Changing a child’s sleeping habits can be difficult. If your child has slept in your bed since infancy, even though you may think it’s time to boot them out, they may have other ideas. I’ve put together some tips here to get your child to sleep in their own bed. Before going on, though, if your child is sleeping in your bed and you and your family are ok with it, rest assured that is perfectly normal. Drop the stigma and shame right here. In most countries, parents sleep with their children for the first several years of life. On a world level, co-sleeping is normal with even some health benefits for all involved. So, let’s get some tips on how to get your child to sleep in their own bed.
Quick Or Slow Transition?
Changing a sleeping habit can be difficult for all involved, especially if your child was sleeping well and feeling safe. There may be tears so be prepared for that. Assure your child that he or she will be safe and that you still love them. Talk about why it’s time to have them sleep in their own beds. Communication is going to be important. Make sure to hear him or her out, no matter how silly their concerns may sound. Think about if you want to do this cold turkey or slowly transition them every other night. This is going to be highly individual for each situation.
Pets Can Work Wonders
If you have a dog or cat, or another friendly pet, you may want to encourage them to sleep with your child. There is nothing quite so comforting as a warm, soft, loving, and loyal body with a heartbeat for getting a child to sleep. It’s normal for a child not to want to feel isolated. Not only will your child feel safer, but they will be safer. There will be no need to worry about intruders coming in a window with Fido on guard. I’m not sure I’d sleep well without the blissful snore of a dog nearby.
Take A Night To Sleep In Your Child’s Bed
To make the transition easier, you may want to take one night or the beginning of a night to sleep with him or her in their own room or bed, to show them that all is well. Be clear that you are just doing this initially or you may have a bigger problem on your hands. Take the time to talk about how nice their bed is and how you are just a room or so away. Reassure them by your calming presence that all will be fine.
Utilize Stuffed Animals or Favorite Blanket
If your child has a favorite stuffed animal or blanket, then make sure that they go to bed with it. I was afraid of being alone for years each night. My family lived in a high crime city, and I was sure someone would come climb up the pole to my bedroom window to our back porch and get me. I had a real fear of someone hiding in my closet also. I’d hear sirens outside and think our house was the next to be hit. Somehow a big stuffed animal, named Ralphie made me feel just a little safer. I’d put Ralphie on my head and crawl under the covers and eventually fall asleep with my big stuffed dog on guard. Recognize that your child’s fears are real and talk about their concerns. It may help to give them a security figure like a blanket or stuffed animal.
Try A Night Light
If your child is afraid of the dark, an inexpensive little night light might work wonders. The goal is to get them to sleep and be well rested, so it shouldn’t matter if a little light helps them feel safer. I had an aquarium with fish by my bed when I was little, and my parents let me keep the light on until I fell asleep. I remember staring at the fish and the next thing I knew it was morning. My mom would turn the light off when she went to bed. As silly as it seems, recognize that your child may be afraid of the dark and provide some light for him or her.
Music May Help
For some children, silence is not golden as the old saying goes. A silent room may just add to the isolated feeling he or she may be experiencing. Try playing some soft music in their room. This will be highly individual and may or may not work for your child. There is no harm in trying. Even some adults need music or white noise like the sound of a fan going, in order to fall sleep.
Routines like sleeping habits can be hard to break. I’ve given some tips here that may or may not help. Try them out and see what works. Experiment and find out what does or doesn’t work for your family. There are no hard or fast rules to this. Be sure to listen to your child’s concerns and especially their fears if they have them, about sleeping without you. Always assure them that they are safe and that you are not going to be far away if they need you. Good luck and I hope sweet dreams are soon in store for all!
For more information, check out our reviews of the Top 10 Baby Cribs of 2018.