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For Parents

Parenting Tips

Taming the Night Crawlers

Dear Janie,

My 27-month-old son recently began climbing out of his bed. I’ve tried everything to get him to stay in bed. I’ve calmly walked him back to bed, talked to him about it, used a lock on his door, spanked him, but nothing works. He just throws a fit and climbs out again. I’ve let him cry it out with a locked door, but he can carry on for hours if you let him. I’ve tried calming him down and then returning him to bed, but he climbs out again.

I’m at a loss of what to do next. He won’t stay in his bed to calmly play or have quiet time at naptime or bedtime. I’ve even explained that to him. The only thing that has changed recently is he got a new mattress and can now climb out of bed. Help!


Dear Mom,

“GO BACK TO BED!” This favorite phrase comes from the helpful children’s book The Sleep Fairy. Many children have heard their parents shout “GO BACK TO BED” many nights out of frustration. So, you are not alone in your struggles.

An identical story came across my path, not too long ago, and the solution took only 3 nights of doubt, consistency, and a little magic from The Sleep Fairy to remedy a momma’s 27-month-old’s (Delaney) bedtime problems.

Night(mare) #1: Mom read The Sleep Fairy story. Delaney got out of bed a whopping 145 times over a 2-hour, 4-minute period. Each time Delaney got out of bed she cried, screamed, and kicked. Mom put her back in bed each time WITHOUT SAYING A WORD (this is a critical part of the success).

Night(crawler) #2: Mom was consistent and her nightmare was evolving into a slower, less stubborn night crawler. Once again, Mom read The Sleep Fairy. This night Delaney got out of bed only 14 times over a 15-minute period. Delaney was still throwing a fit, but Mom consistently put her back in bed without speaking to her daughter.

Night(light) #3: Mom was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel! Mom read The Sleep Fairy. On this night Delaney informed Mom that she would stay in her bed all night so that the Sleep Fairy would visit. To Mom’s relief Delaney didn’t get out of bed a single time! Delaney was delighted to get her reward from the very happy Sleep Fairy the next morning.

If you can fight the doubt in your mind, you will find that your night owl will stop crying, stay in bed, and stop the tantrums. You will soon see that your consistency will pay off with sweet dreams and peaceful bedtimes.