Today I want to talk about how to keep your child in their own bed. Let me first take a minute to explain that your child will be healthier, do better in school, be more pleasant throughout the day, and just feel better overall, if they are getting enough sleep (no matter where that may be: your bed, their bed or somewhere else).
Now, we do not co-sleep (well- if the kids aren’t feeling well, if they are running a fever, or if there is a thunderstorm, they do sleep in our rooms), but for the most part, we don’t co-sleep because I am a huge worrier!
I am up all night worrying about if they are breathing or if a pillow is on their face or if they are sleeping all night or waking up. If I have to sneeze or cough- forget about it… I will just hold it because I don’t want to risk waking them.
All in all, I just don’t relax when they are in our bed. My husband won’t sleep, either, because he worries about rolling on top of them. I know that those things probably will never happen, but I just worry so much, so we all sleep better when they are in their bed and we are in our bed.
With that being said, I try to remember “Different Strokes for Different Folks”, so whatever works for your family is what works. Period!
So- let’s get back to keeping your child in their own bed. I’m not saying that my kids always sleep through the night, just that it is better for their development when they do. Trust me; my kids have all woken up for weeks or months at a time at some point during their young lives. I just do my best to get them back onto their natural sleep patterns to help them be the healthiest and happiest that they can be!
Here are the reasons that I want my child to STAY IN HIS/HER BED AT NIGHT:
- I am uncomfortable knowing that our sons or daughter would be walking around when I am asleep. I just can’t have this. What if they fell down the stairs? What if they got themselves a drink and aspirated without me knowing? What if they got into something dangerous (we keep the house child-proofed, but you just never know)? For these reasons, we have a rule that they must stay in their beds until 7:00 am .
- Kids need 10-12 hours of sleep a night. Younger toddlers and babies need even more. This is why we put our kids to bed at 7:00.
- Well-rested kids = happier kids. Well-rested kids = kids that can focus better. It just works for us.
- I don’t want to be ‘tucking them in’ five times a night. I have already had time lying down with each one of them, and they need to go to bed.
A quick background on our family. Our older two boys always stay in bed (they are six and eight).I don’t know what we did differently, but they never attempted to come out of bed. The two younger ones are still in the learning process (2 and 4).
I love the cuddle time with each one of our kids. This is why when they say “Mommy, will you lay with me?” I always say YES! However, laying with them and having them coming into my room and bed at all hours of the night are two totally different things.
“Why Is My Child Coming Out Of Bed and How Do I Stop It?”
I get this question a lot, so let me offer the advice that worked for us.
(PS- BEFORE YOU START, MAKE SURE THAT YOUR CHILD ISN’T SICK, THIRSTY, OR HAS TO USE THE BATHROOM).
The very first time that they come out of their bed, correct them.
My story: When our daughter moved to a toddler bed, I watched her on her video monitor.
The second that I saw her climbing out of her bed, I ran in and said “No, Ma’am. Back into bed, please. ” I told her “If you need Mommy, you say ‘MOMMY!’ and I will come in. You DO NOT get out of your bed. I will be scared if I know that you aren’t safe in your bed. Do you understand? ”
She answered with an “Uh-hum.” She then started to cry, knowing that she didn’t make the right choice and she put her hands over her eyes (this is what she does when she is upset). She didn’t come out of her bed again, until several months later.
Fast forward- Several months later, she made her second attempt. She is still only two, and I am not comfortable with her walking around without me knowing because it isn’t safe, so when I saw her, I put her back into her bed and said the same thing. She immediately climbed back out. This is where the ‘real teaching’ comes into play.
Let me tell you how it worked with our son (because it explains why we did this again with our daughter) I saw this method on Super Nanny, and I have had to do this with our third son when he was two years old. It works. I promise you. It is ALL ABOUT CONSISTENCY.
After you have verbally corrected them once, from then on, take them by the hand and firmly, but GENTLY place them back into their beds. Do not lose your temper. I did this with our son (when he was two years old) over 100 times!
Now, I know that number sounds outrageous, but on the show, SuperNanny, some parents did it hundreds of times (like 300+).
It works. It really does. (Remember- bad habits can take up to three days to break, so give it three days!)
It just works.
Extreme or not.
I was not mean.
I didn’t use force.
I did not yell.
I was not angry.
I show consistency.
How To Get A Child To Stay In Their Bed? (The exact steps)
Let me give you an example of one of our sons. I sat outside his door and waited for him to come out again, and again, and again.
It took one night of putting him back to bed over and over and over and over until he stopped coming out.
By night #2, it happened about 10 times.
By night #3- zero times.
It has been several years, and he has not come out of his bed unless he has been sick or scared or had to use the bathroom. If he needs us, he calls for us, but that is not often. After we read with him, give him a sip of water, lie down with him, and sing his goodnight songs, he goes to sleep.
RELATED–>> We also do this trick to help him sleep all night long (if your child wakes up in the middle of the night, this tip is a game-changer! It can help your child sleep all night long!)
You can read about it by clicking on this picture:
So, back to our two-year-old daughter: I did this with our daughter a few weeks ago (the two-year-old) but it only took four times of putting her back into her bed before she figured out that this was not going to work. The promise to leave her door open like her brothers helped, too. Haha!
Other tricks to try:
- Leave the door open
- Leave on a night light
- Skip nap time, but put them to bed sooner (a tired child sleeps well. An over-tired child is restless).
- Use a sticker chart
- Get this noise machine projector (our niece loves this- she is three)
- Or you could get this clock that changes color when they can wake up!
- Remember that this will be hard and tiring, but if you want your child to stay in their own bed, this will hopefully help you to accomplish that. In the end, you need to do what works for you and your family. No matter what you read or hear, make it work for your family.
FOR OUR OLDER KIDS:
Our older kids (born in ’06 and ’08) were coming out of their beds for a drink, a tissue, to say goodnight to the dog again, etc… (it was lasting over an hour some nights!) and we finally said that if they come out when they don’t need anything, we would have to give them an extra “not fun” chore. They could come out & help themselves (use the bathroom, etc…) but to come to get us to tuck them back in for the 9th time in an hour was just too much. It was getting OUT OF CONTROL. This stopped it after day 2 of the chores.
PS- here are the affiliate links to the products that I mentioned:
I hope that helped! Remember, don’t let the rules for bedtime interfere with your child’s need for a good snuggle now & then. ♥ Read this one when you have a second:
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I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.