Sleep deprived Mom needs help keeping toddler in bed at night

Jackie - posted on 01/01/2011 ( 13 moms have responded )

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My 20 month old son transitioned to a toddler bed a couple months ago, however I'm struggling with him staying there. He wakes up and comes into my bedroom numerous times a night. I walk him back to bed, rock and/or sing him back to sleep and he either wakes up as soon as I lay him back in his bed or as soon as I walk out of the room. I don't know what else I'm supposed to do. Finally at about 4:30 or 5 I give in and bring him into our bed just so I can get a couple hours sleep. Any suggestions? Thanks!

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Shari - posted on 01/17/2011

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I did sleep training with my son... and a big thing was me not rocking etc him to sleep but him to learn to fall asleep on his own. He was younger but when he moved into a bed ... i sat by his bed in a chair and gradually transitioned to no talking or contact.... then once he was used to laying on his own without my help falling asleep i moved my chair every few days away from his bed and closer to the door... til i was out of his room. It takes time. Does he have a bedrail? Our son was waking constantly and we realized it was he was falling outta bed but had already removed his bedrail. I just rolled a blanket and tucked it under his sheet... so he had something to bump into. He's 3 and I have removed the rolled blanket only recently. Good luck.

Karen - posted on 01/11/2011

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What about making a little bed for him on your bedroom floor? Practise with him how to quietly go from his room and get into the little bed without waking you up. If he knows he's welcome in your room, he may feel safer and not come in as often. Also, you'll get more sleep since he'll do it quietly.

Paula - posted on 01/11/2011

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we've had the same problem lately with our 2yr old.he has a toddler bed and for the 1st few nights he slept thru the night then he started waking at 2-3am but would crawl into bed with us and go back to sleep.we started laying down with him at bedtime til he fell asleep but again he woke up only to want to stay up.we got him a twin bed,pushed it next to the toddler bed and thats worked so far.he'll sleep until at least 7am.my husband and i take turns laying down with him.not the solution we really wanted but for now its working.

Heidi - posted on 01/07/2011

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You have to consistantly put him back in bed over and over and over and over.....do not talk, do not make eye contact. THe first couple of times you can explain that it is bedtime and he needs to stay in bed. After that, not a word. My oldest daughter did this and it worked, but you have to be consistant. I wasn't even out of the room and she would be out of bed following me. If you don't budge, it will be about three days and you can sleep again. The first night it was four hours, the second night it was two. The third night it was two times and then she didn't try it again for a month. CONSISTANCY!!!

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Melissa - posted on 01/12/2011

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I would agree with all those that say consistency. It's hard work but after a while he will get the hint and stay put. For your husband, on the nights that he has to work the next day I would suggest ear plugs if your son is keeping him awake. My husband works 12hrs shifts and so he sleeps with the ear plugs at the moment because we have an 18mnth old that is up 6 or so times a night....lots of screaming!! And then just get him to take over on some of his days off....however if you both work then ignore my suggestion! Good luck with it :)

LaCi - posted on 01/11/2011

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I've pretty much just gone with cosleeping on the nights I want to sleep a full night. I sleep in his room, next to his bed. Otherwise, I'll lay in there until he falls asleep, crumple a blanket up where I was laying so *maybe* he'll, in his sleepy daze, think I'm still there and I can move to my bed. Usually though, around 3 am he notices that blanket is not mommy, and he wakes me up.

Allie - posted on 01/11/2011

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Can I ask why you moved him to a toddler bed? Because my pediatrician said that you can keep your toddler in a crib as long as the weight limits aren't exceeded or as long as the toddler isn't climbing out (and potentially hurting themselves). I wasn't ready for my son to move to a toddler bed @ 25 months, but thats when he started climbing out. If he wasn't climbing out then perhaps put him back in the crib?

If he is climbing out or you don't want to go back to a crib then: Constancy is key! We just went through this not too long ago... and basically every time he got out of bed we walked him back to his bed and walked out of the room. The minute you decide you don't want to hear him scream and cry because you know its just easier for hold/rock him is the moment when you have to start all over again. I've read several other "mom blogs" and some parenting books and this is what I found 'consistent' in everything I've read.

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Just remember it won't be like this forever! Nap when he naps too for extra sleep!

And your husband should try taking over a few nights to let you get some sleep, your poor pregnant body needs it!!!

Jackie - posted on 01/05/2011

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Its hard cause I struggle to get some sleep for myself and to allow my husband to sleep undisturbed. I guess I will just need his help and understanding with this a little bit that he's not going to get to sleep either if we are going to break this habit. I was going get the baby gate cause I know it's only a matter of time before he doesn't come directly to me. Thanks for the advice! :-)

Brianna - posted on 01/04/2011

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well you gotta stick to ur guns. when he wakes dont talk to him just put him back into bed he will probably keep getting up but u need to just keep putting him back. u can either sit in his room or outside the doorway until hes asleep. also i would invest in a babygate for his bedroom doorway so he cant walk around the house at night. good luck hope this helps

Jackie - posted on 01/02/2011

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Thank you! I thought about putting his bed next to ours but not sure my hubby will go for that LOL. I'm going to try and stick it out this week and not bring him into bed at all and see if I start to make any headway. I'm expecting baby#2 June 3rd so i'd like to have a little more control over this by then when I'm really not sleeping a wink LOL!

Amy - posted on 01/02/2011

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My son was easy. My daughter...not so much. She pretty much did the same thing. What FINALLY worked for us was one of those gingerbread rice toys. We warmed it up in the microwave - 30 seconds - and she snuggled warm with it. If she woke up at night I told her to stay there, I'd go warm it up. Half the time, I'd take it to the microwave, go pee and then when I went to take it up, she was either asleep or just took her toy and I said goodnight. Took way less time than my rocking her. I may have problems with my son, I don't know yet. He's in a crib, but we just took the side off to get him used to there not being a side. A big boy bed will be in a couple months. I would for sure stop bringing him into your bed though. He should think sleep=my bed. Not mommy's. Or he's going to start asking to go in your bed at 3am, 1am, when he goes to bed at night. Could turn bad if you don't want him in your bed all the time. Even when my daughter was having trouble, i had a chair by her bed and i sat in it and held her hand and told her she should stay in her bed and stay warm. Wait until he's potty training and "has to pee" every four seconds so he doesn't have to sleep. lol. Oh, the adventures of motherhood. Hopefully something works so you can get some sleep.

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