Did you know that nearly 30% of parents have their kids sleeping in their beds with them on any given night? While co-sleeping isn’t inherently a problem, if your little ones are waking you up at night or disturbing your sleep it can lead to exhaustion and stress. Luckily there are a few nifty ways you can encourage children to sleep in their own beds.
Try a toddler bed
If a child is used to sleeping in a cot in your room or even in your bed with you, a big bed of their own can often feel lonely and intimidating. Instead, why not ease them into the change with a toddler bed? Designed especially for little sleepers, toddler beds are the perfect transition from a crib to a big bed and should make nighttimes less scary.
Make their bed more appealing
If you don’t want to spend money on a toddler bed, there are other ways to make a ‘grown up’ bed more appealing to little ones. Go for a personalised bed that makes them feel special, treat them to a new teddy bear, get a new nightlight, or let them pick out some exciting new bedding. You can also tell them that only the most grown up children get to have their own special bed – anything that will help them feel like their new bed is a nice and exciting place to be.
Wean them off
Of course it’s difficult for a child who is used to sleeping in your bed to go cold turkey and trying to force them to do so can lead to tears and tantrums. The best results usually come from weaning a child off slowly. Encourage them to sleep in their own bed for just one night a week, then two, then three, and so on. Alternatively, stay with them in their bed until they are asleep. Over time you can move to sitting in a chair and then move the chair further and further away from the bed until they get used to sleeping on their own.
No we’re not talking sweets and toys! Simple rewards charts and stickers can be a great way to encourage positive behaviours in children. Set up a sticker chart with a sticker for every day your little one stays in their own bed. After an agreed number of stickers, settle on a reward. You’ll be surprised at how the prospect of a prize can help.
Whatever you choose to try, stick to your plan. Every time you cave and let a little one back into your bed, you’ll have to start all over again. It sounds harsh but this even counts when they are feeling poorly; instead of letting them in with you, try sleeping in their room with them when they are ill. You can still give them comfort and it won’t encourage them to see your bed as their own. The more you stick at it, the more likely they’ll be to accept the change.