How to get your child out of your bed and sleeping on their own.
Many new parents make the choice to have their newborns or very young children in their beds with them at night to sleep. There are a variety of reasons that parents would do this, from easier nights for them to fears of leaving a young baby alone in a room at night, and many others. There will come a time, however, in most families, when it is no longer necessary or even desired, that the child is still in your bed with you. It can be difficult for some children to make the move from the parents’ bed into their own. In all honesty, it can even be hard for some parents.
When you are initially making the switch from your bed to the child’s own bed, it is important that you make this seem like an exciting transition, rather than one that is looked upon as a sad or frightening thing. Prepare the room by cleaning it well and having the bed ready to go, made up nicely with your child’s favorite character bedding, if possible. This will make the room and especially the bed look inviting. Have the child’s favorite stuffed toy waiting on the bed for them to come to sleep with at night. A nightlight in the room is also going to make most children feel safer and more secure, as well as allowing the door to be open at least partially at night.
A bedtime schedule and routine is going to be very helpful in making this change, as well. Both your child and you can enjoy a special time together just prior to bedtime that will bring about a sense of security and sometimes, even anticipation for bedtime. Having a story read to a child at night is not only fun for the child, but it is also a contributing factor to how easily most children will pick up reading on their own when the time comes for them to. If you are a family of a particular faith, bedtime prayers can be a part of your routine at night. You may even give the child a backrub, a cup of warm milk and honey, or some other thing that will aid in relaxation and sleep.
Some children will be quite resistant to moving into their own beds and this can take a bit of time and patience on your part to deal with. In these cases, the child will often cry, throw tantrums, or even scream and holler at bedtime. Do not give in to this behavior and allow the child back into your bed. This will put you right back to the beginning, but in a worse position, because the child now understands that you can be manipulated. This is not to say that the child may not truly be nervous, scared, or upset by the change, but it has to happen.
If your child begins to cry, go into the bedroom and sit with the child for a time. Let him or her know that you are still in the home with them and that they are safe, but that they have to stay in their own bed now. While crying, especially for a young child, is acceptable, screaming and tantrum throwing should not be responded to in a positive way. This is simply not acceptable behavior. You should still reassure the child, but also let them know, in no uncertain terms, that this will not be responded to again in any way, but that of a disciplinary one. If they need you, they can request that you come to them without these negative behaviors.
Although it can be a challenge at times to get your child out of your bed and into his or her own bed, it is a natural part of the growing up process. Using the above suggestions, you should be well-equipped to make it as easy a transition as possible. Even when you have a resistant child, it typically won’t last long once they understand that this is really going to happen and that you are still there in the home with them keeping them safe and sound as they fall asleep.
Published in: Family