How To Get Your Toddler To Sleep In Their Own Bed

Top tips

  • Keep to the same bedtime every night. Also keep the same routine
  • Create an imaginary friend for your child so they feel safe
  • Give your toddler a transition object such as a blanket or teddy
  • Positive rewards work wonders
  • Don’t give in to crying – they just want your attention
  • Stick to it; don’t give up because you had a hard day. It will result in you having to start from step one again.

3 in the bed and the little one said…

Nothing ruins a romantic night with a partner more than the little patter of feet across the landing, the bedroom door swinging open and a little body snuggling up between the two of you.

Nothing disturbs a well earned sleep at the end of a hard day more than a little person wriggling about in their sleep, finally deciding the most comfortable position is with their feet wedged fully into your back.

If your toddler rules who sleeps where and is stopping the whole household getting a good night sleep, here are some top tips to reclaim your bedroom.

The reason for your toddler sharing your bed

The first thing you need to determine is why your toddler doesn’t like sleeping in their own bed.

Are they afraid of something? Do they feel they are missing out? Do they have separation anxiety?

Working out the reason your toddler doesn’t want to sleep in their own bed means you are half way to solving the problem (although it does get more difficult from here).

Is today a good day to get your bed back?

I’m guessing you will want your bed back as soon as possible, but you have to ask yourself, is today a good day to start?

Is your toddler already under some stress, for example, have you just moved house, is there a new arrival on the way?

Getting your toddler to sleep in their own bed is not going to happen over night, so you need to make it as easy as you can on your toddler.

Before lights out

During the afternoon, explain to your toddler what is going to happen “from now on mummy and daddy are going to sleep in their bed and you are going to sleep in your bed”. This means it won’t be such a shock later when they find out they have been banished from your bedroom.

Bedtime routine

Getting your toddler to stay in their own bed is not going to be easy, but the calmer you keep their bedtime routine, the easier it will be for everyone.

Make your child feel safe in their bed, tuck them in, give them a night light if need be.

If you know your toddler is scared of monsters in the closet, go into the closet, “beat up” any monsters you find and tell your toddler that they wont be bothering them anymore. Alternatively, spray air freshener into your toddler’s bedroom and explain to your toddler it is called ‘monster away’ and will stop any monsters being able to enter the room.

Have a look at getting rid of nightmares and monsters under the bed.

Once you have read a bedtime story and tucked your child in, that is it. Leave the room.

If your toddler won’t stay in their own bed

If your child gets up during the night, take them by the hand and put them back to bed. Don’t engage in conversation, give them water, cuddles etc. As soon as you give them a little bit of your attention, you are going to be fighting a losing battle.

Expect midnight visits, as your toddler will push the boundaries. You have just imposed a new rule and you will have to suffer a few more sleepless nights until your toddler realises that you mean business and these new rules are firmly in place. Just keep reminding yourself that after a week or so, you should be able to claim back your bed and enjoy a peaceful nights sleep.

Getting a child with separation anxiety to sleep in their own bed

If your toddler suffers from separation anxiety, unfortunately you are going to suffer a bit more, so keep reminding yourself how nice it will be to get a good nights sleep once these next few days are over.

Tuck your toddler into bed with their normal bedtime routine, and then lay down on the floor next to them (not in their bed). Get comfortable; you are there all night. If your child wakes up, they can see that you are there and they are safe and can go back to sleep.

After a couple of days start moving away from your child's bed, maybe sleep on a chair. They will still be able n to see you, but they will have some physical space between you and them.

If your child starts kicking up a fuss, leave the room until they have calmed down, then go back in as a reward for your toddler.

Keep increasing the distance until you are back in your own bed.

If your toddler comes to find you, simply put them back to bed. Whatever you do, don’t let them sleep in your bed as a one off; otherwise you will have to start the whole process again.

Rewarding your toddler for sleeping in their own bed

Getting your toddler to sleep in their own bed is a big thing for them and should be rewarded (because if nothing else, them sleeping in their own bed and you getting a good nights sleep deserve recognition and a thank you).

For every night your toddler stays in bed treat them. It could be with a toy, a sticker, a trip out somewhere.

Let them know you are really proud of them and what a big girl/boy they have become.

If staying in bed the whole night is too much, reward them for every hour they manage to stay in their own bed and let it build up that way.