While all parents expect their child to have the occasional restless night, a preschooler who won’t stay in bed can be a serious issue. Some children don’t want to stay in bed, while others refuse to even go. Luckily, there are several tried and tested methods for getting a preschool aged child to stay in bed.
Have a Consistent Bedtime
The key to a good night’s sleep (for you and your child) is structure. A sleep schedule should be enforced strictly. Your child needs to learn that their bedtime is set in stone, and no amount of arguing will change it.
Introduce “Quiet Time”
Quiet time is a period starting an hour before your child’s ideal bedtime where they can unwind. Move your child away from stimulating activities and have them do things that will cause them to settle. Reading a book, or telling a story is a classic way to prepare a young child for bed. Ideally quiet time will take place in your child’s bedroom.
How to Handle a Wandering Child
If your child cries for you or gets up in the night, you need to be strict once more. Reassure the child with a calm voice. Tell them that this is their bedtime and they’ll have plenty of time to play tomorrow. Don’t hug the child or argue with them – you don’t want them to cry for attention in the future.
Reward Good Behavior
When your child stays in bed for a full night, reward them. Your child is unlikely to get up tonight if they will miss out on ice cream tomorrow. Try to avoid using the bedroom as a place of punishment. You don’t want your preschooler to associate going to bed with undesirable behavior.
If you’re persistent with these simple steps, your child will be sleeping the whole night through in no time.