Co-sleeping is a rather controversial subject, with some parents vowing to never ever allow their child to sleep in their bed with them, whilst others encourage it, relishing the closeness of all the family sharing a bed together. Similarly, for some parents, co-sleeping feels like the only way that all parties (both parents and child) will ever get a good night’s sleep. Whilst the night starts out well, with everyone in their assigned bed, halfway through the night, need for sleep becomes so desperate that rules go out the window, and soon the entire family are crammed in one bed together.
However, for many parents, there is a time when enough is enough. The small baby has grown into a rather large child, and their flailing limbs mean that getting a good night’s sleep is nigh on impossible.
So, how do you make the transition as tear-free as possible?
Talk About It
Before you make the move, start talking about it. Discuss their big kid bed, how cosy they are going to feel and how proud you will be of them when they sleep in their own bed. Laying the ground work gives your child time to prepare for the transition, instead of just suddenly moving them one night without any discussion.
Make your child as excited as possible at being in their own bed. If appropriate, buying a new bed will help to make the transition fun. If they have been used to the space a large double bed gives them, then children’s double beds are a good option. They will be able to spread out as much as possible without mum and dad having to cling gingerly to the edge of the bed. If a new bed is not needed, then letting your child get involved in picking new bedding and cushions will help make the move feel extra special.
As hard as it may be in the first few days, consistency really is key. If you allow your child to sleep in your bed again, regardless of believing it will be just for one night, you may have to start the process again, as your little one will know that the new status-quo can be changed.
If your child is struggling with the transition, then try making the move gently. Sit in the same room as your child as they fall asleep so they know that you are with them, gradually moving further away from the bed each night. Or put them in bed with something that smells like you, a blanket or a pillow, as this may help them feel more relaxed and comforted if they wake up in the night.
Finally, when your little one does sleep through the night in their own bed, praise them! This can be verbal praise, or with a sticker reward chart. Let them know how proud you are of them.