- Toddlers may choose to sleep on the floor for a variety of reasons, but it's nothing to worry about.
- There are no inherent health risks to warrant stopping your child from sleeping on the floor.
- Double-check that your child's room is babyproofed to ensure they stay safe during the night.
- Consider whether your child's pyjamas are sufficient for a night spent on the floor.
Have you ever crept into your child's room during the night, expecting to find them curled up in their cot or toddler bed, only to find your toddler sleep on floor?
As strange as it may sound, it's completely normal and relatively common for your toddler to suddenly express an interest in sleeping on the floor rather than in their lovely, comfy bed.
In this article, we'll talk about the potential reasons why your toddler has made this unusual transition, how long the phase might last, and even some unexpected benefits of your toddler sleeping on the floor.
Should I Let My Toddler Sleep On The Floor? The most important thing to remember is that sleeping on the floor is just a phase and it's nothing to worry about. There is no good reasons why you wouldn't let your little one sleep on the floor, if they are perfectly happy there.
If you have a toddler, you might be wondering if they really still need their naps - especially if they are becoming difficult to put down. And you might want to know when naps stop being beneficial?
Can My Toddler Sleep On The Floor?
In some cultures, sleeping on the floor is considered dangerous or unhealthy - but most of these reasons don't apply to modern Western society.
For example, old or rural houses in some countries may have had concrete or even mud floors, causing the floor to feel cold from rising damp. In these instances, it makes sense that people would express a concern that sleeping on the floor could cause a chill, illness, or even arthritis.
Today, the vast majority of houses in Western countries do not have problems with cold or damp floors.
Are There Any Dangers To A Toddler Sleeping On The Floor?
The first time you see your toddler sleep on floor, you may worry that this practice is dangerous or unhealthy for your child.
In general, there is nothing to fear if your toddler wants to sleep on the floor - provided you don't have any indoor pets or sleepwalking children or adults who could inadvertently step on your child while they're asleep.
If your child shares a room with you or a sibling, having them sleep on the floor could pose a risk, but that's something you'll need to assess based on your circumstances.
Why A Toddler May Choose To Sleep On The Floor
Toddlerhood is a tricky time to navigate - for children and parents alike. Sometimes your toddler feels like a big kid, ready to separate from you and take on the world.
But at other times, they want nothing more than to be a baby, safe and secure in your arms. They're also busy testing the waters, wondering what they can get away with and what you'll stop them from doing.
These competing feelings can leave your child feeling confused and frustrated - and this can cause some interesting behaviours.
Choosing to sleep on the floor is just one way that your toddler could try exerting some power - giving them a chance to feel like they’re in charge of something as important as where they sleep.
Alternatively, your toddler may be interested in sleeping on the floor for sensory reasons. Perhaps the firmness of the floor is comforting, or they're uncomfortable in their bed for some reason.
Perhaps your child had a nightmare in their bed and are afraid to return there. Whatever the reason, your toddler may not be able to express themselves to you.
Rest assured that the reason is most likely something to do with independence, power, or sensory preferences, and usually nothing to worry about.
Supporting Your Toddler During A 'Sleeping On The Floor' Phase
Make A Bed On The Floor
Rather than fighting your toddler's decision to sleep on the floor, why not help your toddler sleep on floor by making up a comfortable bed for them. Drag out a toddler-safe mattress or sleeping bag, and allow them to choose a pillow and favourite blanket to sleep with.
Once your toddler understands that you're supporting this unusual power-play rather than fighting them on it, the phase may be over before it's really started.
Dress Them Appropriately
If you suspect your toddler will climb out of their bed and sleep on the floor - or if you've allowed them to sleep on the floor during this period - consider whether they'll be warm enough during the night.
During colder months, choose fleecy one-piece pyjamas or winter PJs with socks, as they may end up sleeping without a banket.
During summer, a thin pair of socks will give you comfort knowing their little toes aren’t getting cold in the middle of the night.
How To Baby-Proof A Room If Your Toddler Sleeps On The Floor
If your toddler is sleeping on the floor - or otherwise regularly climbing out of their cot or toddler bed - it's important to take some practical steps to ensure your child's safety in their bedroom.
The easiest way to assess any potential risks is to physically get down to your child's height and survey the room from their point of view. Consider the following:
- Ensure power outlets are fitted with secure child-proof plugs.
- Check that all furniture is appropriately anchored to the wall so it can't topple over.
- If there is a changing table in your child's room, make sure that any powders or creams are out of reach.
- Check that toys and books in your child's room are soft and safe for them to play without supervision. Remove any noisy toys, toys with small pieces, and - depending on the age of your child - heavy books or those with sharp corners.
The Unexpected Benefit Of Allowing Your Toddler To Sleep On The Floor
Extra Sleep For Parents
By allowing your child to sleep on the floor if they choose, you may be setting yourself up for some extra uninterrupted sleep. If your toddler is unhappy in their bed for whatever reason, they'll soon cry or call out as soon as they wake up.
By letting your toddler choose their sleeping location, there is more chance that they will settle themselves back to sleep if they wake up during the night, or quietly play or explore the room when they first wake up in the morning.
Should you let your toddler sleep on floor? In many respects, parenting is about choosing your battles. Your headstrong toddler is busy testing the boundaries - seeing what they can get away with and how much control they can exert over their own lives.
Wearing pyjamas to school or refusing to eat anything but cupcakes - those are battles you need to take on and win. But sleeping on the floor in an otherwise safe room, provided your toddler is warm enough, that's a battle you don't need to take on.
Your toddler will soon realise that sleep is much more comfortable in their own bed, and the phase will be over.