It’s a typical night in the early hours of the morning. All appears calm. But before long, you detect the pitter-patter of tiny footsteps. He’s out of bed, and he doesn’t want to return. You are tired and grumpy, but the nightly game of in, out, in, out starts.
After transitioning from a cot to a toddler bed, little ones often wake up in the middle of the night several times.
For most parents, the trouble usually begins when they move their toddler from a cot to a bed between two and three years of age.
It is usual for a toddler who’s just moved from a cot to a big bed to try to get out anyway. They are given a little bit of freedom, and now they want to explore!
Toddlers are often out of bed for just about any excuse under the sun! Go to the toilet, get some water, look for their lost stuffed animal, or to say night night to you for the umpteenth time. I’m sure most parents have heard every excuse in the book!
However, sometimes young children also seek attention because they genuinely need a little help, feeling ill or a creepy-crawly on the wall, or perhaps to use the loo.
Sometimes other factors may also be an issue. Children might unexpectedly experience sleep disturbance or bedtime difficulties after a bereavement or some other cause of stress. Separation anxiety is also prevalent at first, so its best to consider all factors.
Here are some common issues for a child getting out of bed.
- Night terrors
- A wet nappy or needing the toilet
- Being over-tired at bedtime.
What to do when your child gets out of bed? Here are our top tips.
If your toddler won’t stay in bed there are some things you can do. The most important thing is the bedtime routine. Start off the evening the right way.
A simple routine involves:
- A bath
- A bedtime story (Asking them to pick a book can help your little one look forward to bedtime).
- If your child is a little older, they may like to read independently; this might make them sleepy.
- Avoid screen time. (no phones, computers, tablets etc. before bed)
- Avoid loud, boisterous games before bed.
If they get up, try not to get angry or show emotion when they get out of bed. Simply tell your child, “It’s time for bed,” gently take them by the hand, and walk them back to bed.
Hopefully, after a few nights of doing this consistently, they come to terms with it and have stopped trying.
If your child is a little older and does not fall asleep as quickly as first planned, You may be putting your child to bed too early. Try a little later and experiment. Not by too much as you don’t want them to develop bad sleeping habits. If your child takes longer than 30 minutes to fall asleep at bedtime, try changing your child’s bedtime to one that is more conducive to sleep. They could just be ready for a new bedtime!
Before switching off the lights, make sure that your child has done everything and has everything they need that could prevent them from calling out later. Do they have their teddy? Have they got a drink? Have they cleaned their teeth?
Consider using a night-light if it makes your child feel more relaxed. Night lights can help elevate anxiety if your child wakes up. Try to keep anxiety to a minimum.
Tell your child what you expect from them at bedtime.
Remind your little one that they should stay quietly in bed and consider rewarding good behaviour the next day with some stickers or a treat they enjoy.
A good night’s sleep is possible, and the bedtime battle can be a thing of the past if you remain consistent and follow a bedtime routine and try to allay any nighttime fears. However, some bedtime tantrums are usually inevitable when your kid makes the move to a big kid bed. Generally, with time it’s something most children eventually grow out of. You can buy a toddler bed with a bedding set they will love and perhaps encourage them to stay put!