, ultimately, you will simply ask, “Where should you be right now?” Your child has to be accountable, they are fully aware of the place they should be...BED.
6-If your child is bold enough to continue to come out of their room despite your efforts, you can then explain the facts. “Mommy/Daddy tucked you in, we said goodnight and now you are standing here. You know what you need to do right now, I cannot help you so, please tell me how YOU can help YOU”.
Please remember. Toddlers coming out of their beds is a completely normal right of passage in Toddler World. The point where they realize they can come and go as they please is comparable to getting your Driver’s License!! If you are consistent and stay on track, your child will give up in a matter of days.
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