The 3 Stages of Getting Your Child to Sleep in His Own Bed
Getting your child to sleep in his own bed is difficult, but not impossible. Maybe your baby is still sleeping in your bed and you don’t know what to do.
Or maybe he’s sneaking into your bed at night after you put him into his own bed. Whatever the situation, things have to change, and we’re going to give you some tips to help you.
Why your child doesn’t want to sleep alone
Maybe you haven’t been able to get your baby to sleep in his own bed yet, as he just wants to be with you at night. Maybe your child is having lots of nightmares, and that is his perfect excuse to sneak into your room at night. Or maybe the family’s routine has been interrupted, maybe by vacations, and the child has become unaccustomed to having his own room.
Sleeping alone is fundamental in order for your child to develop properly. This way they can learn to master their fears and learn to be more independent. Of course, we know that this won’t happen overnight.
There are several reasons why your child doesn’t want to sleep in his own bed. The most common one is the need for affection or, to give it its proper term, “attachment.” It may also be because he’s afraid of the dark, and this is quite common up until children are three or four years of age.
There are also children who have been through traumatic situations and this also upsets their sleep pattern.
The other reason is, quite simply, through habit. As humans, we’ll cling to anything that makes us feel safe and secure, and that’s what happens with little children. The child will think: “Why should I sleep alone if I feel so good when I’m next to Mom?”
Of course, at some point, children must move from their parents’ bed or bedroom, and learn to have their own space. This is for their own benefit, and also for their parents, so that they can enjoy their privacy again, and get a bit more rest!
Keys to getting your child to sleep in his own bed
Getting a child to sleep in his own bed sometimes seems to be an impossible mission. However, with perseverance, commitment and firmness, we can help the child understand where he needs to spend the night. The goal is achievable, and everyone will be able to relax in comfort!
1. First objective: lying down and falling asleep
To achieve this, you must take him to his room and stay with him until he’s completely asleep. Remember that what really comforts him is not his bed, but you being by his side. If he knows he has nothing to fear, then he’ll be more likely to fall asleep.
Wait until you’re sure he’s completely asleep. Sometimes they “trick” us and, when we move a bit, they open their eyes and start crying.
Be patient, this process may take several days. When they’re asleep, get up very slowly and go to your room. It is advisable for you to leave the door open in both rooms.
Sleeping alone is fundamental in order for your child to develop properly. This way they can learn to master their fears and learn to be more independent.
2. Second objective: that your child doesn’t sneak into your room
You’ll often be surprised to wake up during the night or in the morning, and find your child snuggled up next to you. Your job is then to calmly take him back to his own bed. Some children can be extremely quiet and are able to change beds without their parents noticing.
If you do wake up and find your child by your side, what you should do is take him to his room and repeat the process described in point 1 if he wakes up on the way.
3. Third objective: for your child to fall asleep on his own
By now, your child should be at the stage of not waking up in the middle of the night and sneaking into your room. Because of this, you can be a bit more lenient now regarding their sleep routine. One example of this is to leave the bedside light on until the child falls asleep.
You can also let him take a toy to bed, or even let the family pet sleep by his side to “protect” him. This way he’ll feel safe without needing you to be by his side.
Getting your child to sleep in his own bed is no easy task, and it takes time and patience. It’s important to start off slowly and make progress day by day. Just take whatever time you need to get them to change their habits, be it days, weeks or even months.
And one final very important point: both parents must agree on what needs to be done and must stand firm. This way your little one will realize that rules are rules, and you won’t be changing them. Good luck and sleep well!