how do you get your 2 1/2 year old to stay in her room at bed time? She keeps coming out...45 mins. later she is sleeping...what to do?

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Anke - posted on 01/06/2009

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Tell me what helped for ur daughter! We have the same prob with our 2 year old son,

We always do the same ritual and tell him when bedtime is coming soon, but since a few weeks its getting mo + mo worse + at least he makes a fun out of it standing at the baby gate upstairs waiting 4 us 2 come again and didnt even stay IN his bed when we were there! It took us about 1 1/2 hrs. For now we stay beside his bed only when he lies in there and since 3 days he accepted it and sleeps within 10 - 20 mins, thats ok 4 now as we didnt want it 2 be more worse and he have sth from the evening again, but for longer time I want him 2 fall asleep alone in his bed. So please tell me what u do and ask if u want 2 know anything more!

[deleted account]

child-proof doorknobs!!  they work wonders!!  the first few times she will probably scream, but if you can get through the screaming and crying and freaking out, it will be WELL worth it!!  we had to do this with my 2yo this past summer - she freaked out and "panicked" the first couple of times, but then she just got used to the idea... now she knocks on her door and calls to us when she's ready to get up in the mornings and at naptime... I'm almost ready to let her try going back to normal again! :)

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Efi - posted on 01/12/2009

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make a bed-time routine.With my sons (5 and 3 years old) we say a story at first and then a simple prayer.After we put them to bed, the little one used to get up every 5 min.Every time we used to pick him up,put him to bed and said to him it's time to go to sleep.The first night did it at least 15 times but the next night was less and in 2 weeks he stopped it.

Kerri - posted on 01/07/2009

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With our 2 1/2 year old this did not become a problem until his little brother arrived.  Before that, his bedtime routine was always the same, as we had learned that consistency is the way he deals the best with change.



It took many many attempts, with a stern voice, little eye contact, and no lovey dovey antics...saying "Bedtime is bedtime, stay in your bed"



But he learned, through us being consistant with it that bedtime is not up for debate. 



All toddlers deal with things differently.  They test the waters right along with our patience.  As the other posters have shared, bedtime rituals paired with consistancy normally does win in the end.



Just keep in mind, you won't see this happen in one nights time.  It takes a few nights but you should start to see you're heading in the right direction.



Good luck.

Angie - posted on 01/07/2009

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Hi there! I just went through this with my two year old. I tried all the suggestions below, everything from books, talked to my pediatrician...literally EVERYTHING. It wasn't until a week ago (after 2 months of this with no improvement) that it occured to me she might be afraid of the dark. I know this sounds silly, but 3 night lights later, not only is she staying in her room at night; she's no longer waking up in the middle of the night either. Good luck!

Kim - posted on 01/07/2009

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I have a 3 and 4 year old and battled with this for a while. The main thing is you have to be consistent. Everytime they get up, you take them back to their bed. It finally got the point where my husband had to be firm with them and eventually they quit.

Nicole - posted on 01/06/2009

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We always had a good routine, but when we moved and trasitioned her to a toddler bed at the same time I think it was too much.  We tried putting up a gate and that helped, but at one point she got smart and just started climbing it (figures).  Then after trial and error, we ened up with reading 2 stories (only 2!), letting her have the books to read to herself (we just read the books so now she can read it to her dollies in her bed), putting on sleepy music (our favorite since she was a baby is Disney Lullaby Album), and if she wants it a night light (from Ikea, it is square shape and makes swirly lights so it's fun).  I let her make decisions about the routine too (would you like music on or off, do you want the night light, which friends do you want in bed with you).  Then we say the magic words and I turn off the lights.  I leave the door open about 6 inches and say I'm going to leave the door just like this ok? and she will tell me ok, a little more or a little less.  On days when she has trouble I ask her what she is going to dream about so I can meet her there in her dreams (Lets go to the beach and go swimming to gether in our dreams.  Ok, go to sleep so I can meet you there!). 



Keep in mind, though trial and error you will find the best routine for you, but I hope something in her helps.  Good luck!! :o)

Michelle - posted on 01/06/2009

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i have a 2 year old that does that you just have to keep persisting and when she does stay in bed tell her how big she is and how you are so proud of her we done that and she does nt get out of bed any more hope you get it sorted

Natalie - posted on 01/06/2009

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I read to my 2 1/2 year old and then I rock him for about 15 minutes. I let him have a small car in his bed to keep his attention. This usually keeps him in his bed. Sometimes I do have to lay with him, but I don't do it tell he falls asleep because that becomes a bad habit. I have to lay with my 4 year old until she falls asleep.

Valarie - posted on 01/06/2009

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I AGREE WITH CHANDRA AND ALSO BEING A MOTHER OR THREE WHAT ALWAYS WORKS IS BEING PERSISTANT CHILDREN KNOW YOUR WEAKNESS AND WHEN YOUR TIERED YOURSELF SOMETIMES ITS HARD BUT KEEP LETTING HER KNOW THATS ITS BEDTIME AND WHAT BEDTIME IS ABOUT WITH A FEW NIGHTS OF PRAISE AND CONSISTANCY SHE WILL BE ASLEEP IN NO TIME!!!!!! GOOD LUCK GIRL

Mary Anne - posted on 01/06/2009

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We had the same problem. Our pediatrician suggested that we keep with our consistent routine, not give into the inevitable manipulations. Be matter-of-fact and say "it's time to sleep now." The 1st time she comes out is a freebie. The 2nd time she comes out is a warning that the door will lock. The 3rd time, the door locks. Yes, you have to reverse the doorknob and it does seems very cruel. It worked for us in a matter of a few nights. There was a fair amount of screaming and of course you don't leave the kid locked in there indefinitely. We would check on our son if it got frantic or he claimed to have to use the bathroom. The door got unlocked when it was quiet in there and 9/10 times he's asleep by then. I know this sounds medieval, but it was the 1st response from a very well respected doctor. Good luck!

Karen - posted on 01/06/2009

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You have to keep putting the child back in bed .no talking or playing while you do it.Everytime the child comes out you take her back. when you put her to bed for the first tme have a few moments just for the two of you reading or just having a hug, you will be surprised what a few moments of your time will do

[deleted account]

This may sound barbaric, my friend did it, she put those child things that go over the door handle that you have to squeeze and push on the gray buttons to open. it only took a month but that worked and she took it off.

Miranda - posted on 01/06/2009

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This past August I started working at our church Mother's Day Out program. I keep the Crib classroom which is children 9 months old to 24 months old. One of the best tools we found at this age is to give the kids a small flashlight if they have trouble going to sleep. We use it mainly if they wake up early from naptime. They get a flashlight as long as they lie quietly in bed. I was shocked how well it worked for them. A small kid-friendly flashlight (obviously a fairly dim one) might be sometime worth trying. My son is 4 now and I let him keep a little lantern by his bed (battery operated, uses a tiny low watt bulb). For him it's a security thing, and after he goes to sleep I turn off the lantern and leave the nightlight on. He loves it!! And it worked like a charm to keep him in bed.

Lisa - posted on 01/05/2009

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Lock the door from the oustside! Make sure the room is safe of course but this is what works with my 3 year old.

Dana - posted on 01/05/2009

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It really takes A LOT of patience. We have a bed time routine and still some nights it takes sitting outside her door actually holding the door shut. The best way is to actually put them back in say good night and walk out. You may have to do this 50 times for a week before you start seeing the results. The nice part is that once it works life gets much easier (at least until they get sick and you have to start all over).

LaDonna Burnett - posted on 01/05/2009

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My youngest child who is now 11, used to do the same thing. She stopped when I allowed her to tuck everyone in at night. My oldest child would go to bed, and my husband and I would pretend to go to bed and she would tuck everyone in and give good night kisses, then she would go to bed. She felt that she was the last person up at night and wasnt missing anything because everyone else was in bed. I would stay in the bed for about 10 minutes and sneak to check on her. Most of the time she just laid in her bed and drifted off to sleep. This lasted a few months and she eventaully started going to bed when asked.

Nichole - posted on 01/05/2009

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I know this sounds horrible and believe me I had a hard time doing this, but with my oldest daughter Morgan, her Dr. suggested with her -holding the door shut and letting her be able to turn the knob so she knew it wasn't locked but couldn't open the door or lock the door until she fell asleep. Then open the door. He assured me that she would be able to hear me through the door and it would not traumatize her, but that she would soon realize that she would need to go to bed. Have a regular bed time and do not use her bed as time out.

Danielle - posted on 01/05/2009

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When my son was that age, I tried everything to keep him in there. He was just stubborn and wouldn't stay. We ended up putting a baby gate up at his door once we left his room after putting him down. He sure didn't like it at first, but it got him to realize that once we put him in bed, he was to at least stay in his room until morning. Good luck!

Ethel - posted on 01/05/2009

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What we do: Put a baby monitor in the room, out of reach; have a pleasent routine before bed that in addition to stories, tooth-brushing, and lullabies includes the last time to use the potty, the last cup of water for the night, and the last of any other common stalling tactic; and shut the door firmly when we leave.



If bedtime is unpleasent, you could try extra "fun" time in the place where he sleeps outside of bedtime routines. We used this trick to help our daughters lose their lingering sleep anxiety after some very rough months where bedtimes just weren't that pleasant for a while. We just played peek-a-boo with their crib rails (they were pretty young at the time) durig the afternoon for a while each day until they enjoyed hanging out in their cribs again. We found it drastically shortened their going-to-sleep times.

[deleted account]

I fought this for years with my oldest and the only thing that finally worked was putting a loft bed above ours. She falls asleep in minutes now. Many kids just really need to be close to somebody at all times. It's an odd and new cultural thing to force the kids to sleep in a separate room. Do what you find most natural for you. You'll find that it is the best for everyone in the long run. Best of wishes.

Amy - posted on 01/05/2009

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Hi there! This is actually something we have very recently dealt with and are still dealing with. My first two were excellent sleepers, had to do a few of the listed suggestions, but the crib/bed transition was really quite smooth. That was, until my youngest. He is head strong and full of spunk. Honestly, the only thing, and I mean the ONLY thing that has worked (this is after treats, naughty corner, baby gate-he climbed it) and it sounds goofy, but it was "Super Nanny's" advice. First, absolutely make a routine (we have since day one and pre-big boy bed bedtime was a snap). Bath, story, quiet time etc. Each kid is different, so you may want to try something else too, but, if she keeps getting out: first trip, pick her up, tell her it is bedtime, and put her back in bed. Second time, and however many you need after that, take her by the hand and put her to bed. Say nothing. It might take a week, and 5,000 times, but it actually does work, and usually within a couple of days. Just keep your cool and don't make it a game for her. Unless there is something wrong, they are usually trying to get our attention:)

Judie - posted on 01/05/2009

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on a side note: don't get super frustrated if it takes awhile. 2 1/2 is still small, and it's hard to learn to feel comfortable/safe by yourself and not lonely. Children (like adults) like to be with some one else. I have a hard time sleeping when my husband is gone for business. And remember make decisions your family is comfortable with when putting the little one to sleep, but whatever you decide just keep sticking to it, don't change it every night.

Jennifer - posted on 01/05/2009

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My son is 2y4m old, and this hasn't really been a challenge for us. Here's the tip I would offer: you need to be firm and consistent about your expectations. Follow your bedtime routine- bath, lotion, jammies, stories, lullabyes, whatever, then when that's over, it's over. You kiss her goodnight, turn off the lights, and close the door. If she comes out, you gently and firmly take her back in, put her back in bed, and close the door. No drinks of water, no extra stories, no stalling. :-D You may have to do this 10 times the first night, but within a few nights, she'll get the hang of it. If you have to stand outside her door, and nab her as soon as she pokes her adorable little head out, do it.



Remember that putting her to bed is not a punishment, so don't feel bad about this. Be confident that you are doing the right thing for her. She needs to sleep, and you helping her to find her own way to sleeping is a gift that will last her whole life. So, don't apologize and don't back down. It's for her own good, really. Good luck!

[deleted account]

set your routine at the same time every night make a simple picture check list and follow though with a short story and music and a kiss goodnight and reasure the 2 1/2 were you are gonna be and its bedtime and not play time and I love you's. When he/she comes out don't show any emotion and direct them back to bed maybe with a little kiss, put the music back on and keep doing this every night not just for a few night, it could take wks.. then eventually it will correct itself. I feel this is a learned behaviour I've been there and still go through it from time to time with my 9yr old at bed time but my 15 mth old go right to bed and says "bye" but then get up at 11:00 and then right back to bed the same way as I explained. What ever works, hope my suggestion helps. Amy

Rhonda - posted on 01/05/2009

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Make it family time at bedtime. Have storytime and then take to bed and make sure they have a night light so as they can still see and not be afraid.Hugs and kisses help too. My grandaughter has a drink a story and hug and kiss at bedtime and nap time as well. So she knows it is the same all the time.

Chandra - posted on 01/05/2009

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Make bed-time fun and reward her for getting into bed. Also, a good ritual helps. Like a bath, story, and kiss. Make a big deal out of the process and "sell it".

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