Although it isn’t unusual for toddlers to get out of bed, knowing that may not help parents who feel as though they just got their child into bed. So, what’s behind this behavior?
WhatToExpect.com notes how toddlers are often going through big changes in their lives, including in their sleep needs.
As children reach the age of three, they’re often ready to leave their crib behind to sleep in a big bed. So, when your toddler leaves the crib, it may be a statement that they feel as though they’ve outgrown it. If your child is at least thirty-five inches tall, you may decide to make the switch. That said, though, it will be even easier for your toddler to keep getting out of bed, so use baby gates to help ensure safety.
Most Common Reasons Toddlers Get Out of Bed
There are three common reasons most toddlers get out of bed. They are:
- Your child may no longer need a daytime nap
- Their current nap is too long
- Your child may be going through a sleep regression, a normal and temporary interruption in sleep habits
Typically, these types of behaviors happen to children around the ages of two or three, and if your toddler keeps getting out of bed, then, there’s a good chance it’s tied to one of these three reasons.
Find Out Why Your Child Gets Out of Bed
To get to the bottom of your child’s reason, though, it can help to find out if they are experiencing any bedtime fears, says a baby sleep specialist. Explore those in the daytime, she suggests, and reassure your toddler that no monsters are hiding in the closet or under the bed.
Remind your child that you’re nearby and will come to them if they call out. Then, establish nighttime rules in upbeat ways, promising a treat in the morning when they stay in bed during the night. These treats can range from stickers to a trip to the park. Reinforce positive sleep behaviors with hugs and praise as well.
Some children, MetroParent.com shares, respond well to special alarm clocks that turn color—usually to green—when it’s time to get out of bed. This gives toddlers a sense of control, a feeling of knowing when it’s okay to get out of bed.
Keep These Items Out of Your Child's Bedroom
Avoid energy-efficient blue lights in nightlights, though, the National Sleep Foundation recommends, because that color can promote alertness—the opposite of the effect you want to achieve. This is also why televisions and tablets should be off limits when bedtime approaches: they have blue wavelengths that stimulate awareness. Surprisingly, red lights have a calming effect on the body that can lead to a better night’s sleep.
Not every toddler responds to the same methods, ChildrensMD.org notes. So, choose one that fits your family’s circumstances and stick to it for a while. Make exceptions for unusual circumstances—such as when a child is sick or has experienced a transition in life—but, in general, be consistent and persistent to see the best results.
If you’re still struggling to find the right techniques, reach out to your pediatrician. In rare situations, a child may have a medical condition that makes it difficult to sleep or they may be experiencing nightmares or night terrors. Do what’s right for your child!