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Stay In Bed Technique

Bed times can be a real hassle during the terrible twos.

When you have had a long day of terrible twos temper tantrums and arguing with your toddler the last thing you want is to have to spend all night up with your toddler because they have decided they do not want to sleep.

This is where a good bedtime routine and the stay in bed technique come in to play.

The stay in bed technique allows for peaceful and calm bedtimes and keeps you in control.

When you first put the stay in bed technique into practise it may take a few nights before you see any major noticeable improvements, but if you stick with it, it is well worth a few difficult nights.

The stay in bed technique is great for those going through the terrible twos as it gives them routine and consistency, but best of all it gives you a good nights sleep.

Why won't my toddler stay in bed?

There are a number of reasons your toddler might not stay in bed:

  • They are over tired
  • They are pushing boundaries
  • They want a reaction from you
  • They are not tired
  • They feel they might miss out on something whilst they are asleep

How do I get my todler to stay in bed?

The stay in bed technique is very simple to carry out. Firstly, carry out your bedtime routine.

If your toddler decides that they don’t want to go to sleep and comes out of their room, take them by the hand and say “its bedtime sweetheart (or another term you call them by). This should be said in the correct tone of voice. Place them back into bed and leave the room. Do not engage in any other conversation with them.

If your toddler gets out of bed again, take them by the hand and say “bedtime”, again in the correct tone of voice. Put them back into bed and leave the room.

If they get out of bed a third time, simply take them by the hand and put them back to bed and say nothing. Keep repeating this step until your toddler stays in bed.

How to make the stay in bed technique work

It is important that you do not engage in a conversation with your toddler because they are then getting the attention that they want and they will know that if they persist enough, that you will eventually talk to them.

It is also important that you do not shout or get upset with your toddler. If you start shouting at them, this will upset your toddler and they will be in no state to get a good night sleep. Put yourself in their shoes, how much sleep would you get if you were upset because you had an argument with someone before you went to bed?

What to do when your toddler wont sleep

Your toddler wants feel in control so let them.

Once you have put them to bed, if you know they are not going to sleep, tell them “why don’t you see if you can play with your toys quietly until you want to go to sleep? But if mummy and daddy hear you, we will come in and tell you to go to sleep. So see if you can play quietly enough to trick us into thinking you are asleep”.

This will only work depending on your toddler’s level of understanding and is normally better when they are approaching three, but I have seen it work successfully in younger children.

This gives your child the feeling that they are in control of bedtimes and means they will stay in their room so you get a peaceful evening to your self.

How to sucessfully use the stay in bed technique

Remember these tips for a sucessful stay in bed technique.

  • Set up a good bed time routine
  • Follow the three steps of the stay in bed technique
  • Do not engage in conversation with your toddler
  • Do not get angry or shout (no matter how much you want to)
  • Remember that it may take a few days to see improvements - so be patient while your toddler learns your new expectations and boundaries.