Toddler Bedtime Battles

So in recent weeks my two year old boy has decided that he likes to get in and out of bed. As you can imagine it is a little frustrating having to put him back to bed a 100 times in the night and a 100 times when we put him to bed.

I know my children well and as a parent i often know the reason why they have been a change in their behaviour. However, we are really not sure why the two year old has decided to throw his perfect routine away and opt for a more barbaric sleeping pattern.


We have dug around online articles, forums and have asked friends, hoovered up all the potential reasons and advice for his recent change in behaviour. Whilst many of the articles suggest the same things we have attempted the following in an attempt to get him back to his old routine or in to a new one.

Bedroom Layout

We have moved his room around in an attempt to break his current routine-up. The bed has been moved to the back of the room meaning he now has further to travel to the door and stair gate. We hope by making the walk further and more effort he will be put off by it and stay in bed more.

Leaving the door open He has always wanted to sleep in the dark from a very young age. Now we feel that leaving the door open might make him feel a little bit more comfortable and be able to understand that we are not too far away and he doesn't need to get out of bed to communicate with us, should him wish to.

Bye Bye Bedtime

One of the biggest changes is the no nap time rule we have imposed. We are hoping that by removing his mid-afternoon nap he will be more tired in the night, thus less likely to get in and out of bed during the night.

Personally I am devastated that I will no longer get an hour long break, but there come a point in every boys life when naps are no longer needed.

Less Screen Time 

We let the boy play game and watch stupid and annoying videos on toddlertube for an hour a day. We now no longer let the boys watch their tablets and hour before bed. We are now increasing and encouraging more reading and creative okay before their bed time.

Later Bedtimes

Pushing back bedtime is something we have decided to do in an attempt to make him more tired and therefore less likely to wake-up in the night and get out of bed and mess around.
In all honestly I think he likes staying up that extra bit later, it gives him more time to lay with his big brother!

Brotherly Love

We have read that letting the problem child see a sibling going to bed can help the have a better next time a routine. Seeing the 3yo go to bed before him has hopefully help him understand that when he goes to bed so should he.

Positive Reinforce

We have opted to try positive reinforcement, by this we mean not shouting at him and or telling him off for being out of bed.

During the bed time routine we out the 3yo to bed first, giving him phrase for what he has done - from getting in to bed or brushing his teeth. From this we are hoping the 2yo begins to copy him and or begin to understand why the 3yo is going to bed without making such a fuss.

When he wakes up and goes to the stair-gate we come in to the room, hold his hand walk him back to bed. We help him in to bed and tell him that it is night time and it is time to go back go sleep, giving him his comfort items and putting the music on his elephant.

With all of this change, we have seen some improvement with him getting out of bed less when we have put him to bed. However he is still venturing out on a night and waking up super early.

We expect that the changes will take a couple of weeks to implement and see more improvements. We want to break the cycle, but completely understand he is growing and pushing the boundaries. We want to encourage him to push the boundaries and understand his environment and relationships with us, I am sure that in time both pal rents and two year can get back to sleeping a healthy amount of time each and every night.

Have you experienced the same thing, let me know how you found this phase and any magic tricks you had in the comments section below, thanks for reading folks!

Yorkshire Dad

Part-time daddy and lifestyle blogger. Father of 2 boys under 2. Golfer, scare-fan, tea-lover, traveller, squash and poker player. I write on the @HuffPostUK http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/karl-young/

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