How to Get a Toddler to Sleep in Their own Bed

girl's toddler bed with pink and yellow coverlet

A toddler learning to sleep in their own bed should be an exciting time for the child and the parents. It can also be challenging and frustrating. There are many things that parents can do to make the experience easier:

  1. Prepare ahead of time for the big event: Set a date in the future for the toddler to start sleeping in their own bed. Discuss it with them ahead of time and build it up as a positive “big kid” experience. Make it an ongoing conversation. Ask them on a regular basis what kind of bed they want in their room or what colors they will have in their room.
  2. Allow the child to help pick out their bedroom furniture: The parent can take the child to the store with them to pick out furniture for the room. By allowing the child to be a part of the decision making process, it will help them look forward to sleeping in their own bed.
  3. Nap time in their bed: Have the child take naps in their bed during the day prior to when they will sleep in it at night. This helps the child get used to the idea of sleeping in their bed at night. They will already have the routine established of taking naps so sleeping in their bed at night will be the next step.
  4. Offer encouragement: Parents should reassure the toddler how much they love them. Ask the toddler questions about how they feel about sleeping in their own bed. Their feedback can help parents encourage them more in their big kid venture.
  5. Keep bedtime routines: Even before the child sleeps in their own bed, bedtime routines should be the same every night. Maybe it is a song the parents sing with the child or a book the parent reads or just the time that the parent spends with the child that makes nighttime special. Continue the routine after the child is sleeping in their own bed.
  6. Assure the child that they are not being abandoned: To make the transition easier the parent may want to sleep in the toddler’s room for the first week. The parent can sleep on the floor and have the child stay in their bed. It is important for the child to see the parent there in the morning.
  7. Set boundaries: Set boundaries and at the same time encourage the child when the child cries, gets out of bed or is unhappy about not sleeping with the parents. Be understanding, yet firm. While it may be difficult to listen to the toddler cry, stick to the plan.

It will take effort to get a toddler to sleep in their own bed and there will be setbacks. Praise the child whenever possible and be consistent with establishing boundaries. Sleeping in their own bed is a natural step in the toddler’s life.

Author Bio: Maya Rodgers is the mother of two of young boys who love crafting and bringing her interesting bugs they find in the creek. The boys follow their mother’s footsteps with their interest in bugs and also want to work in pest control at Terminix. Maya enjoys making her family greener and learning new things from her young children.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want toddlers to sleep peacefully.

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  • Marcia Riley October 26, 2015, 5:07 pm

    Try the children’s book, The Pillow Fairy. She comes when you sleep in your own bed-all by yourself. We did this with our kids when they were little, and not only did it work, but it created beautiful memories. http://www.thepillowfairy.net.

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