When can I start using rewards to help little ones stay in bed overnight?
Using rewards (small sticker, stamp, access to a special toy, or engaging in a special activity with mom or dad) to help motivate a little one to stay in bed overnight can be a great strategy depending on a little one’s age. One reason that this does not work well with young children is because staying in bed overnight is a very long time to wait for a reward. Also, you may be accidentally rewarding your child when they just happen to sleep more deeply, not necessarily on nights when they woke up and made the decision to stay in the room. Overall, by the time a child is in kindergarten he will be more likely to respond well to a program that rewards staying in his room all night than a preschooler might. You can certainly try doing this with a preschooler, but it would likely be better to reward something like going through the bedtime routine calmly so you can give a reward immediately to the younger child.About Dr. Sarah Honaker