Here’s Why Your Kid Kicks Off The Covers, According To Experts

Between your child’s nightly requests to read just one more book to pleas for an extra glass of water, bedtime often becomes a nightly battle. But the war really begins once your child is asleep. Even though you tucked them in for the night, you might find their covers flung onto the floor when you check in on them. So if you’ve ever wondered why your kid kicks off the covers, this is what you need to know.

As a parent, you don’t ever want your kid to be uncomfortable, which is why seeing your babe curled up in a ball while their blanket is at the bottom of the bed can be unsettling. Of course, you don’t want your kiddo to be cold, but more than that, you want to avoid broken sleep — for both of you. Since sleep is sacrilege, it’s important to investigate why your kid kicks off the covers, so that you can both safely get a good night’s sleep.

This is why your kid kicks off the covers, according to experts.

kid kicks off the coversThe Room Is Too Warm

The one thing that pretty much all parents can agree upon is that they don’t want their child to be cold during the night. And that can cause you to either cover your kiddo in big bulky blankets, push your thermostat to the limit — or both. Thing is, neither is a good idea, says Susan Miller, a certified sleep expert. “Your child may be too warm and needs to regulate their body temperature by kicking off the covers,” says Miller. So what is the best temperature for sleep? The answer might surprise you: “The ideal room temperature for sleeping is generally between 60-67°F (15.6-19.4°C),” Miller adds.

Their Blanket Might Be To Blame

Your Mario and Luigi-loving child was so excited to get a comforter with their favorite characters on it. But that Bowser blanket might not be the best fit for your child’s sleep needs. Some children may need a heavier cover (like a weighted blanket) while others prefer a simple top sheet to lightly cover them. “Consider using lightweight, breathable bedding appropriate for the temperature in the room,” advises Miller. Before bedtime, you can try a couple of different options to see which one your child likes best. That way, you have a better chance of keeping them covered during the night.

They Have Sensory Issues

Just like some infants love being swaddled while others scream incessantly, your toddler might not like the idea of being tucked in come bedtime. Why? Well, it all comes down to the same premise of recreating that snug space that they experienced in the womb. But constriction doesn’t always equal comfort, and that can be a key factor in why your kid kicks off the covers. “A child who kicks off the covers may feel confined by the covers or the texture of the sheets,” explains Miller.

And that’s not all. The actual feeling of the cover could be enough to turn your child into a nighttime ninja. “Sensory issues, such as the texture of the sheets, might be the reason why your child doesn’t want to be covered,” explains Miller. Plus, as your child switches from sleeping on their stomach to their side, their blanket might bunch up, and that could be uncomfortable. Adds Cherilyn Cecchini, M.D., a board-certified pediatrician: “Kids may kick off the covers at night simply uncomfortable with how their blanket is positioned.”

They’re Restless Sleepers

Your child is a ball of energy during the day, so is it any wonder that they’re just as active at night? “Some kids simply are in a lighter stage of sleep where movements are more frequent,” says Miller. “This can be especially common in toddlers and preschoolers who may still be adjusting to a regular sleep pattern and may have more restless or active sleep.”

But sleep problems might reveal an underlying medical issue. Researchers found that children who have ADHD can have problems falling and staying asleep at night. It’s also possible that restless sleep is connected to other comorbidities like restless leg syndrome and obstructive sleep apnea. If you think that your child is struggling to stay still while they sleep, you should speak with your pediatrician to see what the cause of their restless sleep disorder (RSD) might be and how to treat it.

Adds Cecchini: If your child is waking up very often and is sweating a lot even in a cool room with light pajamas and a light blanket, talk to your pediatrician to be sure that nothing else is causing the disruption of their sleep.”

The Room Isn’t Conducive For Sleep

Setting the stage for a better bedtime can also help your child sleep through the night without ditching their duvet. Before your child even gets into bed, create a calming bedtime routine. For example, you can run a warm bath and use soothing scents like lavender or vanilla. Keep the lights low and read a book together, and above all, try to limit the tech, since it can be stimulating and mess up your child’s circadian rhythm. Miller agrees, adding: “It’s important to make sure your toddler’s sleeping environment is comfortable and conducive to sleep.” Remember, you want your child to be relaxed (and not revved up) before bedtime.


That’s Just How They Are

Your child is full of big opinions. They know what they wear and what they want to eat (dino nuggs, anyone?), so it shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that they also might prefer to sleep sans covers. “In some cases, a child kicking off the covers is just a habit or preference,” says Cecchini. “So you don’t need to recover them unless they wake up and are feeling cold.”

Making sure that your child is snug as a bug in a rug at bedtime isn’t ideal for all kids. “It’s okay if your child is kicking off the covers every so often and is otherwise sleeping comfortably,” says Cecchini. Still, a pediatrician can screen for any underlying issues. By understanding why your kid kicks off the covers, you’ll keep both yourself (and your child) covered.



Cherilyn Cecchini, M.D., a board-certified pediatrician

Susan Miller, a certified sleep expert


Kapoor, V., Ferri, R., Stein, M., Ruth, C., Reed, J., DelRosso, L. “Restless sleep disorder in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.” 2021 Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine

Lucas, I., Mulraney, M., Sciberras, E. “Sleep problems and daytime sleepiness in children with ADHD: Associations with social, emotional, and behavioral functioning at school, a cross-sectional study.” 2019, Behavioral Sleep Medicine

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