(Hadley Hooper for The Washington Post)

“Because we didn’t want her to be scared, feel isolated or think of her room as a prison, we left her door open at first, but that simply made it easier for her to leave. We then shut the door, but she quickly learned to open it. When we gave her a sticker for staying in her bed, she wanted another sticker even though she had gotten out of it again. And when we put her back to bed, she thought it was a game and giggled the entire time!” says one of her parents in a letter to Family Almanac columnist Marguerite Kelly.

Kelly says this little girl wants to show her independence by hopping out of bed once the lights go out. But not to worry, says Kelly. This phase of her toddler life will soon pass.

“In another six months, you can probably take off the doorknob cover and even leave the door open because she won’t need to prove her independence as much as she does now,” Kelly says. “You’re not only teaching your daughter to fall asleep like a pro, you’re also teaching her a skill that is, for you, non-negotiable...This is one of the minor miracles of parenthood. Children instinctively know which goals their mother or father values most, and as long as they feel loved and respected, they’ll try to reach them.”

How have you taught your children to stay in bed when it’s time to go to sleep? What advice would you give this parent?

Related content

On Parenting: ‘Go the [Expletive] to Sleep,’ a parenting zeitgeist

Advice from Marguerite Kelly, Carolyn Hax and more