Getting Toddlers to Stay in Bed


Bedtime for the kids means “me time” for Mums and Dads! But learning to stay in bed can take time, and even good sleepers can change their habits overnight. The Stay in Bed Technique is a method used in the Supernanny show to help families get an uninterrupted evening and a good night's sleep…


Getting toddlers to stay in bed

child asleepOnce a child has his own bed, climbing out to pay you a visit could become his favourite game, especially if the effort pays off with a night in Mum and Dad’s bed. Even good sleepers can change their habits at different stages in their development. and this may be disruptive for siblings not to mention the parents! Be consistent and follow these steps and you should create the right environment for your child to stay in his own bed all night.

Steps to keep your child in bed

Follow a calming Bedtime Routine. Before he gets into bed, make sure he has no reason to get up - he’s been to the toilet, he’s had a little water - and it’s clear that you expect him to stay in bed now. This way, if he gets out of bed, you won’t be drawn into a discussion about why he’s up, and you can get on with the business of getting him back to sleep:

  • The first time he gets up, remind him that it’s bedtime, lead him back to bed, give him a kiss and a cuddle, and leave the bedroom.
  • The second time, do the same but use a firmer voice and make the kiss and cuddle brief.
  • The third and any subsequent times, say nothing at all as you lead him back to bed, tuck him in, and leave the room. This is the hard part, and it’s very tempting to give a cuddle. Remember that a gentle, consistent approach will convince your child that you’re there for him, but that you insist he sleeps in their own bed.

What else might help?

You could make ‘stay in bed’ part of your child’s Reward Chart, but to break the back of an established ‘staying awake’ routine, it might be better to use a Star Chart initially. That way, you can give him a star on the nights he gets it right and not focus on the nights he doesn't!

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Published by Supernanny Website on 25/06/2014

Related links

  • TV Clip - Sleep Separation Technique: Bedtime was the most stressful part of the day for Ryland’s parents, but creating a relaxing bedtime routine meant he was able to sleep by himself for the first time… eventually!
  • TV Clip - Stay in Bed Technique: Whilst this technique really tested these parents’ stamina, Ashlin eventually stops calling for mom to get into her bed and lets Mum and Dad have an evening alone.
  • Getting Bedtime Back on Track: Staying up late to watch TV or play in the garden, with the chance to sleep in the next morning, can mean children’s sleep cycles naturally shift away from the ideal bedtime.
  • Bedtime Routine: The Bedtime Routine, as seen on the show, ensures your child gets enough sleep, while you get time to yourself.
  • Sleep Separation Technique: Clingy children often have sleep problems. As seen on the show, this technique helps your child to get to sleep by herself, so you can get some proper rest… 
  • Controlled Crying: It sounds simple, but why is controlled crying so challenging to put into practice? Experts from the Millpond Sleep Clinic answer your questions.
  • Bathtime: Bathtime doesn’t have to be difficult. The Supernanny website gives some simple advice to make bathtime bearable.
  • The Reward Chart: Positive attention and praise are the most effective rewards for good behaviour, and the Reward Chart is a useful way to reinforce good behaviour on the spot.
  • Superstars Reward Charts: Saying ‘well done’ to your child is the very best way to promote good behaviour. Download for free one of Supernanny’s ready-made Reward Charts.
  • Forum: Share your toddler troubles and take a look at other parents' tips to keep the kids in bed.

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