Q&A: Won't Sleep in Crib?

My two-year-old has started waking up at around 3 a.m. and climbing into our bed. She goes to sleep in her own crib fine but always ends up in our bed. Is there any way I can prevent this from happening?
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By Conner Herman and Kira Ryan, Dream Team Baby Sleep Consultants
Updated January 30, 2017
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Ahh, a case of the midnight snuggle visitor. The first night, it’s sort of cute. The second night, you realize you don’t sleep all that soundly with a toddler foot resting in your clavicle. The third night, you’re kicking yourself (or is that your kid doing the kicking?) for creating a bad habit.

This exact dilemma is one of the reasons we recommend that parents keep their children in a crib until at least three years of age. Until then, toddlers are just too impulse-driven and tempted to seek out comfort from Mom and Dad.

If your child has already transitioned to a toddler bed, you have two options. One, move them back to a crib — but only if they can’t climb out. The other option is to keep them in their toddler bed but teach them it’s not an option to leave their room until the morning. This might involve camping outside the door for a few nights to return them to their bed. You may even have to shut the door to keep them inside. This can be trying, but if you put in the work, it’ll eventually pay off — and allow you to reclaim your side of the bed.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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