Help with Staying in Bed at Night

Updated on July 08, 2009
L.F. asks from Virginia Beach, VA
7 answers

My son just turned 3 and we've put him in his big boy bed. We're having a problem with him coming out all during the night. He does fine when he goes to bed, but around 1:00am it starts up with him coming out. Not every night is like this, some nights he's only out once, but last night it was every hour on the hour! I resorted to using those doorknob safety devices, but that only made it worse with screaming and throwing things against his door. I could really use some advice.

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answers from Richmond on

My son just turned 3 too and has been in a toddler bed for about 8 months now (he climbed out of his crib - well actually threw himself out of it so that is why we moved to the toddler bed when we did!)! When we put our son to bed we always have "chat time" with him. When he is all cuddled in his bed I know he will listen to me so I have explained to him numerous time that he cannot get out of his bed because it is dangerous. I tell him to yell for Mommy or Daddy and we will come get it but that he is not allowed out of his bed. He has only gotten out a couple of times since being in the toddler bed. Within the last week has started doing it more frequently so we just keep explaining to him to not to do that.

So my advice is to try talking with him when you put him to bed or if that fails, maybe a baby gate across his door so he doesn't get angry with the door being shut and not being able to open it. The gate will keep in his room plus provide the safety of him not wandering throughout your home at night.

Good luck! :)



answers from Washington DC on

I need help as well... my daughter is 19mths and shares a room with her sister, but she still will not stay in there. Any advice will be good



answers from Norfolk on

If i were you I would do exactly what you are doing. It won't be a quick fix but it will fix it. What i also did was leave a monitor in my daughters room so i could hear when she got up. I didn't have door knob covers. There is no happy way to fix this. He just has to learn that he is not allowed to get up at night. You can either just let him yell or come in every so often and lay him down it's night time and time for bed. That is what i did with my daughter. When i heard her getting up at night i would go in and lay her down. I did it every time she got up. He will test you to see if it applies EVERY time he gets up. If your really tired or for some other reason you don't do it he will try harder from than on. Throwing a bigger fit. He will give up. I might take a while and he might revert after a while and try again. But he will give up. We at 6yrs old have finally gotten past the getting up thing. YEA! Good luck



answers from Dover on

I am having that same problem with my daughter who is almost three and a half. I put a request on here for advice but have YET to receive anything (and it's been a week or more). My problem is though, I had one of those doorknob safety things on her door and she was fine with it and stayed in her room with no problems till I cam in and got her up in the morning (she'd just play in her big girl bed till I came in). Well, I actually took the doorknob safety thing off because I soon realized it was a safety issue (I hadn't thought about it until then - it was a good idea at the time). What if there was a fire? She couldn't get out! Plus, we are heavy into potty training her now and she's doing well during the day...we will soon be working on her nighttime routine but I want her to be able to go if she has to. SO, there's my story and I am in the same boat as you are. I hope you gt some responses so I can read yours because I have yet to get anything for mine. Good luck!



answers from Norfolk on

We did the same with my son at 2 1/2 and we just put a baby gate in his doorway. Usually he will come to the gate, depending on just how sleepy he is when he goes to bed. It might happen just for the first hour before he goes to sleep, or other times he has woke up in the middle of the night but we just go put him back in bed and usually he has no issues since he is tired. Sometimes we have to go a couple times for that first hour before he goes to sleep, other times we just tell him to go to bed and try not to go in his room and let him know Mommy and Daddy are sleeping as well. We have been fortunate so far that he offers little resistance. I hope you are able to figure things out, but I have been told for some children the switch between the crib and toddler bed can be a struggle. Do you have a good bedtime routine, like brushing teeth and reading a story and such around the same time every night? Is there a lot of toys or distractions in his room? Is there a very soft night light? Good luck!



answers from Washington DC on

Take a three pronged approach.

1) Explain what he CAN'T do - being out of bed is dangerous. Mom and Dad are sleeping and he can get hurt walking around the house in the dark. And it is just not acceptable. He can call you if it is an emergency.

2) Explain what he CAN do - Give him strategies to deal with being awake. Tell him, "If you wake up, this is what you can do... " It might be go potty and get a drink of water, go pick out a stuffed animal to bring to bed, get a story book to look at, lay in bed and tell yourself a story, etc.

3) Respond when he wakes up - Tell him consequences. If stay in bed all night, you can get a priviledge (like two books the next night). If you keep waking Mommy and Daddy up, we won't feel like playing quite so much tomorrow (can't go to the pool, playground, library, whatever).

Punish if it makes sense. For example, if he screams and throws toys, don't respond, but the next day, any toy he throws becomes your's for a week. Or maybe no TV or movies or ice cream or whatever. Throwing toys to get attention is never acceptable.

I know it is hard to be logical in the middle of the night, but in the light of day, tell him the rules and the consequences, and follow through. He is trying to control the situation, so you might have to tolerate a couple bad days and nights, but this is about habit and discipline (and his safety and your sanity).

PS - At three, I wouldn't use a gate. I would worry he would try to climb it and get hurt.



answers from Washington DC on

I had this problem with my son, almost 3. I got lots of good advice here. We tried the super nanny approach, which is on time 1, tell him night night and walk him back to bed, then after that he gets no words at all, just put him right back and walk away. After about 85 times I was exhausted and gave up. Some people said to put a gate on his door, which we tried, but he is strong and knocked it down. He got the door knob covers off after 3 minutes. After 3 sleepness nights, in tears I called my friend and my pediatrician, and both gave me the same advice, lock him in and ferberize him (check on him every 15 min, then 30 min, then hour, etc until he calms down). I did think about the potential fire hazard, but in the end, because he can climb a gate and can work the deadbolt on the front door, locking him in was safer for him. The first night he went ballistic and cried for 1 hour and then fell asleep in front of the door. the next night it was 30 minutes, the next 5 minutes, then 1 minute, then no crying at all. The problem we now have is that he insists on sleeping on the floor in front of the door. The doctor says to leave him alone, be happy he is sleeping, and eventually he will find out that the bed is most comfortable. I know it is hard, but you may have to let him cry for a while. If he destructs his room, make him clean it up the next morning. Good Luck and happy sleeping.

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