To help prevent problems at bedtime you should develop a bedtime routine that you follow closely each night. This routine can include taking a bath, brushing her teeth, saying prayers, talking, and reading a book. A good way to end the routine is to read a book or story after your child is tucked into bed. You can warn her that bedtime is near after the story is finished and then end the routine by turning the light off and saying goodnight. Remind her that she is not allowed to leave her bed until morning. Ignore any further requests or questions.
Once your child has been put to bed, you should be strict about the rule of not leaving the bedroom. If she does get up and comes out, quickly return her to her room and remind her that she has to sleep in her own bed. Ignore all protests or requests and keep your interactions with her to a minimum (no bedtime hug or kiss this time). If she continues to leave the room you can warn her that you will have to close the door. You should follow up on this warning if she keeps leaving the room. You can stand outside the door and let her know that you will open the door again if she gets back in bed and stays there.You should also consider closing the bedroom door if she continues to cry or protest going back to bed. Again, let her know that you will open it again if she quitely goes back to bed. You may need to lock the door if she is able to open the door and continues to come out. This is a necessary step to make sure that your child does not hurt herself while she is awake and able to wander around the house.
While the first few nights of this treatment may be difficult and your child will probably cry and protest, she will quickly learn how to fall asleep on her own and sleep through the night. Other steps you can take to help with this process is to cut back on daytime sleeping and consider a later bedtime, since your child is less likely to protest or repeatedly wake up if she is very tired. And remember to praise your child when she does sleep through the night, stays in her own room or goes to bed without protesting.
You should not feel guilty about letting your child cry or locking their bedroom door. Children usually have bedtime problems because they are trying to test your limits or because of poor sleep habits. Rarely are these problems caused by real fears, but you should comfort and reassure your child if she is truely afraid.