Check Out These 5 Expert Tips to Help Your Toddler Stay In Bed!

Every new parent thinks they will be happy once their newborn is sleeping through the night. Finally, it happens! And things seem pretty good for a while. Then that baby turns into a toddler and starts to want to get out of bed well before dawn. What is a sleep-deprived parent to do? How do you help your toddler stay in bed, his own bed, all night?

Dr. Kyle Pruett is a trusted advisor to The Goddard School, a clinical professor of Child Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, and an accomplished author on a variety of parenting issues has some tips. Here are Dr. Pruett's  to five tips to help your toddler stay in bed.

Image via Flickr/ Lunda Giddens

Tip #1

The most effective technique is to not start the transition out of the crib too early. 18 to 36 months is the window for most families. But waiting until a toddler is closer to two and half years old works best for most families.  

Tip #2

Do not use a tablet or other device to keep your child in her bed for a few more minutes — or hours.   Even though it gives you both a reprieve,  you will regret it later. 

Tip #3

If your toddler is still napping, he needs at least 5 hours between waking up from a nap and bedtime. If your child is not still napping, start the 15-minute wind-down routine at 7:00 PM. 

{ MORE: Sometimes Babies Just Don't Sleep and That's Not Your Fault }

Tip #4

When your toddler gets out of bed and comes looking for you, walk him back to his room with a simple, “Time for bed.” (Silence is even better than saying anything.) Do this a dozen or so times until they get the point. If he stays in bed, the reward might be leaving the door open. If not, it gets closed half-way, or whatever works for you. Immediate rewards are more effective with toddlers than punishments.

Tip #5

A sticker for getting into bed without fuss still works for toddlers. And if the toddler makes it through the night, give a sticker at breakfast!

Many parents also swear by a clock that gives visual clues.  Very young kids might do well with this Claessens' Kids Kid'Sleep Moon Sleeptrainer Nightlight. It has pictures of a bunny sleeping and awake.  Kids who know colors or have an interest in learning time might do well with this Teach Me Time! Talking Alarm Clock and Nightlight. It turns green when it's okay to get out of bed and you can use it like an old-fashioned alarm clock.  

{ MORE: What the Latest Sleep Guidelines Mean for Co-Sleepers }

Do you have any tips that helped your toddler stay in bed?

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Check Out These 5 Expert Tips to Help Your Toddler Stay In Bed!

Jamie is a Beltway Insider who loves channeling her pre-motherhood love of traveling into spending time exploring all D.C. has to offer with her brood of two girls and two boys ages 9, 7,5, and a baby. She is a reformed lawyer turned full-time kid wrangler who enjoys photographing her everyday chaos and anything salted caramel. Since life is never dull, she loves writing about the issues and events going on in her life at any given time, including caring for a daughter with special needs and th ... More

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