As much as you love your child to pieces.... you love sleep too (a lot)! Every parent has to go through the dreaded phase of making a child sleep in their own bed, but how else are you going to get a good night's rest? Well we have some good news and bad news: the good news is every child can learn to sleep in their own bed, the bad news is it's not going to be pretty. But not to worry! Whether you're in the middle of it right now, or you want to prepare ahead, we have some great tips to help!
Start Early: A great time to start sleeping in their own room is when they reach an important milestone in their life - For example, graduating Pre-K and now starting Kindergarten. Your child knows it's an important time in his life and it will be easier to explain why he needs to sleep in his own bed. This example can be used for any grade you're comfortable with - Not everyone is ready at Kindergarten!
Be Consistent! After you explain why you're child needs to sleep in his own bed, you will may get a lot of crying and screaming but you have to stay strong! You can't give in when they come tip-toeing in at 3 AM and all you want to do is just give up and let them in bed. Don't budge an inch because they will only be moving further and further away from their goal.
Putting Them to Bed: A great trick for putting them to bed is to stay in the room until they fall asleep but gradually move further and further away from their bed each night. The first night - sit a chair right next to their side, the next night - across the room, the next - in the doorway, and finally place the chair outside of door with the door open. Also, be sure not to talk to them during this process because they need to know it's bed time.
Give Them Options: When he comes into your room in the middle of the night asking to go into your bed, you can give options. For example, "I can either come sit with you in your room for 10 minutes or you can bring your blanket and pillow in here and sleep on the floor next to mommy." Either way, don't let them back in your bed. Also, be clear that these options are only available for the first few nights and not all of the time.
Positive Reinforcement: Once morning comes, talk about how well (or not well) he did the night before. If he had trouble, just explain it's OK and encourage him for the next night. If it went well, congratulate him and give him a prize. Another idea is to use a sticker chart: for each night he sleeps in his own bed, he gets a sticker which he can collect for a new toy.