Making your child sleep in their own bed can seem like a bit of an impossible task at times. While having them occasionally hop in with you after a nightmare or something might not be such a problem, having them in with you all the time can cause issues. With that in mind, here’s some advice you can use to get your child to sleep in their own bed.
Start as early as you can
The earlier you start teaching your children that they need to sleep in their own bed, the more likely they are to stick to it later on. It’d be difficult to find a teen or an adult that still hopped in with their parents. By starting when your child is a toddler, you’ll instill good habits into them.
Use positive language to help them
Positive language can have a huge effect on many areas of our lives, and the way we interact with our children and teach them things is one of them. Kids learn a lot from their parents! Saying something negatively and positively can ultimately mean the same thing, but the feelings positive language will create will have a better effect than negative language. Instead of telling your child that they must sleep in their own bed now or else (or anything to that effect), you should say things like ‘because you’re so grown up now you get to sleep in your own bed! How exciting!’. Make it fun for them and they’ll get excited.
Slowly take yourself away
If you’ve let this go on for a while, it could be a case of slowly taking yourself away until they can drop off to sleep without you. After all, expecting them to sleep alone after years of sleeping with you will be painful and confusing for them. For example, maybe you could let them spend 15 minutes in your bed, and then take them to their own room. You could then sit on their bed until they fall asleep. Every few nights you could then move yourself further and further away, using a chair. Eventually, they’ll be able to fall asleep without you being so close to them.
Consistency is the key to really getting this down. You can’t let them have a night off after a solid week of sleeping in their own bed, as it could undo all of their progress. Make sure you stay firm and stick with your techniques to get the best results from them.
You could consider giving your child rewards for doing so well, if it suits. Maybe you could create a star chart, or give them vouchers they could trade in for more TV time, playtime, outings - whatever you like. Make sure the rewards are motivating to them, but don’t use bribery as a way to get what you want. They shouldn’t expect things from you. This is on your terms, not theirs!
Give them a clock
Give your child a clock. This could be a clock with a night light on it if they are afraid of the dark. If they know numbers at this point, you could tell them that they are not to get out of bed until the clock shows a certain number. This could stop them from disturbing you when they don’t know that it’s still the middle of the night after waking up.
Make sure they like their room
Making sure they like their room will ensure they want to spend more time in it. However, you shouldn’t fill it up with toys and things that could keep them awake at night. You want it to be cosy and relaxing for them. Maybe investing in a bed, like Cuckooland’s cabin beds would make them more excited to go to sleep. Keep clutter at bay, and don’t make the colours too bright and stimulating.
Give them something to think about
Sometimes, kids wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep. If this is the case with yours, give them something to think about. Tell them to count backwards from a number, or count sheep. Give them a relaxing story to think about, or leave a book for them to read if that doesn’t work.
If your child constantly gets out of bed and still comes into your room, you must be firm with them. Pick them up and take them back to their own room eventually. This is a technique that Supernanny Jo Frost uses, and it works. It might take you putting them back in their own beds 20 times or more, but as long as you stand your ground, it’ll work. The key is cutting down communication. As they continue to come out of their room, you say less and less to them until you are simply picking them up and putting them back. This can deter them from getting up again. It isn’t about shouting at them and scaring them or threatening them! They might get teary and even throw a tantrum, but eventually they will calm down. This can be one of the hardest things for parents to do, but it can break years of bad habits.
Get them something cuddly
Maybe your child would enjoy having something to cuddle. Buy them a teddy bear or something to drift off with if they need comfort.
See a professional
If you are still experiencing problems, it could be time to see a professional. Don’t be too hard on your child, as this can frighten them and get them stuck in negative patterns. You can still accomplish what you’re trying to do with lots of love and affection. It’s what is best for them after all!
If you have any tips that have helped you get your child to sleep in their own bed, leave a comment below to let me know!