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Today I want to talk about how to keep your child in their own bed.   Let me first take a minute to explain that your child will be healthier, do better in school, be more pleasant throughout the day, and just feel better overall, if they are getting enough sleep  (no matter where that may be: your bed, their bed or somewhere else).

A white sheet of paper with text on it.

Now, we do not co-sleep (well- if the kids aren’t feeling well, if they are running a fever, or if there is a thunderstorm, they do sleep in our rooms), but for the most part, we don’t co-sleep because I am a huge worrier!  

I am up all night worrying about if they are breathing or if a pillow is on their face or if they are sleeping all night or waking up.  If I have to sneeze or cough- forget about it… I will just hold it because I don’t want to risk waking them.

All in all, I just don’t relax when they are in our bed.  My husband won’t sleep, either, because he worries about rolling on top of them.    I know that those things probably will never happen, but I just worry so much, so we all sleep better when they are in their bed and we are in our bed.

With that being said, I try to remember “Different Strokes for Different Folks”, so whatever works for your family is what works.  Period!


So- let’s get back to keeping your child in their own bed.   I’m not saying that my kids always sleep through the night, just that it is better for their development when they do.  Trust me; my kids have all woken up for weeks or months at a time at some point during their young lives.  I just do my best to get them back onto their natural sleep patterns to help them be the healthiest and happiest that they can be!

Here are the reasons that I want my child to STAY IN HIS/HER BED AT NIGHT

  1. I am uncomfortable knowing that our sons or daughter would be walking around when I am asleep.   I just can’t have this.   What if they fell down the stairs?  What if they got themselves a drink and aspirated without me knowing?   What if they got into something dangerous (we keep the house child-proofed, but you just never know)?   For these reasons, we have a rule that they must stay in their beds until 7:00 am .
  2. Kids need 10-12 hours of sleep a night.  Younger toddlers and babies need even more.  This is why we put our kids to bed at 7:00.
  3. Well-rested kids = happier kids.  Well-rested kids = kids that can focus better.   It just works for us.
  4. I don’t want to be ‘tucking them in’ five times a night.  I have already had time lying down with each one of them, and they need to go to bed.


A quick background on our family.  Our older two boys always stay in bed (they are six and eight).I don’t know what we did differently, but they never attempted to come out of bed.  The two younger ones are still in the learning process (2 and 4).

A group of people sitting in the grass posing for a picture.
I love the cuddle time with each one of our kids.  This is why when they say “Mommy, will you lay with me?”  I always say YES!  However, laying with them and having them coming into my room and bed at all hours of the night are two totally different things.

“Why Is My Child Coming Out Of Bed and How Do I Stop It?” 

I get this question a lot, so let me offer the advice that worked for us.

keep a child in their bed
The very first time that they come out of their bed, correct them.

My story:  When our daughter moved to a toddler bed, I watched her on her video monitor.
The second that I saw her climbing out of her bed, I ran in and said “No, Ma’am.  Back into bed, please. ” I told her “If you need Mommy, you say ‘MOMMY!’ and I will come in.  You DO NOT get out of your bed.  I will be scared if I know that you aren’t safe in your bed.  Do you understand? ”

She answered with an “Uh-hum.”  She then started to cry, knowing that she didn’t make the right choice and she put her hands over her eyes (this is what she does when she is upset).  She didn’t come out of her bed again, until several months later.

Fast forward- Several months later, she made her second attempt.  She is still only two, and I am not comfortable with her walking around without me knowing because it isn’t safe, so when I saw her, I put her back into her bed and said the same thing.   She immediately climbed back out.   This is where the ‘real teaching’ comes into play.

Let me tell you how it worked with our son (because it explains why we did this again with our daughter) I saw this method on Super Nanny,  and I have had to do this with our third son when he was two years old.  It works.  I promise you.  It is ALL ABOUT CONSISTENCY.

After you have verbally corrected them once, from then on, take them by the hand and firmly, but GENTLY place them back into their beds.  Do not lose your temper.   I did this with our son (when he was two years old) over 100 times!  

Now, I know that number sounds outrageous, but on the show, SuperNanny, some parents did it hundreds of times (like 300+).
It works.  It really does.  (Remember- bad habits can take up to three days to break, so give it three days!)

It just works.  

Extreme or not.  

I was not mean.  

I didn’t use force.

I did not yell.

I was not angry. 

 I show consistency. 

How To Get A Child To Stay In Their Bed?  (The exact steps)

Let me give you an example of one of our sons.   I sat outside his door and waited for him to come out again, and again, and again.

It took one night of putting him back to bed over and over and over and over until he stopped coming out.

By night #2, it happened about 10 times.

By night #3- zero times.

It has been several years, and he has not come out of his bed unless he has been sick or scared or had to use the bathroom.  If he needs us, he calls for us, but that is not often.  After we read with him, give him a sip of water, lie down with him, and sing his goodnight songs, he goes to sleep.

RELATED–>>  We also do this trick to help him sleep all night long (if your child wakes up in the middle of the night, this tip is a game-changer!  It can help your child sleep all night long!)

You can read about it by clicking on this picture:

2-4 year old waking up at night

So, back to our two-year-old daughter:  I did this with our daughter a few weeks ago (the two-year-old) but it only took four times of putting her back into her bed before she figured out that this was not going to work.  The promise to leave her door open like her brothers helped, too.  Haha!

Other tricks to try:

  • Leave the door open
  • Leave on a night light
  • Skip nap time, but put them to bed sooner (a tired child sleeps well.  An over-tired child is restless).
  • Use a sticker chart
  • Get this noise machine projector (our niece loves this- she is three)
  • Or you could get this clock that changes color when they can wake up!
  • Remember that this will be hard and tiring, but if you want your child to stay in their own bed, this will hopefully help you to accomplish that.  In the end, you need to do what works for you and your family. No matter what you read or hear, make it work for your family.

    Our older kids (born in ’06 and ’08) were coming out of their beds for a drink, a tissue, to say goodnight to the dog again, etc… (it was lasting over an hour some nights!) and we finally said that if they come out when they don’t need anything, we would have to give them an extra “not fun” chore. They could come out & help themselves (use the bathroom, etc…) but to come to get us to tuck them back in for the 9th time in an hour was just too much.  It was getting OUT OF CONTROL.  This stopped it after day 2 of the chores.  

    PS- here are the affiliate links to the products that I mentioned:

noise machine projector

alarm clock changes colors for kids

I hope that helped!    Remember, don’t let the rules for bedtime interfere with your child’s need for a good snuggle now & then. ♥     Read this one when you have a second:

kids coming into my room

Need More Advice?
Try These:

1. Join my FREE sleep course (sent via email)
Keep your child in their bed

2. Why our kids are in bed by 7:00in bed by 7:00
3. Mommy, will you lay with me? 

lay with me

4. Potty Train in a WEEKEND. 


2, 3, 4 year old waking up at night



Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. I always find articles addressing this “problem” rather puzzling because globally, most families share one bed until the child “moves out” on his own. Our country is one of the very few countries that insist on kicking our kids out of our bed and, therefore, have created this “problem” by doing so. Doing what comes naturally and is most beneficial for the child and parent, does not lead to all these “problems” demanding a plethora of (trial and error) “solutions.

    We have never had bedtime issues, sleeping problems or anything of the sort. Bedtime always was a joy, the final embrace of peace and love that surrounded our family each day. We all got amazing rest – from newborns to toddlers to parents. Now I watch my children embrace their own babies every night in the “family bed” and see the continuation of peace and rest and being a family just as we all were created to be.

    If something really works, is really meant to be, there is no need for “tips” or “ideas” or “solutions.” Instead of trying to fix something that is broken, stop causing the breakage.

    1. I agree that what works for your family is what you should do. 🙂

    2. AGREE AGREE AGREE…Our babies are now 17 and 19 years old. They are amazing, confident, intelligent, independent young adults. There are few things in this life nicer than holding your children in your arms as they peacefully drift to sleep. You don’t roll on them, they feel safe and you don’t need to worry about them getting out of bed. My two had their own rooms with their own beds and when they wanted to use them they did…. eventually every night.

  2. If you are a parent and this doesn’t work for you don’t beat yourself up. I did everything to the letter and 9 years later he still comes in at night. Not every child is going to fit the mold. It turns out my son has aspergers and it was just one of the signs of his condition.

  3. I do all of this and she still wakes and gets out of bed. She sttn since about 3 months old. she was fantastic (2.5 now) and as soon as I brought her brother home from the hospital, she has stopped sttn. I try being as consistent as possible, but she has developed night terrors and nightmares. 5 nights out of 7 she wakes. its very tiring.

    1. Have you tried my tip on my post about “my 2 year old still wakes at night” ? It might be helpful! 🙂 I hope!

  4. Hi, my friend linked me to your article as I am having this issue with my 2 1/2 yr old daughter. Just one question, when using your method hoe long do you lay in bed with them?
    Also when putting them back to bed after they get out, what happens if they struggle and try and fight you? My daughter does then when I try and take her back to bed and she screams and drops to the floor so she won’t work and if I pick her up, kicks. Then it’s a struggle to get her back in bed. Any advice would be good. Loved your article and really hope it can work for us, as she was a fantastic sleeper in her cot and would like that again now she is in a bed.

    1. When I lie our kids down for bed (the first time), its about 5 minutes- about 2 minutes of talking, prayers, and a song. After that, I no longer lie down with them at all (unless they wake up sick or scared, etc…)
      I know that it is really, hard but I would just keep putting her back to bed. It might not work, but it worked for us and many of our friends. Good luck!!! 🙂

  5. I love this post. I have one problem. My children share a room. My youngest daughter (2 ) is giving us a problem staying in her bed. She will wake her sister(4) or talk to her or just be a pest to her in order to stay awake. I have to admit keeping my cool at night is difficult. She uses every excuse including having to go potty. I am at a loss. I have considered not giving her a nap but that is trouble as well because she will fall asleep anywhere when she is tired. None the less this post was encouraging.

  6. Yes! I am loving this, we are a co sleep to Montessori floor bed family, and once we transitioned both of ours to their own rooms at 9 months, we immediately answered to their cry or calls for mommy. We wanted to establish trust, and for them to know we would be there if they needed us. Here is our post on our transition, feel free to share if you like 🙂

  7. At what age can you start? My children have all learned to climb out of their crib and open doors before 2. Do you start as soon as they are able to get out of bed?

  8. My 9 year old has a heart condition and is and suffers from insomnia. He starts in his bed and wonded around the house during the night, then ends up in ours. Usually at some point after that I end up with the 6 year old in his bed. My husband and I have a very good and loving relationship, and so neither of us have a problem with this nightly ritual. It seems to work for us, but I guess I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone. At some point I know they are no longer going to want those cuddles in the middle of the night.

  9. I love this. I have three kiddos. My older two had no trouble. But our youngest – 3 year old girl – every night she’s in our bed. The catch is I can’t just let her kind of cry it out….she throws up when she gets upset. So I feel trapped between letting her in my bed or cleaning up puke. Any ideas?

    1. Hmmm… not really, but at 3, I would talk to her and maybe even do a sticker chart or fill a basket with $1 toys & tell her that if she stays in bed, she will get one?

  10. Hello, thanks for this article. I have tried another method, but now I really don´t like it, but feel I am still in time to change because my daughter is 2 years and 8 months. So, my question is. What do you tell your kids during the method? Do you just put them in bed? What do I do if she cries when I know she is fine and she use it as manipulation (or this is what I have read from psicologist books, that is what they do, although I do feel she sometimes tests me)?
    I am sorry for the bad comments you have been getting even though you mentioned that with every family is different. I do respect everyones opinion, but for myself, if I don´t sleep, I am not a normal person, I need at least 6 of those 12 hours sleep my kids get. They do sleep well, I just want her to learn on her own with my guidance and support.
    Thanks again

    1. haha! Exactly!
      So if she cries, I would go in and just say that it is time for bed. Then do it again. What I did was got a video monitor so I could see if she needed me. 🙂 lol. It worked out great!

      1. Thanks!!! Sorry one more question. What do you do in between the laying down the child and waiting and repeating. Nothing to not distract the child or read a book or use the phone?
        Thanks again for the method

        1. I think you could read a book or play on your phone. You aren’t trying to make them fall asleep, just stay in their bed. 🙂

  11. thats great but my problem- and I’ve never actually seen a solution for this- is that I don’t even have time to get back to the door to wait for him to get up again. It takes about 2 times of me putting him back in bed for him to figure out this is a hilarious game and he hops out of bed basically before I’ve finished putting him in it. What should I do then?

    1. I would just say “We need to stay in our bed” and then stand at the bottom of the bed (or sit) if you have to, to continue to put him back in. Good luck- thats a hard one.

  12. I am so trying this with my daughter. she is a hot mess right now.. getting out of bed every single night. I am so over it, but she makes herself throw up when I force it. (yup… thats my girl..) Maybe this will work.. i will try anything 🙂

  13. I am not a fan of co-sleeping, but to each their own and what works for their family. Our daughter was in the NICU until she was 4 weeks old (she was born at 31 1/2 weeks). She slept in a bassinet next to our bed for two weeks when she came home, and at 6 weeks of age started sleeping in her crib. She moved to a toddler bed at 2 1/2 and to a full bed at 3 1/2 and has always, with the exception of the normal infant behavior, slept through the night. In May of 2014, at 6 1/2 years old and still continuing, she is up from 1-8 times a night. We are CONSISTENT. We always take her back to her room. She does not sleep with us. We have set up rewards systems, punishment, had a sleep study done, made dream catchers, have magic spray, everything you can think of. Nothing is working. Around 3:00 am, the last time she is normally in our room, is usually the last and then she will sleep ubtil 6-7.

    1. I hit post before I finished. Any advice is welcome! EXCEPT have her sleep with us or one of us in her bed

    2. Honestly, at 3 1/2 I would have a real talk. I would explain that it makes you tired and grumpy. Then I would get like 10 toys from the dollar store or dollar section of Target and I would put them in a basket. I would tell her that IF she stays in her bed and does not come into your room until the sun comes up or it is 7 or whatever, then you will let her pick a prize from the basket. Make a big deal about it. 🙂 We had to do this once.

    3. My niece had a similar issue, though not as extreme. The thing that ended up working was a huge stuffed animal (31/2 feet tall) and a framed picture of her mom and dad. It seemed to make her feel safer. I know this sounds a little crazy but maybe you should give her a video monitor for a few weeks so she can see that you guys are really just down the hall in your room and she doesnt have to get out of bed to see it.

  14. I do so agree that consistency is important in parenting. I don’t like to sleep alone and I can guarantee I wouldn’t enjoy being alone in my room. I understand the reasoning as I, too am a worrier. Still, I wonder how this technique affects the connection between parent and child. It seems to me there are other ways that use consistency while still fostering a connected and mindful relationship.

  15. I just commented a bit ago on your other post (about sleeping/staying in bed longer in the AM)- so this sort of goes hand in hand. My daughter (3) has a bunk bed (full/twin combo) and sort of “stands” on the side edge of her bed. She’ll occasionally get off and look out her window or fix a stack of books or get socks out or something quirky but runs back to bed and continues “standing” talking/singing, etc. It’s annoying and standing keeps her from relaxing, laying down and falling asleep so I’m wondering if you think this method would still work for her? (IE- going in, laying her under her covers and walking out?) I KNOW she is exhausted come bedtime but she gets wound up and it can take an hour for her to fall asleep…thoughts? Thank you so much!!! -Liz

    1. I think I’d try cutting the nap & just giving her books, etc…. at naptime. Try it for 3 days. I give our daughter naps on the weekends when she can stay up later and it doesn’t matter (we don’t have to be up early for anything, except church on Sunday, but not as early as when I have to get her up to take her brothers to school.)