What is the best way to encourage your child to stay in bed all night?

It's one thing for the occasional nightmare to drive little ones back to mom and dad's room, but another thing when it's a nightly migration. How do you help your pre-schooler stay in bed through the night?

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26  Answers

4 14

I read your post and I have read similar other posts while dealing with this same issue myself w/triplet boys... I have to say, that with everything I have read, and how I feel as a mother, I am not worried about it. I decided that the boys will grow out of this behavior on their own. I don't think its terrible that they want xtra comfort or snuggle time in the middle of the night for whatever reason. Our bed is big enough to house everyone and I enjoy the snuggle time too... there will come a time when they won't come to you or want to be snuggled and I have chosen, based on numerous posts, to enjoy this time, even if it is a little difficult, because it will go by quickly and there will come a time when I can't get it back and will miss it which by the way is already happening without my pushing it. Out of 3 boys, I lately only have 1 who climbs into bed with us. My suggestion, is to stop worrying about it. Let it be. Look at it as a good thing instead of a bad thing and enjoy the cuddles. They grow up soon enough and then you will be wishing that you had that time back...

35
0 20

I totally agree with you Dawn. They are only young once so enjoy it while you can. I have four boys, my oldest seventeen and my youngest being 5. My oldest spent many nights in my bed and has turned out just fine. I believe if your children need that comfort give it to them cause it is over before you know it.

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30 1

Dream Dates!! I actually started this with my 5yr old when she was having to spend overnights with her father and step-mother. She would freak out something awful!!! I started doing Dream Dates with her and she was able to calm down and be excited to go to bed. Its very easy!! Arreange something fun to do that you can meet in your dreams and do it. We've done sporting events..theme parks..hot air baloon rides..picnics in the park..swimming at the beach..tons of fun stuff. My 12yr old started joining us too..becuz he was hearing my daughter's stories about the fun Dream Dates. Now all 3 of us get together for Dream Dates..and the best part is..she has no more problems going to bed!!! Occasionally she has a hard time falling asleep..for that the pediatrician recommended Melatonin. We don't use it very often..but it comes in handy and really helps on those tough nights. Good luck =)

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0 27

What a great idea! I'll definitely try this. Thanks!

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4 3

I let them know that they need to stay in bed and sleep until the sun comes up. If it's dark they can get up and go potty but otherwise they need to stay in bed. This is something I have done with them since my oldest was 2 1/2 and it's always worked. Of course, during summer months it's harder since the sun rises so early, but at least nighttime keeps them sleeping soundly. It gives them a schedule and a constant rule

2
30 31

It is tailored psychology... the only thing that will work is what the child places 'stock' in - what they really believe will be good for everyone etc... We've explained to our now 4 year old that her bed is made for her and we cannot fit in it - that is why she has this bed! That usually gets her out of our bed at night and happily marching to her own bed that is made for her. Sometimes of course, that did not work - even though she is more logical than most.

There was one night when she was about 2.5 that she would not stay in bed, not stay in her room - nothing. She was 'putting her foot down' - so we reacted. Daddy threatened that she would have to sleep in the car if she did not stay in her bed at night - and 'followed through' when she defiantly went back to her toys and told us NO she was not going to do that. Daddy sat on the porch and retrieved her after exactly five minutes and all we have to do is mention - 'do you want to sleep in YOUR car bed, or in the car outside?' And she snaps to attention and gets in her bed, pulls up the covers and asks for a story to be read.

Every child is different. Some are too sensitive for that and others are so wild that would not phase them one bit. We knew, based on her rule-following, logic and her own belief that there are 'brown bears' outside in our fifteen acres of woods...and that cars and houses protect you from 'brown bears'... that she would respond well AND not be scared out of her mind at the same time. That night she marched back into the house with only a few tears and stomped into her bed - and slept... And it is so much better than fighting and tears every night. The only hitch? She tells US we need to get in our beds, and to get in the car outside when it is dark because brown bears will eat us. Oh well... there are worse things!

2
0 11

For the same good reasons others have posted here about not minding, or even enjoying the sneak-in-snuggle-time, I allowed it with my son, assuming, surely he'd grow out of it. Warning to you who think the same; my 5th grade son is a "normal"-typical great kid. --But if I allowed it, he would STILL be coming in and wanting to sleep in my bed. Just an FYI. :-)

1
0 29

and for moms who actually want that snuggle time, isn't that an awesome thing Wendy? :) I'd love to have that with my kids, though my husband would think different :p

1 22

Starting several months ago, our (now) almost-4-year-old began falling asleep in our bed - I'd take the two girls (5-1/2 & 6-1/2) to their room and my husband would stay with him so that I could read to the girls. We'd move him to his bed around 10 and then he started coming back. He comes in so quietly & closes the door behind him, then gets between us and falls asleep silently - many times I'm completely unaware that he's there... Truth is, I would *love* for him to stop coming to our bed at night. I think it's better for us and better for him. As he is my 6th child and I've never had this issue with any of the others, I don't think it's something that I'm doing. Maybe it's the fact that I'm so tired that I don't notice that he's there, whereas when some of the other kids would try to crawl in, I'd haul them back to their rooms... In any case, I agree with Dawn. It may not be worth the battle. Perhaps it's just better to let it pass on its own.

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27 4

I have yet to figure this out. I started doing the No Cry Sleep Solution, It worked until he turned four. He is an only child. I think his little brain thinks mommy and daddy get to be with each other and I have no one. I would put him back to bed immediately. It started to wear on me at work, then I let him fall asleep, and place him back to bed. This too started to wear on me. Then I started thinking I have very little time with him and I NEED SLEEP so he finally wore us down. I needed sleep in a bad way. I work with other people's children and I needed to be there mentally for them too. Now he is almost five and he is breaking this habit on his own. I am sleeping now. Every once in awhile he will come in . I missed my sleep and am glad I have it back. We do scare the "monsters" out every night we say the shema and let him know g-d is protecting us and he has a night light. I just have a few more coming into our bed before he is too big. Time passes so quickly.

1
0 34

Our only child, who is 5, tells us she thinks it's not fair that she has to sleep alone when Daddy and Mommy don't have to. She tells us she's lonely at night. So yup, we're still figuring this one out.

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40 20

My daughter is 5yrs old and she has been in her own room for the past 2yrs and I can't get her to stay there. I have tried putting her back to bed whenever she comes over but t ends up with her crying(screaming) and disturbing the entire household and I end up extremely tired from getting very little sleep for weeks on end. I have tried making her bedtime routine last a little longer (so she could spend more time with me alone while she's awake) and she still ends up in my bed. I've completely given up hope that she would spend the night sleeping in her bed , I literally go to sleep n make sure that there's enough room on my bed so she won't wake me when she comes over.

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11 22

This can be a real challenge. Kids sometimes feel alone and want someone to snuggle with :). We had a hard time getting the kids to sleep, but rooming them together can make a big difference! An other great idea is an extra big bed. So in the case of a bad dream you have some extra room for them next to you. We have our bed and put a twin size mattress next to it. It works well and we all sleep better. A great bedtime routine is very important too! We put the pjs on, brush teeth and then have a story. What also can help them settle in is their favorite stuffed animal! In addition limiting bright lights and especially tv in the evenings may also helped them sleep much better. I know this is not easy, but it gets better, once you found a routine, you all like :).

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1 12

Great question! I'd love to have some more advice, I've tried everything with my children from night lights to sleeping a little while with them in their own bed. But no matter what, they usually end up in our bed my morning...We have a pretty good bedtime routine that is consistent, the only thing is that now the routine ends with them continually asking if they can sleep in "Mom and Dads' bed" and then turns to crying and tears from the answer "No." I hate having such a great bedtime routine end with tears and crying and me at the end of it so stressed out. Any great "Mother tested" ideas appreciated...

1
0 0

If you're consistent night after night at the end of your routine about not sleeping in mom and dad's bed, the tears should subside. Another thing you could do (if you end up giving in anyway) is tell them they can't sleep in your bed but they can sleep on the floor. We did this for my 3 yr old son this summer. He brought his blankets in a couple of times to lay on the floor but always ended up going back to his own bed before he even fell asleep. He also went through a phase where he liked sleeping on the floor of his own room and we let him b/c we didn't see the harm in it. For a few months now he's even abandoned that idea and sleeps in his bed. Another tactic that has worked really well if he comes out of his room after going to bed is to ignore him. The first few times I had to ignore him for about 20-25 min. (it was HARD!) but he eventually went back. After doing that a few nights in a row he stopped coming out. There were some nights when even that didn't work or the amount of time he was staying up was out of hand so we tried other tactics those nights.

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5 0

I love our good nite night light!!!! its a moon at bed time and turns into the sun when its ok for your child to get out of bed.

1
0 5

My daughter recently got a night time turtle. The shell has cut-outs for the moon and stars. When you put it on, a light shines through the cut-outs and the moon and stars are reflected on the ceiling. The light is on a timer and I think stays on for about 30 minutes. My daughter loves this turtle and it gives off just enough light for her to see her immediate surroundings and not be as afraid at bedtime.

16 0

tell him or her that if he/she doesn't stay in bed he/she would have problem with his/her bf/gf in future...

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52 0

i let my boys witch are 4&5 in my bed til my 5year old started school he said he was a big boy and needed to be in his own bed there for his brother then whent into his bed to :) i loved having them in my bed as i got to sleep the full nite plus we would have dvd mornings :)

0
0 6

I'm a mum of four. Boy 12, boy & girl twins 5, and boy 2 yrs old. With my eldest, I made a special time during the day to have our " alone time" where we'd do something fun together. I then explained that , at night time,,it's Daddy and I's alone time. If he doesn't give us our alone time, then I'd be to tired to have my alone time with him the next day. With the twins, I just simply never allowed them in our bed, & went to their room to comfort them instead. I find consistancy is the key with kids. If you allow it once, then you dont stand a chance. They still woke up alot though. But eventually I decided to keep them so active in the day, with either dancing/ soccer / swimming etc. that they were too exhausted to wake up at night anymore. Worked SO,well! But let me not speak too soon, cos baba still in our room, but in his own cot. It'll be time for him to move out soon, so let's see how that goes. On holiday he slept in the kids ' room, & now he doesn't call me at night anymore, but calls his 5 yr old sister when he wants water, not that she hears him, but anyway..let's hold thumbs for the big move...

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0 3

I really don't see the need in wanting to keep them in their own beds.. My daughter is going to be 5 years old the end of feb. and she falls asleep in her own bed by herself... we check on her every few minutes..so we tell her anyways. She always ends up in our bed no matter what we tell her. I've come to the conclussion they are only children once in their life...I'd rather be able to wake up in the morning and cuddle a little before getting out of bed. It's just one more memory my daughter and I will have once she grows up..

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0 13

When my son was 2 1/2 yrs old, out of no where he started getting out of his big boy bed and coming into our room. I would get up and walk him back, however this would go on a few times a night and I was getting exhausted. I finally decided that I could not keep going on like this and neither could he as he was not getting his proper sleep either. I brought the crib mattress(which had been stored away) into our room and placed it on the floor. For 1 year and a half he slept there, no more getting up in the night. We all slept so soundly. When he was around 4 we had his room redone and decided to use this as a time to redirect him back to his room. It worked! He still gets up from time to time but nothing like it had been. When he does get up now I walk him back to his room and he goes right back to sleep and stays there.

0
0 0

OK, my sons, triplet boys, also migrate to my bed in the middle of the night. I was watching Dr. OZ the other day and he was talking about the pituary gland in the center of the brain that controls aging (the growth hormone gland) and that how it slowly depletes as we grow. One of the best way to slow the depletion is SLEEP so he suggested an eye mask to block out the lights which will allow you to go into a deeper sleep. Well, I decided that the nightlight in the bathroom might be the reason my family is not sleeping well so I shut the door and put another one in the kitchen (still allowing enough light to get around in the dark but not enough to interfere with our sleep). 2 nights in a row, all slept through the night SOUNDLY IN THEIR OWN BEDS. Let's see what happens tonight!!

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0 0

Yeah, 3 nights in a row! Didn't come into my bed until around 6:00 and we were getting up in 15 min anyway!!

0 0

I have twin boys who are now 4 1/2. They were woeful sleepers from day one and when they were toddlers they got up and came into us often more than 10 times at night. It took a long time to perfect but we have it fairly sussed now. For the last hour before bed we try to make 'quiet time' we read or make simple jigsaws etc together. When they go to bed we give them a hot water bottle for their feet, for some reason it keeps them lying down before initially falling asleep. We also have a reward system. They earn stickers for every night they don't get up, they need 5 stickers out of seven nights and they win a kiddy magazine, if they stay in bed all 7 nights they win a small toy €5 value or so. Also pick a bedtime and stick to it, bang on 8.30 my kids are in bed, any change in this, no matter how small seems to unsettle them. Of course this doesn't always work perfectly however with persistence my boys only get up once or twice a month!

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23 69

After reading I've got a few things to try! Thanks everyone for the suggestions! Btw I'm getting my circle of mom's time in while I lay in my bed and my daughter lays in her bed (in her own room)! She doesnt mind being in her room alone she just doesnt wanna be left upstairs alone. This seems to be working but sticks cause this is the only time I have with my hubby and he of corse wants to relax on the couch watching tv.

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26 33

Justine, I may have a solution for you on that one, bring the baby monitor back out, explain to her that you can hear her on it, so its really not such a big deal to be downstairs. It worked for my daughter, hope this helps :)

18 25

With my oldest when he was 2 (hes now 6) when we were expecting another baby.... when he would wake up i would get up with him and take him back to his bed and sing a song.... he started to stay in bed by himself until the baby came and would be up alllllll night. So i think if i kept up with it and our second didn't have issues during the night it would have been successful....now both my kids come in my bed around 1 am we are expecting our 3rd im thinking of trying that routine again because with this they at least get a little comfort in with still staying in their own beds

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51 19

Dd is almost 4 and we were at the end of our tether.She's always been a great sleeper generally and moved to her own room a year and a half ago, then 4mths ago she refused to go to bed and had us up every 2-3 hours before waking at 6. We tried everything and when it comes to bedtime we have always been consistent and firm. Even tried putting her to bed half an earlier which has worked in the past when we have had a winter change of clock times...not this time.
So anyway, the result is we have gained a combined sewing/guitar/toy room. Extra living space that each of us use - YAY! and DD has her bed in our room as it is large enough. We used the reward system at the start but that was to ensure we got some sleep and Im not sure we even needed it. It works for us.

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0 20

While I enjoy some snuggle time with my daughter who currently does this, I just can't get a good night's sleep when she is in our bed or I'm in her bed. We started a sticker chart that every night she stayed in bed all night she got to pick one of multiple stickers we have and put it on her chart. When she had 10 stickers, we got to buy a little prize. It really motivated her! Not every night at first but it's getting much better! I told her if she really needs me to call "mommy" since we still have monitor, and I will come in. She usually goes right back to sleep when I get in her room and I can usually leave within five minutes. However, whole this worked wonders foru daughter, I don't think my son would have been motivated by stickers. But worth a try!

15 8

We're dealing with this too with our 2,5 yr old. My husband and I had already started talking about a way to get him out of the family bed and into his own bed but when I became pregnant again this became priority- with the belly, aches and pains, added pillows etc- plus mommy and daddy wanted SOME time before the baby arrived. It was very difficult for ME mentally and even physically for my son to sleep in another room. Aside from the side way sleeping, I really did enjoy him being in bed with us- I slept better with him there. BUT we didn't want him to feel like the new baby was the reason he was going to his own bed so we started the transition early. It's been a few months and we still lay down with him until he falls asleep (and sometimes we fall asleep in there too) but I honestly thought he would be ready to actually GO to bed by himself by now. We've always had a routine but it's not getting any easier!! Once he goes to sleep he does pretty well until "the sun comes out" and he brings his pillow to bed with us (and I'm ok with that) but there is still the occasional middle of the night "mommy?" as he's coming to our room.

I started researching advice and tips and found we already did a lot of what they recommended
-Getting him involved in picking out his big boy bed. He even got to use his tools to help daddy put it up (and set the crib up for his baby brother)
-Picking out his special bedding (Hello THOMAS!)
-Routine and story time
-Praising him for sleeping in there all night
But one thing I haven't tried but am starting ASAP is a star chart for actually getting him to GO to sleep by himself with a reward (Umm more Thomas trains!)

Wish us luck! Baby won't be here until May but the sooner the better because I don't want him to relapse when the baby comes.

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14 11

I need help in this too. I'm a single mom ao I don't have anyone in bed with me so mydaughter sleeps with me every night. Ive tried everything and she is so scared. She goes into this mommy why are you leaving me scream. She asks me now if I'm leaving her because of me trying to get her to sleep in her room. Soooo heart breaking! So I don't try anymore. We just snuggle up every night together in my full size bed. :/

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9 25

I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one. I thought I was doing something wrong. He used to got to bed with no problem. We'd make a "fort," read a story and lights out. Now, he finds every excuse to get out of bed. Sometimes, he ends ip sleepin with me because he wears me down by 11pm. I have to get up at 5am to get ready for work. I'm utterly exhausted. I've tried wearing him out, letting him watch a 30 min cartoon to wind down, lights on, lights off, door open, door closed and door locked. The locked door just has him screaming all night. If I could get some rest through the tears, I would suck up the visceral sadness that comes from his fearful crying. But I'm having hot flashes and night sweats from being peri-menopausal on top of it all. So, I can't even stay asleep once I'm out. Because of all of this, I just don't have the energy to fight. I'm ready to check into a hotel with a couple of Ambien before I lose my mind! So, any helpful advice on this great question may save my life. Lol

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0 8

Hi, im a single stay at home mom. Well not for much longer getting ready to start a part time job. As a mom of a 3 year old, Bella who has her own room and her own big girl bed, is finding some difficulty keeping her in bed all nite. We never really have an issue getting to bed or getting ready for bed with a nice bedtime routine. Getting pjs on, brush teeth, read bedtime story, and say prayers. I've read a few articles in the past about tv at nite keeping children awake. I never really lead to believe that seeing that that used to be the only way to get her to sleep at nite. Is now maybe finding an issue with it being on and keeping her awake. Some nites she picks out a movie after our routine I put it in and turn the volume really low and she's out like a light. Im now finding myself having to threaten her and act on turning the movie off if she doesn't stay in bed. Is that the cause of keeping her from staying in her bed all nite and staying asleep all nite? And she's never really been the greatest sleeper since she was a new born.

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1 0

I am 7.5 months pregnant and cannot keep my toddler in his bed, any suggestions, I guess maybe staying up all night n keeping him in bed? I am on disability and at home all the time right now but so tierd from pregnancy, and nauseated all the time( hense the disability) HELP, DESPERATE IN TEMECULA!!!!!!

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13 16

I have the ritual down. Bath, teeth snuggles and bedtime. I lay on the floor in my son's room till he falls asleep. But he always ends up with me by the morning. It took a while just to get him to go to sleep in his room so I am happy about that but how do I keep him in there. He is only 2

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14 15

hi there, im jt gting to encouraging my five year old to slep in his owe bed...i do it by saying that i need my space and that he is a big boy nw so he shuld do big fings like his older cuziez ...so far so gud and becuse i hve other yunger kids i say the same to them too bt they stil cum in my bed nw and then bt nt all the time, so for me i encourage them all at the same time so one dosent feel lft out, bt in saying that my older one starts gting cheeky bwt it to the othas so i dnt no if thats a gud thing or nt??? bt thats wat im doing so far it seems to wrk bsides that one fing?????

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