As much we love our children there’s nothing better than when they’re sound asleep. But what do you do when they won’t stay in bed, or continue to call out way after you’ve turned off the light?
Keeping your toddler in bed when they need to quieten down and fall asleep can be tricky, but there a few simple solutions that might help to get that night routine back on track.
Sometimes children get up out of bed or call out because something is wrong such as needing to go to toilet, or being scared or anxious. In these situations you should go to them and offer comfort. If they’re suffering from anxiety you might also want to consult your GP.
However, if your child simply wants to stay up or is wanting you around at bedtime, then you can either try to re-settle or find ways to change the night routine to stop this from happening.
Having a bedtime routine can be very helpful in this situation and is an important part of getting your child to settle and go to bed each night. According to parenting website Raising Children, this consists of doing the same things each night, avoiding loud energetic games before going to bed and also avoiding screen time at least one hour before bedtime.
If your child isn’t going to sleep quickly, you may be putting them to bed too early. It might be more effective to put them down closer to the time they actually fall asleep. When you put the lights out, it can also help to do a quick check to see of they’ve done everything they need to do such as go to the toilet and brush their teeth. And finally let them know what you expect, by saying things like, “It’s time to go to sleep now” and “I’ll come back to check up on you when you’re quiet” and of course, “I Iove you, have a good sleep.”
If your child gets up from bed, try saying something like, “It’s time to sleep. Please stay in your bed”. Then quietly and calmly put your child back to bed. And if they continue to get up, you should continue to put then down until they settle.
If they keep getting up, you could put out a baby gate and say that if they’re good and settle down then the gate can stay open. If not it will have to close. Similarly, rewards charts can help, but only for children over the age of three.
Having some sort of physical barrier is not a bad idea, which is what TikTok mum Taylor discovered. Taylor posted a video of her son opening his bedroom door, obviously getting out of bed when he was supposed to be going to sleep. But the caption on the video clearly explained her idea: “Tip #317 How to use a plastic goose to keep your toddlers in bed”.
We see her son opening the door but Taylor was ready with a plastic goose outside the bedroom. So when he got up, the little boy saw the goose and got such a fright that he immediately retreated and closed the door with a terrified look on his face. A tough approach, yet certainly effective. And funny to watch.
The video attracted a huge response with over over 11 million views. It received 1.5 million likes and nearly 9000 comments. However not everyone agreed with the idea. Many of the viewers felt this might be traumatic for the child, with comments such as, “Isn’t this fear tactic harmful to the child’s emotional well being?”
“It works in the short term,” wrote another. “But in the long term it can do a lot of damage such as causing lack on trust, playing harmful planks on other kids etc.” And yet another commented, “Parents don’t realize the trauma and lifelong anxiety this can cause their children.”
Meanwhile many other viewers thought it was funny and actually a great idea, with comments such as “I will be trying this” and “Brilliant”. One viewer said, “The people in the comments saying that the kids are going to need therapy, you’re effing kidding me right???” Another also said as a response, “My dad did something similar when I was younger and now it’s a funny story.”
If your child is highly anxious maybe the plastic goose isn’t such a good idea. Perhaps talk to your GP or health practitioner instead. But if your child is just continuing to get out of bed for no reason when they’re supposed to be going to sleep, then maybe a little barrier of some sort is enough to break the habit. Anything’s worth a try.
Now where’s that plastic goose?
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