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My son is 1 year, 10 months and he is used to sleep on a mattress on a floor. At the very beginning, he was in a crib but it didn't last long. We decided to put him on a mattress mainly for safety reasons.

To put him asleep, me or my wife lay next to him on the floor until he falls asleep. This usually lasts 1-2 hours. During this time, he climbs on us, talks to us, kisses us, throws his bottle on our head, walks out of the bed, and sometimes runs to the door.

It was not that bad until recently when it started to get close to the 2 hours mark every day.

We do have a night routine of bath, eat, clean teeth, go to bed, and we do it more or less at the same time. It works great, except the last bit where it gets really frustrating.

Usually, he sleeps ~9 hours a night, but he can wake up once or twice. He runs to our room, we take him to his bed, and lay on the floor next to him until he falls asleep. This can take somewhere between 10 minutes and up to 2 hours in extreme cases.

To me it's pretty clear that we can do better as parents to instill good sleep habits in our son, which will make his and our sleep better.

I was thinking to just announce to him one day that he is going to sleep by himself, and try to stick to the new routine at least for a week or two. I imagine in the first couple of days he won't understand what's going on, why we are not laying down next to him. He won't understand what he is expected to do. He'll just walk out of the room the second we leave, in which case we just put him back to bed. This will probably last >20 times until he gets the idea.

Usually, during night, he climbs from his mattress to the floor (probably because he is used that we are there), and I get the feeling that maybe a mattress is not the best idea and he needs a proper bed with boundaries so he won't fall down while asleep.

How would you go about improving the night routine?

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    What's his nap schedule like? I wonder if he might just not be tired when it's bedtime (and when is bedtime by the way?). – Becuzz Mar 1 at 12:16
  • Our son has a little girl in the same age. ( Both parents have been scared as they have lost a baby 3years ago to days before it was born. So they are maybe a little overprotective.) The baby always slept in their bed even it had an own room and a bed. It took almost to years that they realized that this can’t go on like this. When they started to make her sleep in her own bed she climbed out during the night and came into her room. She als climbed above the grill higher than she and fell on the floor. It was very hard to keep strong and let her not come back. Now she has learnt it. – Albrecht Hügli Mar 1 at 15:45
  • @Becuzz He attends a daycare where he sleeps normally like other kids once at around 12:30pm. During the weekends, we gave up on trying to put him to bed after lunch, so he ends up sleeping a bit in a car or stroller when we go outside. In the evening, we take him to bed at 7:30pm-8pm. – Misha Moroshko Mar 1 at 19:11
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Get a toddler bed, if you are able to. I'm not sure where you are located. A toddler bed is smaller than a regular twin size, and the bed usually has some kind of guard rails to help prevent rolling out of bed.

You also have to stop staying in the room for so long. My child gets restless and refuses to sleep if I linger too long. The "wait until she falls asleep thing" just doesn't work. As she's gotten older, she has gotten better. Sometimes she would cry for anywhere from 5-15 minutes after leaving the room. Now that she's almost 4 years old, she really only fusses about going to bed and then delaying with stories or not wanting me to leave her alone.

The best thing to do (IMO): give your hugs and kisses, turn off the light, tell your son good night and you'll see him in the morning, and shut the door and walk away.

If he throws a fit: wait about 10 minutes or so. If he's tired enough, he'll sleep. If it goes on too long, check on him. Maybe you need a night light to help. A couple of minutes of comforting is all you need and try again to leave him to fall asleep.

If he leaves his room: pick him up and put him back to bed. Don't scold him, but remind him its bed time and he needs to sleep. Don't make it seem fun.

My daughter had some struggles sleeping when she transitioned from crib to bed; most of it was either crying and screaming because she didn't want to be alone (but wouldn't just fall asleep either, I found myself spending up to an hour at a time with her too) or she would get up and start playing, in the dark mind you, with her toys until she got tired and went to bed herself (sometimes I think she would fall asleep on the floor).

I think you are on the right track for what to do.

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You’ve got some good answers, but I want to say what seems to have worked for me. I’d also recommend "The no cry sleep solution" for a load of tips.

Night time is for sleeping. The room should be dark (get a black out blind and minimise night lights). The bed should be comfortable and boring. No (few!) toys, "no" attention. We even minimised eye contact! Cuddles are ok, though, but feign sleep and scowl a bit and turn away if they try to play. They don’t get out of bed until wake up time (unless they’re sick or really upset). Also, bed times are the same time every night, and there is no return to playing until morning.

Check for pain or discomfort, too.

Alternatives that I’ve heard of are "the gradual retreat" (where you start off in their bed but make your way closer to the door on each successive night until you’re eventually outside the door) or the "be right back" (where you go away to hang up washing or some other short task, but you will come back in just a moment and they should try to sleep right now).

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Your rituals are good and helpful. Put the matress in a corner and close the open side with a another mattress. This is not a cage or a prison. This is a most important help for your son and you to have your needed sleeptime.

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