Moving an 18-month-old child into a toddler bed occurs for different reasons. Your toddler may be climbing out of his crib or you may be making room for a new baby. Regardless of the reason, 18-month-olds sometimes test the freedom of the toddler bed by getting out when they should be sleeping. Getting your toddler to stay in his bed might require a little strategizing and a whole lot of patience.
Appeal to the Senses
Toddler beds come in a variety of styles. Many of the small beds feature appealing kids' characters and bright colors. Toddler bedding also comes in a variety of patterns. Choose a bed and bedding set that appeals to your 18-month-old. If he likes a particular television character, purchase a bedding set with the character on it. Another option is to take him to the store and let him select the bedding. Adding his favorite blanket and a few special stuffed animals also makes the toddler bed appealing.
Make It a Big Deal
Many toddlers like to feel like big kids, which may work to your advantage during the toddler bed transition. Calling the toddler bed a "big kid bed" may encourage your 18-month-old to sleep and stay in the bed. You can throw a "big kid" bed party, complete with guests and the unveiling of the new sleeping arrangements.
Stick to the Plan
Bedtime routines help toddlers fall asleep regardless of where they are sleeping. If you have a consistent bedtime routine established before you switch to the toddler bed, continue that routine. The familiarity helps signal to your child that it is time to go to sleep. Keep the bedtime routine calming, with all elements the same each night.
Keep It Consistent
If an appealing toddler bed and bedtime routine aren't helping, consistently placing your 18-month-old back in her toddler bed helps teach her to stay there. When your little escape artist sneaks out, take her back to her bed without talking or getting upset. In the beginning, you may need to return her to bed multiple times at night. Eventually, she should learn that she has to stay in her bed. Rocking her to sleep or sitting next to her until he falls asleep makes it necessary for those conditions to be met for her to fall sleep. Unless you want to sit next to her bed every night, it's better to teach her to fall asleep on her own in her toddler bed.