Strategies to keep your toddler in their bed overnight

Toddler climbing out of bed

When your little one figures out how to escape his cot, it’s probably time to transition him to a toddler bed. Unfortunately, sometimes when they’re too young to understand they need to stay in their room, they will just keep coming out. They won’t understand.

Toddler climbing out of bed

What we need to do is set some firm boundaries and be consistent. That’s it. I want you to think about how you can respond to him in a firm, but fair way.When we’re doing a consult, we bounce off the parents and work out what’s okay for them and what fits in with their parenting styles.

This might not suit everybody and their parenting styles, but for a lot of people, I would suggest turning the room into a cot by putting a baby gate on the door. It’s like, “Okay dude, you know we’re still here, I’m not going to shut the door on you, but I’m just going to put some physical boundary here,” and be like, “Okay dude, this is it, that’s your room, it’s bedtime, that’s what people do. They stay in their room at bedtime, so goodnight, bubba.”

And then, you’re not going to go off and just forget about him. Perhaps you’re going to come back every few minutes and just reassure him. Perhaps you’re going to sit in the room and reassure him, that’s totally up to you.

Think of something that sends the message, “Mummy and Daddy are still here for you. We’re just not doing all of the things we used to do. Yes, I know, you used to come into our bed and cuddle and we’d all go to sleep that way, but we’re not doing that anymore. We’re here for you. I understand that’s very frustrating and it’s going to make you very angry and frustrated and confused, and I’m here for you, but we’re not doing those things anymore.”

There’s got to be a line where you’re like, “Dude, that’s enough.” I would try to think about physical ways to keep him in the room, like a baby gate. I can’t really think of anything else except for shutting the door, which honestly for a two-year-old can really freak them out. So come up with some firm but fair methods where you’re reassuring him that you’re here for him but you’re just not doing all of those things you used to do. Then be super consistent, because consistency is the key.


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