If your toddler won’t stay in bed for naptime or the night, then do I have a solution for you!
Toddler Won’t Stay in His Bed. Help!
We’ve been struggling with my three-year-old getting out of bed multiple times after we put him to sleep. No matter what we would do, he would not stay in his bed! We would go through his bedtime routine: brush teeth, use the bathroom, snuggle, pray, tickle, and lights out. I would step out of his room, and breathe a sigh of relief: he’s down for the night. Now I can do fun things like shower or wash dishes or eat something. I’d step into the bathroom to take off my makeup, and within ten seconds my son would have bounced out of bed with the first (of many) thoughts, questions, and concerns:
- “Mom, I have a question…”
- “Mama, I’m scared…”
- “Can we go to Amma’s tomorrow?”
- “Just one more question, Mom…”
- “I gotta go poop”
- “Mom, I’m thirsty”
This has been going on for months. We’ve tried bribing him to stay in bed. We’ve tried discipling him when he’s not stayed in bed. He’s lost screen time when he’s not stayed in bed. None of it worked. As I have gotten increasingly pregnant, this sleep situation has been harder and harder to deal with.
Don’t get me started on naptime. He would pop up so many times throughout nap time that his naps would get less and less frequent. I knew he still needed to nap, because his behavior would always go down hill in the afternoons, he was so tired! But he would hop up and down from his bed, and keep himself awake. He would come out of his room multiple times asking: “is it time to get up now? Is nap time over yet? How much longer?”
My patience, as a mom, would get thinner and thinner. I knew this situation wasn’t working.
Enter: The Okay to Wake Clock (drum roll please)
It wasn’t until I was solo-parenting for a week (my husband was away on business) that I finally, in desperation, ordered an Okay to Wake Clock. My eldest brother and sis-in-law had told me about this magical thing years ago, and it had sat in my “saved for later” Amazon cart for years. There have been many times I’ve added it to my cart, thought about spending $30 on a cheap clock that would probably get toted around by my toddler and lost, then removed it from my clock.
But I was desperate. So I purchased the thing. I decided if it didn’t work then I could always return it.
I received the clock in the mail, and it was incredibly easy to set up. My toddler was so excited about it! He loved that he could push the foot and it would light up or that he could push the other foot and it would smile at him. I set it up high so he couldn’t mess with it.
Does it Really Work?
At bedtime, I went through his normal routine, but at the end I told him that if he stayed in his bed until the clock turned green (I had set it for 7 AM the next morning) that he’d get a special surprise. Then I left the room to go brush my teeth.
I stood in the bathroom, and brushed my teeth. No little curly head came popping around the door. I made myself some tea, half-listening for the first of many questions, but none came. My husband and I turned on a show for the evening. Everything from my toddler’s room was silent.
Half an hour later, I went to check on him: he was sound asleep.
You guys, ever since we got this clock he hasn’t gotten up to ask a single question. He goes to sleep after we put him to bed. He doesn’t pop into my room at 5 am anymore. He sleeps soundly from when we put him in bed at 7 until 7 the next morning.
Needless to say, I didn’t return the clock.
I am typing this on a quiet afternoon, courtesy of the Okay to Wake clock. As I type, he is in his room in bed, waiting for the clock’s nap timer to run out.
Why I Think the Okay to Wake Clock Works So Well
There’s nothing really that magical about this little plastic clock. It isn’t that fancy, it doesn’t contain sleepy dust, and it doesn’t seem like it should work as well as it does. But I’ve given it some thought, and I think I know why it works:
It meets the toddler where he/she is developmentally. Also, it removes the abstract “it’s not time to get up yet” vague statement, and introduces the concrete “you may get up when your clock turns green”.
It also gives some power back to the toddler. Toddlers get to make very few choices in life, and I think that can be incredibly frustrating for them, when they so badly want independence. This clock gives them independence, because they can watch the clock and when it turns green they know they can get up. It changes everything to black and white (or, I guess, black and white and green).
Do Yourself a Favor, and Buy the Clock
I’m so happy I finally purchased this thing. I have been told by many siblings and friends over the years that it made a huge difference in their household. I have honestly never heard someone say it didn’t work for their toddler. Everyone is raving about this thing, and for good reason!
Grab the clock, give your toddler some independence, and enjoy brushing your teeth in silence. Ah, pure bliss.