If you’ve got kids, you’ll likely be more than familiar with waking up with a little one (or two) in-between you and your partner. Whilst at first, you’ve got to admit it’s kind of cute and that extra little one to cuddle doesn’t go down badly, after a few night’s it becomes habit and your child would rather start off in your bed than their own. It’s hard to stop once it’s started and, as such, your best bet is to not let it begin in the first place. Of course, that’s easier said than done, however and, as such, we’ve put together our own top tips on how to get your young child to sleep in their own bed.
The trick to getting your child to sleep in their own room starts with the before bedtime routine. You need to ensure that, by the time bedtime comes, your little one is happy and that you’re not going to start world war three by trying to get them into their own bed. Sometimes it’s ok to admit defeat, give up and try again tomorrow! Don’t be afraid to wait until the time is right; assuming that’s going to be sooner rather than later. If your child has been ill, as an example, they’ll never go back in their own bed, however if they’ve had a great day, you stand a far better chance of a miracle happening!
It can often help to start talking about bedtime far earlier in the day. Books such as ‘I Love to Sleep in My Own Bed‘ can help your young one to understand that sleeping in their own bed makes them ‘big.’
If you’ve not got a bedtime routine, start one! Many families find that a bath and a bedtime story works well after tea and it’s little signals such as these which help your child to understand the triggers that bedtime is getting close.
The problem which many parents face when it comes to getting their children to sleep is their own beds is that they give in too easily. Your child isn’t going to come to any harm if you let them cry themselves to sleep. Yes, you may feel cruel, however you know deep down that you’ll all get a better sleep if you’re in your own beds and that, when you do, playtime in the morning will be far more enjoyable for everyone!
The difficult part in sleep training is not giving in, however unfortunately, in order for it to work, you need to adopt a united front. That doesn’t mean Dad gives in and goes to sleep on the sofa at 2am when little one wakes up. Unfortunately, it means they’re marched back to bed and tucked back in.
For some parents, they’ll find that however hard they try, their children just won’t give in and if you find this happening to you, you may need to try the sleepover approach where you take your pillows and a duvet onto their floor for a few nights. They’ll have the reassurance that you’re by their side but at least they’re sleeping in their own beds. After a night or two, this can become sitting in a chair or by their beds whilst they settle down and so long as you can creep back out quietly, you should start to feel you’re getting somewhere.
Rewarding Your Child
Whilst it can take trial and error to find the best approach to getting your little one to sleep in their own bed, one thing is for sure and that is that positive reinforcement works wonders! If your child managed to sleep through in their own beds, great! They deserve a reward! By rewarding their efforts, you’re encouraging them to do it again and whilst you certainly don’t need to be giving treats every morning, starting a sticker chart where they’ll get a present or surprise at the end of a full week can again work wonders!
At the end of the day, it can be a difficult task getting your little one to sleep in their own bed, especially if you’ve let things slip and they’ve been in your bed for a good few nights, even weeks or months! Don’t give up, however and it will happen, trust us!
In the meantime, it’s also important to ask yourself why they won’t sleep in there in the first place, especially if they’ve previously done so and all of a sudden stopped. Are they getting cold? Perhaps they’re ready for a pillow or firmer mattress? These are all the things which many parents fail to think about however which are, in reality, the little things which can make all the difference!