To get your toddler to sleep in their own bed, firstly plan a date when you’re going to start. Decide on a day it’s going to happen. And make the idea fun for your toddler. Perhaps buy a new duvet cover and cosy sheets. Plan a reward – like their favourite breakfast in the morning – for sleeping all night in their own bed. And plan a special treat if they sleep in their own bed five times in a row.

Secondly, help your toddler picture sleeping in their own bed. And the trick here is to ask lots of questions. So ask:

  • What day are you going to start sleeping in your own bed all night?
  • Why is that a good idea?
  • Yes – it means we won’t disturb each-other rolling over and making noises in the night. So we’ll all sleep better.
  • And why do we need to sleep well?
  • Yes, so we can be happy and play and work during the day.
  • If you’re in your own bed, how do you think you’ll feel if Mummy and Daddy aren’t with you?
  • And how will you deal with that?
  • What will you do to go back to sleep if it’s still night time?
  • How will you remember not to call out or come in our room?
  • And what reward will you get when you sleep in your own bed all night?
  • And what will you get when you sleep in your own bed for five nights?

You can role-play what it will be like. So get them to pretend to sleep in their bed, pretend to wake up, notice it’s still dark, and roll over and go back to sleep. Then pretend it’s morning!
You could even do a picture storybook. With photos that you take of them in their own bed, Mummy and Daddy in theirs and everybody waking up happy.

Finally be consistent, friendly and firm.
On the date you decide, make sure they use the potty or have a clean nappy, and have a drink of water by their bed.
If they come to your room, consistently just get out of bed without saying anything and guide them back to their bed. –every time.
If they call out, go to their room and just lay them down, say Shhh, Shhh, Shhh, and leave. Even if they haven’t quite slept through all night be happy in the morning. But be extra smiley if they do make it through.
Keep telling them about the longest stretch they managed without waking you up and praise every improvement until they’re sleeping through.

So the 3 tips to help you to get your toddler to sleep in their own bed are:

  1. Plan a date when you’re going to start.
  2. Help your toddler picture sleeping in their own bed.
  3. Be consistent, friendly and firm.

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If you need more than three tips on this – or you’d like to discover the secrets you need to have happy well-behaved, children – please contact me by clicking here. You can arrange a free 20-minute (no obligation) chat to find out if working with me personally (by phone, Skype or face-to-face) would help you and your family. Contact Elizabeth

child behavioural expert
The author:

Elizabeth O’Shea is a parenting specialist child behaviour expert and one of the leading parenting experts in the UK.

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