There is nothing sweeter than a snugly sleeping child. No matter how wild, cranky, or bouncy they are in the day, they look absolutely angelic when sleeping. Even though you love snuggling with them in your bed, at some point almost every set of parents find themselves looking for ways to get their kiddo sleeping in their own bed, either for the first time, or once again after a “Can I sleep in your bed” stage.
Your child sleeping in your bed may have started at birth with co-sleep or it could be something that just started recently. Perhaps that one stormy night of sleeping in mommy’s bed turned into a week, then two weeks, and now a month. You wake up throughout the night with knees and elbows poking you in the side, your child sleeping horizontally, and absolutely no blanket on your minuscule side of the bed. You may find yourself asking “How can this tiny creature take up an entire bed by themselves?”
No matter how it started or how long it has been going on, there are some simple tricks and tips that can get your kiddo in their bed once again.
1. Talk with your child. You need to sit down, and casually have a conversation. Maybe grab a box of blocks, start building something together, and while focusing on your block building ask them why they don’t want to sleep in their own bed. Are they scared? Are they lonely? Do they miss you?
2. Explain to them the reasons they need to sleep in their own bed. Everyone has their own bed, it is their space for sleeping and resting. Mommy (or Daddy) sleeps better when they aren’t worried about rolling over on someone, and your bed is the perfect size for you. Use examples, Katie sleeps in her bed, Billy sleeps in his bed, you get to sleep in your bed.
3. State the plan so that everyone knows what will happen, and when, and ask for input. This is an important step, you may want to write this down or draw pictures of your plan for your child. For example, at 7:30 I will help you brush your teeth and get ready for bed. At 7:45, you get to choose a bedtime story and I will read it to you. At 8pm, it is bedtime. I will tell you goodnight, give you a kiss, and turn off the light. That’s when you close your eyes and drift off to sleep. Even if you aren’t sleepy, you still need to close your eyes, relax, and get some rest. Does this sound like a good plan?
4. Find out what your child needs to relax. Are they scared of the dark? Scared of the closet? Lonely? Thirsty? Consider using a nightlight, giving your child a flashlight, or putting them to bed with their favorite stuffed friend. If they are scared of monsters, take a squirt bottle, add some water, and let them spray “monster be gone” spray around their room before the lights are out. If your kiddo is the type that gets up five times for water, set a small glass by their bed.
5. Be firm. Now that the plan is in place, follow through. The first two nights may be hard on you both, but after a few nights it is smooth sailing. If your kiddo turns up at your door in the middle of the night, walk them back to their bed, tuck them in, and remind them that from now on their bed is where they sleep. If you cave, you’re going to have an even harder time the next go round, as they may resist more hoping you will cave again. You can do it! Just think of how hard it is sleeping on ten inches of bed space without a blanket, and a foot in your face.
Now that you have a plan, you should have your bed back to yourself in no time. If you could just get the snoring spouse to sleep in their own bed you should be good to go for a great night’s sleep! Do you know any other tips for getting kids to sleep by themselves? Did these tips work for you? Leave a comment and let us know!