Having your toddler sleep in a toddler bed is a big change for them – and you. Here’s how to train them to sleep in their toddler bed without getting up during the night.
Get Them Excited about the Transition
First, you want to get your toddler excited about the transition from a crib to a toddler bed. Don’t just spring it on them, but involve them in the process. If you’re going to buy a new toddler bed, have them come to buy it with you, or even let them pick it out. Or, let them pick out a new sheet set, blanket, or pillow for their new bed. This will get them looking forward to using their new bed, pillow, or whatever, and it will make them feel more involved in and in control of the transition.
Let Them Explore Their Bed
On the first night your toddler will sleep in their bed, let them explore their new bed well before bedtime, during the day. Show them their bed, and let them check it out. They’re going to want to climb in and out of it, so it’s better to let them do before they’re about to go to sleep. Tell them all about it, and let them lay in it and in general explore whatever they’re interested in about it (except it’s probably not a good idea to let them jump on it, unless you want that to continue).
Don’t Change Their Bedtime Routine
Sleeping in a new bed is going to be a huge adjustment for your toddler, and toddlers aren’t so good with transitions and changes. In order to make things go as smoothly as possible and to disrupt their lives as little as possible, keep their bedtime routine the same as it always is. Don’t change anything about it, so their bedtime is still familiar for them in that way.
Don’t Make Getting Up Fun
Your toddler is going to test the limits, and you’re probably going to get them roaming into your room quite a few times to start with, so you need to make sure they learn that getting up is not a game and it is not fun. When they come into your room, pick them up and return them to their bed with as little fuss as possible.
For the first few times, patiently explain to them that they’re not allowed to get up at night because they need to stay in their bed and sleep. After that, don’t say anything to them at all when they get up. Giving them extra attention will encourage their behavior, so don’t yell or talk at all. Just silently return them to bed, even if they’re crying.
Use a Reward System
Finally, train your toddler not to get up from their bed by using a reward system. If getting up becomes a problem, create a sticker chart, and tell them that they get a sticker every time they stay in bed a full night. Every day they get a sticker, or once they’ve gotten a certain number of stickers, you give them some kind of treat, such as a favorite dessert or a new toy.
Stacey Margaret is a mother of 5 and mommy-blogger who often writes with the goal of aiding parents who are struggling to deal with their babies or toddlers. (11)