Letting a child sleep in bed with parents can seem like a good temporary solution when children are ill or having nightmares, but it can become a bad habit. Alas, parents who are experiencing sleepless nights because of having an extra person in the bed can learn to reclaim their space. Of course, if possible, it’s a good idea not to have children become comfortable bed-sharing in the first place, as it can be difficult to break established patterns. However, if the current situation does involve a kid or two in the bed with parents, there are ways to get out of the habit.
Successfully Transitioning Little Ones to Their Own Bed
- Choose Timing Carefully & Start Slowly When Getting Kids to Sleep on Their Own
Avoid making the huge change of forcing a child into their own room during times of stress or upheaval. For example, right before the child starts school or daycare, when a new sibling is about to arrive, or during a divorce or move. Instead, make the transition when things are smooth at home.
- Don’t force a child to go from sleeping in bed with their parents to sleeping alone.
Work on this problem in stages. First, have the child move to their own mattress or sleeping bag in the room with parents, but not in the same bed. Next, transition the child to their own room, but have a parent stay in the room, next to the bed, until the child falls asleep.
- Work up to having the child sleep completely on her own in her own room.
Be prepared for some sleepless nights while they get used to the change; in the long run, it will be worth it.
More Tips to Encourage Children to Stop Bed Sharing With Parents
- While a child is getting used to new sleeping arrangements, try to keep the rest of their life as similar as possible, so it doesn’t seem that everything is changing at once. Keep the same nighttime routines and the same bedtimes and mealtimes.
- Make sure to express extra love and assurances to the child. This is a huge transition. Tt’s important that the child doesn’t think they are being put into a different room because of anything they did or as a punishment.
- Explain that it’s normal and can be exciting for them to have their own bed and room. It may make the time more fun if they get to pick out their own bedding or a new bedtime toy.
Moving a child out of the parent’s bedroom is a big deal and needs to be handled slowly and carefully. Choose a drama-free time to move them, do it in stages, and show extra love and support during this time. Also, try to keep the rest of their routine the same, as much as possible.
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