If you’ve raised children, you understand that getting a good night’s sleep for both you and your child can be one of the toughest challenges. Here are some techniques we used that you might find helpful to help a toddler sleep in their own bed.
We’ve got two boys ages 9 and 3 who have both had their share of sleeping issues, but who both eventually settled into an arrangement that worked best for all of us.
One of biggest issues is how to get a toddler to sleep in their own bed. Children who used to co-sleeping or snuggling with you in your bed, may have a tough time transitioning to their own bed. Even if a child falls asleep in their own bed, they may get up in the middle of the night and wish to join you.
Now that we have a second child, we approach these moments from a different perspective. We know the baby and toddler stage are fleeting, and before you know it you’ll have a kid who will have no issues sleeping alone. But when you are in the moment it’s super tough.
It’s also very comforting to hold your child when you know they need you, but in the long-run you know that you may be setting yourself up to create bad habits.
We’ve discovered that worrying too much about a sleep stage is not beneficial as within days, weeks, or even a few months, a child can move onto a different type of sleep stage.
If you don’t have the patience to wait things out, there are plenty of ways you can try to wean your child back into their own bed, or at least out of yours.
Place a Toddler Bed on Your Floor
This isn’t a great long-term solution, but at least it can help get your child out of your bed. They can feel near you, without being in your same bed.
A toddler bed can consist of a small sleeping mat with pillows. Enough to make them comfortable, but not enough to give the impression that it is where they should always sleep.
Get Up and Help Them Back Into Their Bed
It takes energy, but helping your child get back into their own bed might be the best solution. With a few back rubs they might fall right back to sleep.
Our youngest would also want to be held and rocked back to sleep before going into his own bed, but we were happy to do that to keep him out of our bed.
Use a Sound Machine
We initially were against sound machines before we had kids, but living in our small house we found a sound machine with white noise to be beneficial for our boys to get a good nights sleep.
White noise can lessen the chance that a child wakes up from a loud sound. The droning of white noise also helps maintain a steady sleep.
Create a Peaceful Environment
A toddler’s bed should feel comfy for them. With whatever stuffed animal or blanket they need, and without any extra lights or toys that might distract them.
Creating a peaceful environment means that the child understands that when they lay down it means its time to sleep. They shouldn’t play video games or watch movies in their bed. Bed is only for sleeping.
Make It Dark
A toddlers room should be as dark as you can get it. Black out shades help in the summer, as some toddlers will go to bed when it is still light out and you don’t want them waking up at the crack of dawn.
Keep it dark for a good nights sleep.
Upgrade Your Child’s Mattress
A mattress that is too hard or soft is tough for anyone to sleep on, including your toddler. Invest in a new good mattress that is fragrance free, and see if that helps your child get a better nights sleep.
Upgrading our mattress made a difference for us, as both of our boys were excited to get new beds that we knew were clean and comfortable.
We hope these tips help a bit. All children and households are different, and there is no magic formula that works for everyone. The best advice we can share is to remain calm about the situation and approach these challenges with love.
For more clinical advice, check out this article from the Cleveland Clinic.