A sleepless night spent in bed with your child definitely has repercussions the next day for the entire family, not to mention you. When children start making a habit of sleeping in mom and dad’s bed and not their own your sleep patterns change and so do theirs. Finding a way to get them into their own beds can sometimes be a difficult road but here are some tips and suggestions for getting your child to sleep in their own bed.
Communicate with them
Children need to understand why they’re doing something. Going to bed is no exception. If your child has been sleeping in your room or, worse, your bed for awhile, it’s silly and unrealistic to think that they’re just going to accept and understand why you now want them in their own room. Talking with them about sleeping in their own room and how big boys and girls sleep in their own beds is just the beginning. If they are young, they may not completely understand why you’re making them leave, but at least it’s a starting point. It might take several talks a day for a long time before they understand how important sleeping in their own bed is.
Make their room a fun place to be
For many people, young and old, their bedroom is simply where they sleep. For young children in particular, however, it’s more than a place to sleep. Let them pick out bedding and nightlights to match and maybe paint colors, curtains and other accessories, depending upon how much you want to do. When children feel comfortable, they tend to stay there longer. Creating a fun, comfortable and relaxing atmosphere in the bedroom can help them stay in their rooms and sleep on their own.
When I say “be prepared” I’m not just talking about the number of times they will probably get out of bed to come and get you, or climb into bed with you. I’m also talking about preparing ahead of time for “I’m thirsty” or “I need to go to the bathroom.” Instead of waiting for them to grab hold of that opportunity to get out of bed one more time, place a cup of water beside their bed so there is one less reason for them to get up. Having them go to the bathroom before they go to bed will eliminate the bathroom excuse over time. Make a big deal out of this being the last time he or she will get to go to the bathroom for the night. If they do happen to need another potty break them make sure that it’s just a potty break. Take them to the bathroom and then back to bed; no questions.
Childproof the bedroom
Most toddlers, when left in a room by themselves, won’t stay put in their beds so make sure that there’s nothing in the bedroom that they can hurt themselves on or with. Make their books and a few toys available to them to encourage them to stay in their room. More often than not they will fall asleep looking at books or playing with a toy. If you’re not in the area, keep a monitor close to you so you can hear what he or she is doing. If it sounds dangerous then you may have to intervene, but until then let them be.
When it comes to raising children, getting them to sleep in their own bed can be a difficult obstacle to overcome. Hopefully some of these tips and suggestions will encourage them to sleep in their own bed so you and they can get back on the path to healthier sleep habits.