Discovering your toddler has started sleeping on the floor can be puzzling or concerning for any parent. Why would they choose the hard floor when they have a perfectly comfortable bed they could be using? The concept is confusing enough, but after a few nights of trying to convince your toddler to sleep in their bed; instead, you’re probably frustrated or worried. Why does your toddler refuse to sleep in their bed? Here are a few things to consider.
1. Toddlers want to be able to make their own choices
Your toddler likes to assert their power whenever they can. No is certainly one of their favorite words. Choosing to sleep on the floor might just be another way they are choosing something for themselves. Your child can’t change that it is sleep time, but they can choose to sleep somewhere other than their bed. In most cases, your toddler choosing to sleep on the floor is completely harmless. You might try putting them to bed once they fall asleep, but they are very likely to wake up in the middle of the night and move back to the floor.
2. Try making up a bed on the floor
If you can’t get your toddler to move back to their bed, you can try to make them up a bed on the floor. Try moving their mattress to the floor or making up a bed with blankets and pillows to make them more comfortable. Some toddlers will still refuse to use the mattress or blankets laid out for them, but giving them the option might help you feel better about this new behavior. If they do choose to use the mattress, it may be easier to transition them back into their bed with a little time.
3. Make sure they are warm enough
Dress your toddler appropriately for the weather, taking into consideration how cold the floors can get for the season. A nice fleecy onesie and socks will keep them warm in autumn or winter. In the summer, you probably don’t need to worry very much. As long as your house is well insulated and the floors are not drafty, your toddler is unlikely to get too cold lying there. You know the temperature in your house the best, so keep that in mind when dressing your little one for bed.
4. Moving them might not be worth it
Before you decide to move your sleeping toddler, consider the potential consequences. Some toddlers do not take well to being moved while they are sleeping. Your toddler might wake up and be difficult to get back to sleep. Some toddlers become very upset if they wake up somewhere different than where they fell asleep. Lastly, nothing is stopping your toddler from climbing back out of bed and going back to sleep on the floor if you do move them. Moving them to their bed once they fall asleep might be a losing battle.
5. Ask them why they don’t like their bed
It may seem almost too easy just to ask your toddler why they don’t want to sleep in their bed, but if they can communicate well enough with you, they may be able to give you a clear answer. Your toddler might have an answer for you, after all, or they might not. They might not even know what the answer is. It is definitely worth asking, though, as the solution could be something as simple as they are too warm or they are uncomfortable there. Sometimes the explanation can be as easy as wanting a change of pace. Without a way to effectively communicate what a whim is, your toddler may not know how to explain their reasoning to you.
6. Sleeping on the floor is still sleep
Trying to fight a toddler to sleep in their bed and not on the floor might drive a parent crazy. Before you lose your mind over the situation, take a few deep breaths. Are you feeling calmer? Now ask yourself a few very important questions. Is your toddler otherwise happy and healthy? Are they well-rested? Have they had any mood or behavior changes other than this? As long as everything else seems alright, it might just be that you have to let this one go and be grateful that they are sleeping at all. Sleep is sleep, no matter where they get it.
7. Has anything changed recently?
Think about your toddler’s circumstances. Has something changed for them in the days or weeks leading up to their new floor sleeping habit? It could be something as big as a new sibling or moving to a new daycare or house or something as little as a new blanket or a minor change to their daily routine. Any change can make a toddler prone to acting out and digging their heels in about something. Doing so is perfectly normal and healthy. If your toddler feels more control over themselves by choosing to sleep on the floor instead of their bed in response to a change in another area of their lives, then there’s no harm in letting them.
8. Grin and bear it – it’s just a phase
In the end, as long as your toddler is healthy, happy, and sleeping at all, then you don’t need to stress about them sleeping on the floor. Sleeping on the floor is a phase that a lot of toddlers go through somewhere around 2 or 3 years old, and it is nothing to be concerned about. Some children will continue to go through occasional periods where they choose to sleep on the floor well into their teenage years. Your toddler will probably sleep on the floor for a couple of weeks before abruptly deciding to sleep in their bed again. As with most phases, the behavior will go as quickly as it came, and life will go back to normal.