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How to Get Your Child to Sleep in Their Own Bed

1st January 2017

Sacrificing valuable sleep is a part of parenting that we’ve all come to accept. For one reason or another, many toddlers and young children struggle to sleep in their own room throughout the night, often seeking solace in their parents’ bed. If this has evolved into a habit, you might be wondering how to stop this pattern and get your child to sleep in their own bed. With a little determination and the following tips, you can make the changes needed to provide your little one with healthy sleeping habits, developing their self confidence along the way.

Create a new routine

Children like routine. If co-sleeping has become a routine for your child, breaking them out of the habit could be a challenge, and one that needs the support of a parent. Replacing it with a new sleeping routine is the best solution. Consistency is key, so always make sure to follow the same steps at bedtime to establish a routine successfully. Don’t expect these new habits to be accepted by your child overnight; it will take patience and determination on your part.

Identify potential issues

Sometimes there is no apparent reason for your child’s need to be in their parents bed other that the primal urge to be close to a parent figure. However, occasionally this desire can be fuelled by a reason such as anxiety, nightmares, or discomfort. Try and talk to your child and establish any potential reasons. You may also wish to keep a sleep diary to try and identify any patterns that could be cropping up.

Tell them your expectations

Don’t keep your children in the dark. Communicate with them about the fact that they will be sleeping in their own bed from now on, and how it’s important for them to be a ‘big girl or boy’. It’s better to inform them of the change, as resistance might be more likely if it’s a surprise.

Sleep rewards charts

Rewards charts use the principle of gentle bribery to alter your child’s behaviour, and they can be used to change many aspects of your child’s conduct, including sleep. Stickers can represent a night when your child has slept in their own bed for the whole duration. If your little one accumulates enough stickers, they can claim a ‘prize’ such as a sweet treat, or a fun activity. Gradually your child will associate independent sleeping with positive consequences.

Make their room inviting

To encourage your little one to spend as much time as possible in their own bedroom, it’s important to make it inviting and give them reasons to stay. If nightmares are the reason for their struggles, make a bottle of ‘Monster Spray’ or post a guard (e.g. a cuddly toy) at their bedroom door. Sometimes children just desire affection as they are drifting off, so perhaps give them a buddy, such as a doll or soft toy, to sleep with as a substitute for an adult presence.

Be patient

Children can be persistent, and you may find that your child will wander out of bed and into your room multiple times during the night. Each time this happens, tell them firmly ‘time to sleep in your own bed now’ and lead or carry them back to bed. Have patience and don’t give in, as this will send mixed messages that will reverse your progress. If your child is finding the transition especially difficult, perhaps consider sitting on their bed at night, reducing the time you spend there each day. Another slightly unconventional option is to establish a ‘campout’ in your bedroom, including a tent and/or sleeping bag in the corner of your room for your child to stay in on a temporary basis.  

The team at Tiny World Day Nurseries understand the importance of children establishing their independence. With over 30 years’ experience in the childcare industry, we provide a secure place for your little one to thrive, play and learn. Our aim is to engage your children in activities to help them explore their creativity and develop their independence. To visit one of our branches in the Nottingham and Mansfield areas, simply get in touch with our friendly team today.