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Toddlers calling out and getting out of bed can be a major cause of concern for parents. You can resolve these sleep issues by establishing a good bedtime routine for your children and by being firm.
Toddlers need around 10 to 12 hours of sound sleep at night for their overall growth and development. Calling out and getting out of bed are common sleep problems which can interfere with your child’s sleep routine, and also worry parents at night. Parents need to find the specific reasons for a toddler’s calling and getting out of bed, and take remedial measures accordingly.
Reasons for Calling Out and Getting Out of Bed
Calling out and getting out of the bed in the middle of the night can be possible for toddlers at times, especially if your toddler genuinely needs something, or shows discomfort due to some reason. You need to also rule out other reasons:
- As toddlers grow up, they face an increased level of separation anxiety and usually end up resorting to calling out parents, or getting out of bed to seek attention.
- Your toddler may be stressed out for a reason that may not be apparent to you on sight.
- At times, new environment such as a new bed or a major life change, such as loss of a parent can also cause a toddler to voice for your presence during sleep.
Depending on the reason, parents need to take a conscious call on when to respond and when not to. To do this, first you need to put a well-structured sleep schedule in place.
Establish Good Sleeping Habits
A proper bedtime routine is very essential for young children to go to bed, and settle into an uninterrupted sleep.
1. Set a Consistent Bed-Time for Your Child
Setting a regular bedtime routine will let your toddler understand when it is time to sleep. Toddlers should be prepared to fall asleep at the same time almost every day.
2. Follow a Bed-Time Activity
Simple bedtime activities like reading a story book, singing a song or bathing can make your toddler look forward to sleeping time.
3. Do a Final Check
Follow a checklist of things that your toddler needs to complete before going to bed. For example, brushing teeth, drinking water or going to the bathroom. In addition, tuck your baby with all his favorite things around him.
4. Set Limits
Try to anticipate the probable requests from your child, and make them clear which requests are acceptable and which are not.
5. Praise Your Child for Staying in Bed
Praise and reward your child for staying in bed for the whole night by giving extra hugs and kisses. You can maintain a star chart where the child can earn a star for every good night’s sleep. Stars can be redeemed for a chocolate or a toy. Some tips:
- Put a dim night lamp in the toddler’s room, so that they don’t immediately feel scared when you are not around.
- Move your toddlers to a bigger bed if they keep crawling out of their cot.
- You can also use door grills or a child gate to prevent them from coming out of the room.
- If they come to your bed, then return them to their room with a firm eye contact and tone.
- Ignore their call out requests. This may feel a little harsh initially, but it will reinforce the fact to the toddlers that they will not be attended, until a request is really genuine.
Depending on the reason, parents need to take a conscious call when to respond and when not to. To do this, first you need to put a well-structured sleep schedule in place.
What to Do if the Sleep Problems Persist?
In spite of setting a specific bedtime routine, toddlers may still call out or get out of the bed. In such a scenario, you need to adopt certain sleeptime strategies for your toddler. To start with, it would be difficult for you to not respond to your child’s calling out and getting out of bed, but if you firmly put them back for a few days, they will develop a healthy sleep routine. If you still face issues or notice any extreme behavior, it is recommended to consult a specialist.