6 Tips on getting your child to sleep in their own bed

How do you get your child to sleep in their own bed after co-sleeping? It's not easy, but it can be done. Here are some tips to make your transition easier

More and more parents today are embracing attachment parenting and co-sleeping. However, eventually, parents have to reclaim their bed and get their children to sleep in another bed. Why?

According to The Huffington Post, school-age children should learn how to sleep in their own beds because:

  • Children need to learn to self-soothe.
  • Parents need their privacy, and children should understand that.
  • Children take pride in taking care of themselves. It builds their self-esteem.
  • Not being able to sleep without their parents limits children’s activities (i.e. makes sleepovers with friends impossible).
  • Not sleeping together encourages parents to find other ways to bond with their children.
  • Children are able to overcome their fears (e.g. of the dark, of monsters under the bed, etc.) by themselves.

child to sleep in own bed Photo: Fotolia

Waiting until your child is school-aged won't do him any favors. It's best to start early. Getting your child to sleep alone also allows parents to get more quality rest. But training your child to sleep by themselves is easier said than done. Here are some tips from WebMD and Parenting.com on teaching your kids to sleep in their own beds.

1. Get the timing right

Wait until things are stable. If you’re expecting a new baby or if you’re anticipating a vacation, wait a little longer. It’s easier to train your child when you have a regular routine.

2. Talk about your plans in the afternoon

Let your child know in advance about how you plan on changing your routine.

3. Read a “sleepytime book” to your child

You can find a book about sleeping in one’s own bed. Some recommended titles are It’s Time to Sleep in Your Own Bed, I Sleep in My Own Bed, and Big Enough for a Bed. You can even make your own storybook with stick figures, so you can make a more personalized story.

Read more tips on getting your child to sleep in their own bed on the next page.

4. Do it gradually

This transition period probably won’t be easy, but you can also take baby steps. You could have your child sleep in a sleeping bag next to your bed first, or let them cuddle in your bed for a few minutes before you bring them to their bed. Some parents opt to have a (foldable or air) mattress in their room so that if their child comes to their room, their sleep isn’t disturbed.

child to sleep in own bed Photo: Wikimedia Commons

4. Don’t back down

Don’t waver, even when your child cries and begs to be let in your bed again. It’ll be difficult at first, but when your child gets used to it, you’ll all get better sleep.

5. Create a reward system

You can use sticker charts or little things like extra playtime to reward your child for making it through a night peacefully.

6. Teach your child how to fall back to sleep

When your child wake up in the middle of the night, they’ll probably want to go to your room so that you can soothe them back to sleep. This not only maintains their dependence on you, but also prevents you from getting a decent night’s sleep. Instead, teach them to close their eyes and think about pleasant, soothing things until they fall asleep.

READ: 4 Common toddler sleep problems and how to solve them

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