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Tips On Getting
Your Child To Stay
In Their Own Bed
Do you have a child who starts the night off well by going to sleep in their own bed, only to be greeted a couple of hours later by them standing beside yours waiting to be invited in? Some parents don't mind, but for some it's a very unwanted problem.
If it's becoming somewhat of a habit, we've put together a few reasons on why it happens and what you can do to try and correct the issue.
During your child's toddler years, they're likely to go through an immense leap in motor, social and cognitive skills and although they may also gain a sudden desire to be independent, most children also experience a degree of loneliness and insecurity.
This will sometimes lead them to require some extra bedtime cuddles, resulting in a night-time visit to your room.
Tackling such a problem requires a lot of will-power. You'll need to be determined and stern, as tantrums are likely in the beginning; hold your nerve and stay calm, for the rewards of sleep training far out-weigh the alternatives in the long-run. You'll need to bear in mind that there's no over-night solution, and it'll take time for your child to adjust to not sleeping alongside you. It's important to plan the change before your child knows at first.
Encourage your child to play more in their room, especially on the bed during afternoons and evenings before they're due to go to sleep. Make sure your child gets used to being in their alone. Playing will promote positive feelings towards the room, and if you can get them to play on the bed itself, it'll be even better.
Make sure your child feels important in their bedroom- allow them to pick their own décor and accessories to encourage their independence and allow them to express their personality. You could invest in a childrens castle bunk bed or even a playhouse bed to make the room extra special and subtly encourage your child to want to be in there.
Next you'll need to pick a night to start the process and you'll need to make your child aware of this. Chances are it might not go down well to start with, so this is where your patience comes in. Each time your child appears at your bedside, gently and quietly take him back to his own bed and continue to remind yourself that this will be best in the long run.
You'll want to reassure your toddler and make them feel safe whilst avoiding those Oscar-winning tantrums, so be kind but firm. If your child has nightmares or is scared of 'monsters' let them know that they're completely safe in their room but don't encourage feelings of anxiousness. You could say something like “There aren't any monsters in our house, so why don't you have a big snuggle with teddy and get some sleep”.
Likewise if they're scared of the dark, you could always pop a lamp in the room to give your child control of switching it on if they do wake in the night; giving them this freedom is more likely to ensure they won't end up in your room.
If your child is sick, it might be a good idea to stay with them during bedtime and during any night-wakings. If they're listless but wakeful, they're more likely to fall asleep if they know you are there; but make it clear that they don't need to come to your room. Hopefully this will result in your child staying in their own room when they're feeling better again.
If your child is older you might want to try reward schemes and sticker charts to encourage good sleeping habits
Allow your child to take something to bed that they can cuddle such as a teddy, blanket or comforter
If your child creeps into your room without you noticing, try putting a bell on their door or yours- to make you aware when you're expecting a small visitor!
Be firm when taking your child back to bed and reiterate the same point over and over about them having to stay there
Be consistent, use the same approach and be repetitive every time you experience a night-waking.
Make sure you and your partner are on the same page and know exactly what to do in the event of a wake-up call