The sleep team: I know so many people do allow their toddler to sleep in their bed. You are not a bad parent – you are very normal. I am going to talk about steps to entice a toddler and young child (2-5) to sleep in their own bed. One sure way is don’t put them in a bed too early!
1. Reward charts – talk about their success of sleeping in their own bed in the morning and praise. A sticker everyday and then a prize at the end of the week. The prize can be a trip to the park, computer time, their favourite dessert, a movie etc. Charts can be easily made together with your toddler or print one from Google.
2. Walk them back to bed and be firm.
– if they have been coming into your bed, and you need to break this cycle, this will be tough at first so be ready. The first night this may take 10-15 times (walking them back to bed). The first time you must tell them they need to go to sleep and the next time and following times do not say anything, but just put them in bed and walk out. During the night this same process will be necessary. It is best if both parents share this process (one at a time) so the child knows his/her parents are on the same page.
– during the day talk to them about their bed and why they need to sleep there – it is warm and snuggly, you are a big boy or girl, your room is so special, talk about the tooth fairies coming etc.
3. When kids are older (5+) – morning cuddles and possibly going back to sleep can work for some? Just be careful if you start this – again because it will be hard to break – and especially because they won’t be as tired as earlier in the night.