How can I keep my child in bed?

Q: My toddler recently moved from her crib to a bed, and now she's getting up during the night and refusing to return. She cries, asks for milk, more stories, and for us to lay with her. What should we do?

A: Unfortunately, unlike a crib, there's nothing you can do to keep your toddler in her bed against her will. Instead, try giving some of the control back to her. Since you're in charge of what time she goes to bed, tell her that although she must stay in her bed, she doesn't have to go to sleep if she's not ready. Give her a low light, books to look at, a toy she's chosen to take with her, and tell her you'll be back to tuck her in and give her a kiss in 15 minutes. Chances are when you return, she'll be in dreamland.

Copyright 2002. Updated 2009

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