Some parents are unaware that the sleep habits they allow – or even promote – in their children can be difficult to break.
While some parents don’t mind a family bed, others believe that being elbowed in the face and kicked in the head all night isn’t conducive to a good night’s sleep. Allowing children to sleep in your bed may also impact your relationship with your partner.
Convincing your child to sleep in his own bed once they’ve gotten into the habit of sleeping in yours might be difficult. Kids who don’t want to sleep alone can be tenacious, whether they refuse to sleep in their own bed or crawl into your bed halfway through the night.
If you’re sick of sharing your bed, there are several things you can do to reclaim it. Here are seven strategies for getting your child to sleep in their own bed.
Create a sleep-friendly environment in your child’s bedroom
Make sure your child’s room is sleep-friendly before you start insisting on him staying in his room all night. A relaxing setting reduces nocturnal anxiety and promotes sleep.
However, each youngster has a different sense of a peaceful atmosphere. While one youngster may prefer white noise and a night light, another may prefer a stuffed animal, total darkness, and full silence.
Experiment with a few different items to discover which ones make your youngster feel the most at ease. Easing your child’s nocturnal worries can be crucial in encouraging them to sleep independently.
Establish clear expectations
Talk to your child ahead of time about the changes you intend to make to their sleeping habits. Tell them: “You’ve been sleeping in my bed every night since you were sick two weeks ago. You’re going to start sleeping in your bed again tonight.”
Recognise and validate your child’s emotions. Instead of saying, “Don’t be scared of sleeping in your room,” say, “I know it can sometimes feel scary sleeping alone when you’re not used to it, but I know you can do it because you’re big and brave.”
Take it one step at a time
If your child has been sleeping in your bed for a long time, possibly even their entire life, they will want some assistance in making the move to their own bed. Make a step-by-step plan to assist your child in gaining independence a little at a time.
For example, you could tell your child that they can sleep in your room but only on their own mattress, on the floor. You might also sleep in their room until they feel more at ease. Then gradually move them to sleep in their own bed.
Create a healthy bedtime routine
A healthy bedtime routine will assist your child in unwinding and preparing for sleep.
A warm bath, a few storybooks, and some cuddling might help your child prepare to sleep in their own bed.
When it’s time to go to bed, turn out the lights and leave the room so your child can practice falling asleep independently.
While many parents want to return a child to their own bed when they sneak into their room in the middle of the night, they are frequently too exhausted or frustrated to do so. However, if you want your child to cease sleeping in your bed, you must deliver a clear and consistent message every night.
If your child sees that their perseverance and protestations are effective, they will learn that misbehaving is an effective way of getting what they want. Make repeated returns to your child’s bed, and don’t make exceptions. Sending mixed messages will only exacerbate the situation.
Provide positive reinforcement
Reward your child when they start sleeping in their own bed. For toddlers and preschoolers, sticker charts work effectively. Reward systems encourage older children to abide by the rules.
Tell your child that if they stay in their bed all night, they can earn “two tokens” or the ability to stay up an extra 15 minutes the next night. Combine prizes and praise, and express your satisfaction with your child’s progress.
Proactively solve problems
When it comes to persuading your child to sleep in their own bed, you will almost certainly run into some difficulties.
Take a step back if your child appears to be regressing. Examine the possible causes why your child has regressed. In some cases, a paediatric sleep expert may be able to help you devise a solution for dealing with the problem as quickly as possible.