We’ve all been there – curled up in our warmest comforter, dreaming of a world without responsibility, when all of a sudden your child creeps in – looming over you at the edge of your bed like a scene straight out of Paranormal Activity. You pull the covers aside and allow them to sleep in your bed because you’re too tired to go tuck them back into their own. You then proceed to get kicked, elbowed and rolled over on. All. Night. Long. A true horror movie.
First things first – according to parenting.com, you need to decide on the appropriate time to start the process of helping your child sleep solo. The best time to begin is when your schedule is fairly regular. For example – no vacation coming up, no new baby popping out – nothing. Just a solid routine that you do every day.
Throughout the morning and afternoon, make sure to explain to your child the expectations that you have for them during night time. Go out of your way to show your child where mommies and daddies sleep compared to where big kids sleep and make sure to explain the difference. This will help prepare them, and you, for this daunting task.
Your job is a bit easier. If your kid wakes you up wanting to snuggle in your bed, walk them back to theirs. The frustrating and tiring part is that you have to stick with it. Is your child coming to you three times a night? Walk them back and tuck them in. What about twenty times a night? Walk them back and tuck them in. Do it as long as it takes until they give up.
If your child is scared to sleep in their room because of nightmares or monsters, check the room with them and show them that there is nothing to worry about. You can even give them a spray bottle with water mixed with a little essential oil and name it “Monster Away Spray” to be able to get rid of any lingering under-the-bed monsters.
Your job will be harder. Parenting.com suggests sleeping in the child’s room with them, but not in the bed. Yup, that’s right – you’re going to be spending some time on the nice cold floor, so get comfy down there!
Start off sleeping next to their bed all night long. That way, when your kid wakes up in the middle of the night they can look over and not be horrified that you’ve disappeared into thin air.
After a few nights – move a little farther away from your child. You want to keep moving farther and farther away every few nights until you end up by the door and then back into your own bedroom. If your kid wakes up and comes to your room – calmly walk them back to theirs. Continue this as long as it takes until they give up.
Praise good behavior and let them know how proud of them you are even if they got up a few times during the night. Reinforce their effort and go over the rules again by showing them where they sleep and where you sleep. After all, kids love to please their parents.
They also love rewards! Rewards are a great way to let kids know that they are doing a great job. After a good night – give them a prize! Allow them to pick a piece of candy out of a “Sleep Treat” bag, watch their favorite movie, or even take a trip with your kiddo to the nearby park or beach on a nice day.
It is a long and tiring process, but it will eventually work. Because, hey, what teenager do you know that still wants to sleep in their parent’s bed?
Let us know in the comments what helped you to get your child sleeping in their own bed!