The Next Morning
How'd your kid do? If not so great, keep encouraging him and reminding him of the new rules. If he made it through the night -- or even made some improvements -- bring on the praise. He's a big kid! He can do it! Toddlers and preschoolers, thank goodness, thrive on pleasing you.
Prizes are also generally welcomed by little kids. You could let your child pick a small "sleep treat" from a grab bag in the morning or leave one under his pillow. I admit it: I lured my younger daughter, Flora, back to her bed with prizes. Borrowing an idea from Janie Peterson, author of The Sleep Fairy, I told Flora that the Sleep Fairy (sort of like the Tooth Fairy) leaves stickers, small toys, and other goodies under sleeping children's pillows. It worked like a dream. Within a week, she was in the habit of staying in bed, and the prizes weren't even a big issue.
It may take more than one tactic to entice your child into his bed. But whatever you do, be consistent and have faith! Colleen and Rob, the parents of bed-hog Jenna, stuck it out and report that now their problem is getting her up in the morning. Well, at least everyone's getting some rest.