How can my toddler learn to stay in his room at night?
Toddlers love to test boundaries and can come in and out of their rooms asking for a drink, a story, to go to the bathroom, to tell you something, etc. We call these “curtain calls.” You can use a technique called the “bedtime pass.” Make a pass with your toddler. Tell them they can use it once at the start of the night for any reason. After they hand the pass to you, they need to stay in their room and no more requests. You can reward them in the morning for doing this, such as with a stamp or sticker.
After your little one earns a certain number of stamps or stickers (say 1 to 4 – depending on your toddler’s age and how long they are able to wait for a reward), you can offer them a lucky dip! A lucky dip is when you let your child choose a surprise from a small bin of prizes. To do this, first collect several very small gifts or new, exciting items that your toddler will like, wrap them up, and put them in a container. Then, each time they earn the set amount of stamps or stickers, they get to choose one prize from the container. This can help to keep your child motivated to stick with the new rules for longer.
You may want to read the book The Old Bedtime Pass Puncher with your child, which demonstrates using a bedtime pass.