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  1. #1
    gatorsmom is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Default How to keep 2 year old in toddler bed at night?

    This might not be the right place to post but I'm at my wits end. My 2 year old has been slowly transitioning to his toddler bed. But he loves his new freedom a little too much. At night, after we go through his bedtime routine, we turn his lights out and tell him to go to sleep. sometimes I stay in his room with him but most of the time he gestures (he's not talking much yet) that he wants me to leave. That's when the party starts. He knows how to turn on the lights in his room and he plays and has a great time. This can go on until 10pm before he feels ready to sleep. Sometimes he falls asleep on his floor and we find him like that- with the lights on, toys all over the place, and him sound asleep in the middle of it all. Occasionally he'll yell for us to get him a drink of milk or water(we keep a gate across his bedroom door so that he can't run around the house at night), but most of the time he's happy as a clam.

    That is, until the next day. He almost always wakes up around 7am and if he hasn't slept enough, he's a grump for the rest of the day.

    I don't know what to do. He is a well- behaved little boy during the day and minds what I say. But how do you discipline a child at night? You can't do a time-out because he won't go to sleep. He'd think that was fun. Normally during the day when I ask him to do something he does it but at night when we turn out his lights (for the fourth or fifth time that night)and ask him to go to sleep, he smiles and says, "Ok" and 2 minutes later goes back to playing. Sometimes, rarely, he will wake up in the middle of the night, turn his lights on, and start to play. ANY SUGGESTIONS???

  2. #2
    mommyj_2 Guest

    Default RE: How to keep 2 year old in toddler bed at night?

    I might be in the minority, but I let my DS play until he's ready to sleep. I play with him, so he's not playing alone, but I don't force him to sleep if he's not tired enough. If your son is sleeping from 10-7, that's already 9 hours. Many two year olds only sleep 8 hour stretches at night. Does your DS take a nap during the day? I've found that getting my DS up a little earlier from his naps will usually let him go to bed earlier at night.
    But, I always remind myself that toddlers are just little people. I don't know any adults who can just go to sleep whenever someone else wants them to, so I don't see why my DS should be expected to do that. I also wake up and get up in the middle of the night sometimes. I don't think your son is purposely being naughty. He might just need some time to play and unwind.
    Do you think you could wait until later to start his bedtime routine, and then put him in his room when he's more tired?

  3. #3
    lizamann Guest

    Default RE: How to keep 2 year old in toddler bed at night?

    I don't force dd to bed either. But sometimes it has taken literally until midnight for her to get tired, so I have started depriving her of her afternoon nap. Then she goes to bed so easily! I have to work hard to keep her entertained and excited all afternoon so she doesn't get snuggly and sleepy on me, but it's worth it to have her go to sleep at night so well. I don't know if this is our long-term solution because I think she still truly needs her nap, but it's what we're doing for now until it stops working.

  4. #4
    gatorsmom is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Default RE: How to keep 2 year old in toddler bed at night?


    Unfortunately, I've thought of both of those things. I am sure my son is not being naughty- he's very good natured and sweet, but he is just so curious and busy! The problem is that he IS tired, but he is fighting it. Even now, at 10pm, I hear him upstairs running around. If I go up there again (for the 6th time) and tell him to go to bed and turn out the lights, he'll give me a kiss, say "ok mama" and climb in bed- until I leave and then he'll get up again, turn on the lights and start to play again.

    He hasn't napped for about 6 weeks. I would really like for him to nap during the day because he use to every day and he's so much more calm and rested when he does, but he won't. I do try - I even put him in his crib, but he just plays in there happily.

    Anyone else have advice? He has an early gymnastics class and he's going to be a bear if he doesn't go to sleep soon!

  5. #5
    lousoz Guest

    Default RE: How to keep 2 year old in toddler bed at night?

    Take this for what it's worth. It's how my friend deals with her "active" child. Her daughter is the 2nd of 4 kids. They haven't had any problems with the other 3 getting to bed, but Leah is her own person.
    The only things she has in her room are a bed, and a dresser ( that is strapped to the wall). The dresser is empty, there are no toys, no clothes, nothing. She sounds like your son, very active mind. They think it's why she has such a hard time falling asleep, her mind is just going a mile a minute. So they took away any and all distractions from her room. She was just recently allowed a stuffed animal to sleep with ( she's five, this has been going on since she was 3) but that's all that's in there except her furniture and pillow.
    It has worked for them. They too had to gate her into her room because she would roam the house otherwise.

    Hope this helps!

  6. #6
    Dcclerk is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Default RE: How to keep 2 year old in toddler bed at night?

    I think this is a good idea. We have a less strict variation at our house, and it helps a lot. All of his clothes are in his room, but virtually none of his toys. He has some stuffed animals, but let's face it, they are pretty boring. And, we have a ceiling fan with a light, so he can't reach the pull cord to turn on the light (I have been amazed at how handy this is-- the fan on in the dark is pretty darn boring, too.) My DS really needs his sleep. He can sleep from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. plus take a 2-3 hour nap. But it can also take him up to an hour and a half to go to sleep each time. (This isn't every day, but certainly isn't atypical.) Thus, we do as much as we can to minimize his interest in the things in his room, and then stay consistent in how long he has to stay in.

    Good luck :)

  7. #7
    gatorsmom is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Default RE: How to keep 2 year old in toddler bed at night?

    As predicted, I went to his room after I finished that last email at 10:15pm and told him sternly to get into bed. Then I turned off the lights, put him in bed, pulled up his covers, gave him a kiss and walked out. He must have been tired because that was the last of it. He was sleeping soon after.

    However, this morning he was a bear. He's in his crib right now and I hear him jumping up and down, singing songs, laughing...I think I might have to do something like what was mentioned above. I don't want to be too strict because my son falls asleep hugging his favorite blankets and stuffed animals. But I really don't think the toys are the problem. THE PROBLEM IS HOW TO MAKE HIM MIND US? During the day I have a well-behaved little boy who does what I ask. He minds me simply because he's disciplined if he doesn't mind me. But how do you make them mind at night? I wish I could ask my mom- my brother and I were the best behaved children (everyone told us so :). but she died a few months ago. Anyone else have any advice? Anyone?

  8. #8
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    Default RE: How to keep 2 year old in toddler bed at night?

    Hmm, I'm not sure whether I agree that this is simply a matter of discipline. My 3 year old has a lot of trouble getting to sleep - it can take him till past 10 to fall asleep and he doesn't even get out of bed and play - he is lying there trying to sleep but he just can't.

    One book that might help is The No Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers by Elizabeth Pantley. She has lots of suggestions for how to help your child go to and stay asleep. I think she also addresses the getting out of bed question.

    I know how frustrating it is to have your child not getting enough sleep. I'm very frustrated myself. The Pantley book is helping but we still don't have a great situation.

    Good luck!

    Laurel
    WOHM to Jack, 6/4/02
    Baby Madeline 12/14/04

  9. #9
    s7714 is offline Ruby level (4000+ posts)
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    Default RE: How to keep 2 year old in toddler bed at night?

    My thought is to remove all the toys from his room, and then try a reward system for him to stay in bed. (If he stays in bed all night he gets a sticker, X number of stickers gets him a special treat, toy, etc.) You said the real question seems to be how to get him to mind you and your DH. I'd suggest getting 1-2-3 Magic from your library or bookstore. It's a pretty popular and good book as far as getting some basic discipline principles established.

    Jennifer
    Mommy to
    Annalia 3/03
    Sophia 6/05

    When raising kids the days are oh so long, but the years are short.--John Leguizamo

  10. #10
    gatorsmom is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Default RE: How to keep 2 year old in toddler bed at night?


    Thanks for the book suggestions. I'll try those. This is very frustrating. He's up there right now having a great time. The reward system won't work because he's just too little right now. If I say he can have a sticker, he'll want it now. He doesn't yet understand "tomorrow."

    As for the basic discipline, the funny thing is, during the day, normally I only have to tell him to do something once. Once is all it takes and he listens and is sweet. But at night, it's like he knows he can get away with it because what are we going to do?

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