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10 Helpful Toddler Bedtime Tips for Creating a Sleep Routine

Toddler bedtime tips because this mom of 4 knows the pain of trying to get kids to sleep well!

Do you have a toddler who is a night runner? (A toddler who can’t seem to stay in bed at night.) This has been the story of our lives the last several years.

Best Tips for Toddler Bedtime

We have 4 kids, and each child has required a different approach.

toddler bedtime tips
toddler bedtime tips

Typically little ones escaping from their beds tend to happen when you move your child from crib to toddler bed. With a toddler bed, there is this new sense of FREEDOM! NO rail to climb over, just a little barrier and FREE REIN of their room, or worse — the house.

Help Your Toddler Stay in Bed

Let’s talk toddlers staying in bed, here are some tips that have helped us over the years and hope these will help you keep your little one put (and asleep!)

Here is a round up of advice from parents who have been thru toddlers escaping their bedrooms, not sleeping, running around the house, not wanting to sleep, wanting to party – oh the fun!

Toddler Bedtime Tips

Let’s look at ways to help curve the behavior and help you and your toddlers get some zzz’s! Looking for a bed for your toddler? Check out these toddler beds.

Toddler Alarm Clock

Our first toddler bedtime tip is get your child a toddler alarm clock. We use this for our toddler, it works well now – he is older and gets the concept.

Toddler Alarm Clocks

The idea is that the toddler alarm clock shows a certain color when it’s okay for your child to get out of bed. Have an older child? Check out these kid alarm clocks.

Bedtime Routine

ROUTINE! Next toddler bedtime tip is something I have had to FORCE myself todo.

Let’s face it, I am a type-b no schedule or routine type person. This is a VERY hard thing for me, but kids really do thrive on routine and the bedtime routine is NO exception.

routine bed time for toddler definition

Make sure each night your general bedtime routine is the same. We brush teeth, go potty, get into pajamas, say our prayers, sing a song, tuck in, push play on their music and then reiterate that it’s bedtime – no getting out of bed. Bath time and reading is not every night, so I don’t say that’s’ routine.

Bedtime Rules

Something that I’ve learned over the years is that kids need to know the rules and if they don’t know and I don’t tell them, I shouldn’t get mad at them.

Case in point — if the kids aren’t suppose to get out bed, they need to be told that. Setup and define bedtime rules and reiterate these before bedtime.

Room Patrol – Back to the Room, Bud!

When the toddler escapes, tell him one time “it’s bed time, we are going back to bed.” Walk him or her back to their room.

Any excuses, crying, screaming or words they say – block them out and just get them back in bed. I’ve heard everything from “I’m thirsty!” to “I not tired.”

toddler getting out of bed - toddler bedtime tips

Nope, of course if there is an emergency or if the kid needs to go to the bathroom (for real, my kid has stood at the toilet for 15 minutes pretending to need to pee – these kids are something else!) – attend to the situation but the biggest thing is it’s a matter of you not listening to their excuses.

If they leave the room 10 times – walk them back without comment 10 times. I know, it’s a pain in the butt, especially when you are half awake and their room is upstairs and you WERE sleeping.

Toddler Bed Alarm

Next on our list of toddler bedtime tips – let’s talk about a bed alarm. An option to consider when starting with bedtime routines is a toddler bed alarm. This will make a noise alerting you when your toddler has moved out of his or her bed. Available on Amazon

toddler bed alarm will create a loud noise in the event that your toddler leaves their bed
toddler bed alarm

These toddler bed alarms are what are often used with senior care or when someone is a fall risk.

Baby Gate

I’m not a mom to judge, some parents reverse the lock on the child’s door to keep them in their room. Personally, as great as it sounds – I fear safety so we haven’t reversed the lock.

That said, we have used a baby gate on the door. We shut the toddler’s door, then put the baby gate up.

baby gate for toddler room
baby gate for toddler room

Then, when the child goes to leave their room – there’s a baby gate in the way. While sure they could technically climb over the baby gate – it’s a deterrent.

Personally, I don’t feel it’s same locking a toddler in room at night. The baby gate is a possible alternative.

Oddly, the last 2 homes that we’ve live in we have had to change the door knobs because the locks were on the outside of the kids room. Again, no to locking toddler in room.

Evaluate Your Toddler’s Schedule

Is your child going to bed too early? Perhaps it’s time for your child to lose one of their nap times? While toddlers do need a good amount of sleep – there is a chance that maybe your child just isn’t tired.

life with a toddler meme
life with a toddler meme

Don’t miss our funny toddler memes!

Evaluate the complete situation if night after night you are dealing with your kid getting out of bed with a ton of energy. Perhaps it’s more than your kid just wanting to play.

Toddler Door Monitor

If you have a ninja for a toddler, consider a toddler door monitor. This will allow a chime to go off in your bedroom alerting you if toddler has opened a bedroom door that shouldn’t be opened.

toddler door monitor will let a remote device know when a door is open. 
this is helpful for toddlers that elope.
toddler door monitor

Available on Amazon – for right around $20 this is a great investment for peace of mind. If you have a child that elopes (runs away) – these can also be used on additional doors for added security for your toddler.

Remove Toys From the Bedroom

This option may not be available for everyone, but perhaps you can find a way to make it work.  Remove all toys for the bedroom. We have a playroom and put a rule that all toys need to stay in there.

This helps with room clean-up, but also we have a child who loves to play by himself and have found him staying up all night and playing.

If you don’t have a playroom, consider putting toys in bins that can be moved into a closet or hallway.

Baby Video Monitor

We have a baby video monitor that let’s us not only see what is going on in the toddlers’ room – it also lets us talk to them thru the monitor.

baby monitor toddler
baby monitor for toddlers

Typically the first 30 minutes after we’ve put them to bed, we will watch the monitor to make sure they are attempting to sleep and aren’t up running and around, destroying the upstairs.

Here is the baby monitor that we use – Lenovo Astra Digital Baby Video Monitor. We also had the opportunity to review the Arlo baby monitor.

Toddler Reward Chart

Next on the list of toddler bedtime tips is positive re-enforcement!  A little positive re-enforcement never hurt anymore. Put together a simple reward sticker chart. It’s amazing how well cheap stickers make kids so darn happy.

bedtime reward chart
toddler reward chart

Put a reward (trip to Dollar tree with $1.08 does wonders in this house!) and be diligent in working with your child when they do what they are suppose to, reinforce the good.

If you are rewarding your tot with screen time – check out the best toddler websites.


Our last toddler bedtime tip is patience.

This is the last thing you want to hear, I know. But patience. Patience as your child learns this new routine. Patience as your toddler tests their boundaries and explores their new freedoms. Patience as you aren’t getting the sleep you need and neither is your toddler.

Remember, that this too will pass. In the trenches, it’s hard to think about seeing the light when you are buried deep in toddlerhood but it will pass and somehow you will survive.

Bedtime and Toddlers

Toddlers and bedtimes can be a challenge, but you can do this! If I can survive 4 toddlers – anyone can! Hoping that these toddler bedtime tips help you and your family get some rest.

Be inspired with our All Things Toddler Pinterest Board.

Read more about Toddlers

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Toddler Bedtime Tips is part of the Digital Mom Blog series on Toddlers