Stay in Bed: Keeping Your Toddlers in Bed at Bedtime

Stay in Bed: Keeping Your Toddlers in Bed at Bedtime

Are you struggling with keeping your toddlers in bed during bedtime? If your kids just won’t stay in their own beds at night, don’t worry, you aren’t alone. In fact, we see this issue a lot in our Twin Community. Read on below for some helpful tips and tricks from moms who have dealt with the same thing.

A MoM recently asked “Just transitioned my 3 year old twins into big kid beds. How do I keep them in their beds and bedroom after our bedtime routine?”

Here is what our Twiniversity Community had to say:

Toddler sleeping with stuffed animal, staying in bed.
There is no one way or one trick that works for every child.
  • -Lay with them and bring your kindle until they fall asleep
  • -Let them sleep together, and let them play with a few quiet toys in bed with lights out.
  • -Just keep bringing them back to their room, they will eventually get it. Also, big kid bed books
  • -Lot’s of screaming and threats 
  • -Chart. They get a sticker for each night they stay in bed. 5 in a row and it’s a treat or toy
  • -Door Monkey! Was hesitant about locking them in but it helps reinforce boundaries
  • -We use Hatch Lights for sleep and wake time
  • -Child lock on the inside of their door
  • -Hatch sound machine-only get out once color changes
  • -Toddler stoplight clock! Red means stay in bed and green means get up
  • -Light training when light is red stay in when it turns green you may leave
  • -A ready to wake clock. Keep reinforcing they can’t get out of bed until it turns green
  • -Safety Lock

More tips on how to keep your toddlers in their beds at night

  • -This is a process!!! Place a toddler door handle cover on inside of door
  • -Hatch nightlight/sound machine. Red = stay in bed
  • -Lock them in and talk to/soothe them over the monitor
  • -We made a chart that after 5 nights they get to go into the treasure chest.
  • -Emphasize routine. Night light (that you set to turn on in AM when they can leave bed) helps
  • -I lie down in their room with then singing lullabies till they fall asleep
  • -Sit in room with them or just outside the door. Tell them they can only whisper and keep head on pillow. And put a gate at the door so they can’t come out or wander.
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  • -Gate at the door, colored alarm clock
  • -My twins were in beds before turning 1, but now at 3, I still lay with them till they fall asleep
  • -I sleep with my twins since they got toddler beds
  • -Mine sleep together in 1 bed. We have 2 twin beds but they sleep better together. They’re 5
  • -Hatch Light
  • -The Hatch Nightlight. Teach them that they can’t leave room in morning until it’s green
  • -We use the puff ball reward system. Stay in bed all night and puff balls to their jars
  • -Get Hatch Machine-program the light to come on at a specific time. Teach kids wait for light
  • -Be persistent. Walk them to bed. Kiss Goodnight. Might have to do this many times for days
  • -Just let them be. My twins play for 30 mins to an hour after putting them to bed. Being relaxed about it is way less stressful then going in and telling them 100 times to lay down. If they get a little too loud I will go in and put them back in their beds but usually they fall asleep. And it’s odd they will fight all day but play really nice during this time. It’s like extra binding time.
Two sisters sleeping in one bed because it helps them stay in bed at night.
If they sleep better together, then let them sleep together.
  • -My twins are only 7 months so I’m not sure how this will go when they get older, but our 3 year old has a hatch light and if she doesn’t stay in her bed until her light turns green she loses her iPad for that day.
  • -Hatch Machine-green light means good to go
  • -Baby gate in the doorway
  • -Who cares if they do, as long as their room is baby proof safe, and the don’t leave the room
  • -We use the hatch and when it’s green they are allowed up and when it’s red that mean bed
  • -We have an Ok To Wake clock. You set the times. “Red in bed” “green get up” Works Wonders
  • -Monkey Door Lock
  • -Door Handle Cover

These are all great suggestions and advice, but the reality is, there is no right answer. There is no one way or one trick that works for every child. Let’s talk a little more about some of the methods mentioned above. 

Methods for Keeping Toddlers in Bed

Walking them back to bed, again and again (and again)

toddler in hallway wearing pajamas, not staying in bed
Whenever one or both of your toddlers come out of their room, you walk them back to bed.

This is a simple, yet often frustrating method. Basically, whenever one or both of your toddlers come out of their room, you walk them back to bed. You repeat this as many times as it takes. You don’t want to get angry or show any emotion, in fact say as few words as possible. Take their hand or pick them up, say “It’s time for bed,” and walk them back to bed. Ideally, after several nights of this, your twins get the point and stay in bed.

Wake-up clocks to help kids sleep better

A wake-up clock is a special clock for younger kids who are unable to read or tell time. It displays colors that indicate when it is time to sleep and when it is time to get up. Depending on the model, you may also get a sound machine included. I’m a HUGE fan of a white noise machine for helping my twins get to sleep and stay asleep.

The Hatch Rest+

how to get your toddler twins to stay in bed with the Hatch Rest+
Photo credit: www.amazon.com

The Hatch Rest+ is the ULTIMATE Sleep machine. It includes 11 soothing sounds, a night light with time-to-rise,  an audio monitor, clock and can be completely controlled with your smartphone and/or Alexa.

If you already have a sound machine and really just want a simple light training clock, then the OK to Wake! Alarm Clock & Night-Light is for you.

OK to Wake! Alarm Clock & Night-Light

OK to Wake clock for keeping your toddlers in bed
Photo Credit: www.amazon.com

The OK to Wake clock features a soothing yellow night-light to comfort your children as they fall asleep. Then, in the morning, it glows green when it’s OK for your children to get out of bed! It does have a nap timer, alarm clock with snooze, and it also has fun animations to give it a bit of personality. 

By letting your little ones know via lights or sounds when it is an appropriate time to be awake, a wake-up clock can help establish healthy sleep schedules.

Door Locks To Keep Toddlers in Bed

When transitioning your toddlers from crib to bed, it allows them  increased access to their environment, and an over-active curiosity to accompany it. So, sometimes you have to keep the door closed by measures similar (or 100% identical) to locking the door.

Child-Proof Door Knob

Door Knob cover to keep your toddlers in their beds
Photo Credit: www.amazon.com

A child-proof door knob is simply a cover that goes over the Knob and spins freely so tiny hands can’t twist the door knob open but are easy for parents to grip when opening the door. It’s a simple, yet effective safety device. 

Door Handle reversal

Door handle reversal is a really simple method to keep your kids in their rooms and safe. To utilize the door handle reversal method, you will simply swap the outer handle with the inside handle (with the door lock). This puts your door lock on the outside of the bedroom instead of the inside. 

Door Monkey

Door Monkey to keep your toddlers in their beds
Photo Credit: www.amazon.com

The Door Monkey’s unique design automatically locks interior doors in a slightly cracked position.This helps protect little fingers from pain-ful door pinch injuries and allows fresh air to circulate through the secured room. The Door Monkey simply clamps to the edge of the door, without tools, tape, or hardware. Mount it high and out of sight for taller users, or down low for shorter users. The Door Monkey is operable from either side of the door, preventing accidental lock-ins.

The door locking method works (because it literally keeps your children inside their room). Not everyone will agree with this method, and that is okay. Always do what is best for you and your family. But do remember that this method is not done to be mean or as a punishment, it is done to keep control over the situation and provide safety for your newly mobile toddlers.

Lay with Them Until They Fall Asleep

Mom laying with son until he falls asleep to make sure he does not get out of his bed.
Laying with your children until they fall asleep is a fool proof method to get them to stay in their beds.

I used this method with my singleton, and I will be completely honest, I HATED EVERY SINGLE MINUTE OF IT. I would lay on her floor, counting the seconds until she fell asleep so I could tackle my growing to-do list. And then becoming agitated when she wouldn’t stop talking and just go the EFF to sleep. However,  my husband loved it, and so do a lot of other parents. This is a great method with little to zero parenting guilt involved. It is also a fool proof method to keep your toddlers in their bed (you are literally there to stop them), however, it is also completely dependent on parent participation.

Once you have chosen your method, it is very important to stick with it and maintain consistency. Try not to bounce between methods, it is likely to confuse your toddlers and cause you to become the underdog in this parent-teaching experience. And remember, sleep is a need, not a want.  You need to do what works for you and your family, so that everyone gets a good rest. 

about Twiniversity
Written by: Amanda Hadley
Twiniversity Staff Writer

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