Switching from a cot to a toddler bed?

We ask parenting expert Kathryn Mewes one reader’s question about her child’s struggle at bedtime

Q.) I have put my two year old in a toddler bed as he keeps waking up and banging himself on the sides of his cot. He now has a bed guard but recently discovered how to climb out of bed. Added to this, he is waking every hour and attempting to climb into my bed. Why is he waking up so frequently? Also, how can we see a return to a child who used to sleep for 12 hours every night?

A.) Many children love the novelty of climbing out of bed, once they discover how to do it. The key is not to react or make it an issue and leave the room while he is awake. It is very important that he settles himself to sleep and you are NOT in the room.

Children wake a minimum of six times a night. The way in which they are re-settled is what they will expect each time they come into a light sleep.

If you are in his room when he first settles to sleep this is why he is coming to find you in the night. He believes he needs you in order to fall to sleep.

I would suggest putting a gate on his bedroom door and ‘safe proofing’ his bedroom.

When he wakes I would leave him to return to his own bed and settle to sleep. If you did decide to go to him, simply put him back into bed and leave the room.

Do not talk to him as this will wake him fully making it harder for him to settle.

I believe, after 20 years, of returning children to their beds, that it takes three consecutive days to make a dramatic change if you can remain consistent in returning them to their bed.

The fact your son did know how to self settle and was a good sleeper means that this can and will return again if you set your mind to it. Good luck!

Parenting expert Kathryn Mewes is brought to Baby London in conjunction with Milton. Well known as C4’s Three Day Nanny, Kathryn’s expertise covers sleep problems, eating and weaning, behavior and discipline.
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