Do you have a toddler who likes to come visit you in the middle of the night and either climb into bed with you and wake you and your hubby up, or ask for something to eat, drink or simply ask you something as silly as “why does Santa wear black boots”?
Toddlers are funny and smart! It can be so irresistible to go along with their requests or questions and engage them but the truth of the matter is, they should be catching their zzzz’s not asking the meaning of life and/or disrupting the rest of the family. There is also something very special about scooping them up and having them cuddle in next to you- after all, there isn’t a stronger love or greater feeling than snuggles with your little angel!
A full night and uninterrupted sleep is vital for optimal sleep health and a feeling of being 100% well rested. Toddlers need this!
So, what do you do when your toddler shows up in your room? Well, there are a couple options. My first recommendation is to simply walk them back to their room with minimal interaction and tell them “it is still sleepy time”. Keep it short, sweet and do not entertain any of their requests (asking for cereal, for milk, or to get all their toys to join tem in the bed….). I would only give them a sip of water if you genuinely feel they are thirsty. Toddlers love to push the boundaries and to see what kind of attention they can get. If it is positive or negative attention they still eat it up!
Another option is to work a little bribery magic. (I know, I know…but it sure does work!). Here is what I suggest:
Purchase them a GRO clock and make a big deal of it during the day. Show them that at night the stars and moon are out and when it is time to get up they will see a nice big sun! Let them know that they are not to get out of bed until they see the sun!
Also introduce a rewards chart (over the age of 3 is when they typically really understand the concept and I also advise keeping your little one in a crib until 3 anyway).
Pin it up on their wall and buy them col stickers and tell them they will get a sticker or a Smartie (I know, I know…sweets but it won’t last forever!) when they stay in their bed and wait for the sun each night. After 4 stickers they will get a “X” (- maybe a new car or toy they have wanted, a trip out for an ince-cream cone or a special breakfast of waffles or something they ADORE.
How long the process of change will take depends on how strong your child’s need is to be with you during the night – she may feel that you are a much better prize than any toy you could offer – and isn’t it glorious to be loved so much? Stick to your guns and be CONSISTENT and you will have a happily sleeping toddler in their bed for the whole night.
Good luck and sleep well!