Cuddling provides your toddler with a sense of security.
A nightly battle is being waged in bedrooms across the United States, and unfortunately for many harried parents, the toddlers are winning the war. Whether motivated by curiosity about the sounds of siblings playing or a fear of the dark, toddlers are touched with a bit of wanderlust once the sun goes down. Instead of installing gates, which are an eyesore and a safety hazard in the event of a fire, employ other methods to ensure your toddler stays put all night long.
1Transform your toddler's bedroom into an area she actually looks forward to being in once the bedtime hour arrives. Hang up posters of your toddler's favorite television shows and singers and fill the room with toys, pictures of the family and other little personalized touches. Allow your toddler to have a say in what goes in her room, and she'll actually want to spend time there.
2Establish a comforting bedtime routine. About an hour before your toddler's set time to slumber, begin a relaxing regimen of bath, book and cuddles. This relaxes your toddler and makes him feel safe and secure enough to sleep in his own bed.
3Provide your toddler with defenses against creatures he imagines lurk in the night. A nightlight, his favorite teddy bear or a blanket from your bed all provide your toddler with a feeling of security, which keeps him in his bedroom.
4Grab a sleeping bag and hunker down for the night. Transitioning from a crib to a big-girl bed is a scary time for your toddler. It's also the age when children's imaginations get the better of them, so make the move go a little more smoothly by providing the comfort of your presence. Begin by sleeping right next to your toddler's bed, not in it. Every night, move a little further away until you're finally able to sleep in your own bed incident-free.
5Create a reward chart for your toddler. Display the chart in a high-traffic area where everyone will see it, and each time your toddler doesn't wander from his bedroom at night, commemorate the occasion with a sticker. After 10 to 20 stickers, give your toddler a reward, such as a trip to the amusement park or a new toy.
- Maintain an atmosphere of quiet and sheer boredom after your toddler goes to bed. If he wanders into your bedroom, flip on CNN or discuss past controversial presidential campaigns. Your toddler will see that the house is boring after hours and head straight back to his bedroom.