My 3 Year Old Won’t Stay In Bed: What To Do About It 

Good night sleep tight.

But your toddler doesn’t sleep at night. They have other plans. From staying up in their room well after their bedtime to never seeming to fall asleep no matter what you do, and waking up in the middle of the night, it seems like your toddler won’t fall asleep. What is there to do? 


It’s common for toddlers to do this. Why does it happen? Let’s find out. 

Your Toddler Is Curious 

At three, your toddler is becoming more developed. They can talk, comprehend things, possibly use the toilet, and be able to do a whole lot more. The world seems curious to them, and they often don’t want to fall asleep. This can make it harder for them to stay in bed. 

They Aren’t Worn Out 

Toddlers are energetic and are like the Energizer Bunny. If your child has been cooped up in the house all day and hasn’t played much, that may be why they are having so much trouble falling asleep. You may need to wear them out before they can fall asleep. 

Too Much Screen Time Before Bed 

This is a problem, especially in an age where everyone is on their phones or tablets. The blue light from phones can damage one’s melatonin and make it harder for them to fall asleep. There are blue light filters you can use, but even then, the dopamine rush your toddler may get can make the problem. 


Sleep Regression

Sometimes, a toddler has sleep regression. This is usually around the time they drop their naps, and sometimes that can lead to sleep regression. It can be quite a hassle. 

Poor Sleep Rituals

If you are sending your toddler to bed immediately after an energetic day, they may have a hard time being able to go to bed. Make sure you dedicate an hour to wind them down.

Another Medical Problem

Usually, your toddler’s sleep problem is temporary and goes away with time. But if you suspect it to be a sign of something more serious, it maybe worth it to talk to a doctor and rule out anything serious. 

What To Do About It?

If your toddler doesn’t seem to want to go to bed and stays up, here are some ways you can help. 

  • Don’t Lose Your Temper 

It can be annoying to see your toddler not go to bed when you want to, and you may feel like shouting and screaming. However, sometimes your toddler can’t help it, and yelling at your toddler will make it harder for them to go to bed. Instead…

  • Reward Your Toddler 

Every time your toddler goes to bed successfully, give them a reward. From praising them to making sure they have the occasional treat, positive reinforcement is one of the best ways you can help your toddler.

  • Let Them Out If They Can’t Sleep 

If your toddler is having trouble sleeping, sometimes staying in the bed will make the problems worse. Your toddler may associate the bed and the bedroom with not being able to sleep. Take your toddler out. Read them a nice book and give them a glass of milk. Put them to bed when they are tired. This is good for anyone who is dealing with insomnia. If you yourself are tossing and turning, get out of bed and do something. 

  • Play Some White Noise

White noise can make it easier to sleep, especially when there are bumps in the night. A fan, or a device that can play rain sounds or other ambient noises can tire your kid out and make it easier for them to fall asleep. 

  • The Importance Of Unwinding 

We can’t stress it enough. Having an unwinding process is important if you want your toddler to fall asleep. Here is what a typical unwinding process can look like. 

An hour before bed, stop all play time. If there are devices, put them to bed by charging them. Have your toddler say night night to their playing environment. With that said, do make sure your toddler has enough play time and don’t feel too afraid to give them a little extra.

Give them a nice, warm bath. It can help tire out your kid and plus it just feels relaxing. Play some soft music while you do so and make sure that your child isn’t playing too rowdily. 

Take them to the bedroom and dim the lights. Read them a nice bedtime story and tell them that if they need to get up and use the bathroom, that’s okay, but otherwise, go to sleep. 

At this point, they should be tired enough to go to sleep. If not, you may need to unwind a little earlier.

  • Keep It Consistent 

Always keep the bedtime routine consistent whenever possible. Some nights, you may have to change it up a bit, but otherwise, make sure your child is waking up, napping, and going to bed at the same time. Always changing the schedule can be a reason why your toddler just can’t be able to sleep. 

  • Your Toddler Shouldn’t Fear You But They Shouldn’t Rely On You 

If your toddler feels sick, has a nightmare, or has another problem, they should be able to tell you without worry. However, for every other problem, the toddler shouldn’t wake you up and rely on you. If a toddler has to go to the bathroom, use night lights to guide their way. 

  • Seek Help

Again, if your toddler is having a problem falling asleep, it may be an example of a bigger problem. In a case like that, taking them a counselor or a pediatrician may be the best move. Remember that your toddler will fall eventually fall back asleep. Sleep disruptions happen at any time of life and they can be a hassle, but with a little patience and love, you can be able to get past your toddler’s sleep problems and help them get the rest needed. 


DISCLAIMER (IMPORTANT): This information (including all text, images, audio, or other formats on is not intended to be a substitute for informed professional advice, diagnosis, endorsement or treatment. You should not take any action or avoid taking action without consulting a qualified professional.   Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions about medical conditions. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here a

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