How to get your child to sleep in their own bed

It’s been way easier to let your little one crawl into bed with you rather than fight to get them to sleep in their bed in their room. Only now it’s turned into a nightly occurrence. You want your bed back — and a better night’s sleep, too.

Child sleeping peacefully

Looking to reclaim your bed from your young son or daughter, who’s managed to worm his or her way into sleeping with you night after night? The good news is you don’t have to wait years til they grow out this phase. The bad news? You’ve likely got some tears and anguish to deal with in the process, but you can indeed get them to sleep in their own bed, and get a good night’s sleep yourself. Here are a few words of advice.

Start when you (and your child) haven’t got other things going on

Don’t kickstart your mission to get your son or daughter to sleep in their own bed when there are other things going on — if it’s the first day of school the next day, or if you’re about to go on vacation, or you’re right in the middle of potty training. Wait until life is humming along, with nothing exciting or different going on.

Be firm about no more sleeping in your bed

Once you decide that they have to sleep in their own bed, don’t make exceptions. Don’t let them crawl into your bed for 10 minutes. Don’t relent and decide this one night is fine since they had such a bad day at school. Once you decide there is to be no more sharing of your bed, stick with it. Be prepared for screams, for tears and for tantrums and steel yourself to it. Your child needs to realize this is the new way things are going to run in your household.

You may need to temporarily camp out in their room

If your child’s been sleeping through the night in your bed regularly for awhile, you may have to spend some nights in your child’s bedroom. Don’t sleep in their bed with them — just being in the room until they fall asleep (and possibly when they wake up in the morning, depending on how attached they’ve become to this habit) will help ease any stress they’re experiencing about going to sleep alone. Eventually, spend less and less time in their bedroom, until you can tuck them in and leave them snug in their bed with no fuss. If they notice you leaving their room and trail behind you, bring them right back to their bed, tuck them in and wait til they fall asleep again.

More parenting tips

How to deal with toddler tantrums
Winning the whining wars
Helping your adopted child bond to you

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