7 Mom-tested tips to get kids to sleep in their own beds
Co-sleeping with a little one is beautiful, until it's suddenly not.
If you're tired of sharing your bed with your darling child, you're certainly not alone. Most moms and dads eventually reach a point where they need to get rid of their co-sleeping arrangements. The trick, however, is figuring out how to effectively move one small-but-determined child to his or her own room. Thankfully, you can learn from the successes of other moms who have booted their children out of their beds at a reasonable age — and hopefully you'll find a trick or two that could work for you.
1. Make it a sleepover. Try placing a cot or bed in your child's room, like mom Jennie did. She made the bedtime routine with her daughter reminiscent of a sleepover, with fun books and songs before settling down — with her daughter in her own bed and mom on the cot. "It was rough for a few weeks," she explains, "But totally worth it in the end when I could sneak out and she felt comfortable in her own room."
2. Introduce slowly. Brooke had luck with slowly introducing the idea of her son sleeping in his own bed. "I made it special," she explained. "He was allowed to pick out his new comforter, and he felt excited about the transition once we had a chance to talk about it for a few weeks."
3. Tent switcheroo. Mom Jeanne realized that she wanted her bed back when her daughter was a toddler, but her determined toddler was having none of it. "Getting her to stay in her toddler bed just wasn't working," she said. To troubleshoot the problem, Jeanne bought a child-size tent and pitched it in the master bedroom, and told her daughter that she could only stay in the room if she stayed in the tent. Pretty soon, Jeanne was able to move the tent into her daughter's room, where she slept for a few weeks. "Eventually, we moved all the blankets and stuffed animals into her bed, and she started sleeping there," she said.
4. Gentle sing-songs. Geraldine was very savvy about how to keep her children in their own beds. "I would sing songs outside their bedroom doors," she said. If her kids got out of bed, she would stop singing, and her beautiful singing voice apparently did the job to keep them in their place. "Little did they know that my position outside their doors was actually to keep guard over their bedtime wandering," Geraldine said.
5. Lie and pray. "Oh my gosh, I don't even know how it worked," said Amy. Her technique was just to lie down next to her children until they drifted off to sleep in their own beds, and pray that they would do so quickly. "It worked, because then I could sneak out of their rooms — unless I fell asleep next to them."
6. The hall pass. Ever feel like your child knows all the tricks for getting out of bed? Mom-of-two Liz felt the same way. "It was always, 'I need to go potty,' or 'I need water,' or 'I need to cuddle,'" she said. "I felt like losing my mind every freaking night." Instead of losing her mind, though, Liz gave her toddlers one nighttime pass to get out of bed. Once it was used, they couldn't get out of bed again. Giving her toddlers a sense of control over their nighttime routine actually helped them stay in their beds and fall asleep.
7. Rely on scent. Amber was ready to send her little one to his own room when he hit the one year mark. "It just seemed so much easier to do when he was little, rather than waiting until he was fully a toddler," she said. Her trick? Placing a teddy bear that smelled like her next to him in his crib.
Just remember that it's never too late to reclaim your bed. It might just take a little more creativity and determination, but your bed is worth it.