If you have tried to get your child to sleep in their own bed with little or no success, you would be aware that this is no easy task and can be the cause of many sleepless nights and nasty tantrums.
With that said, getting your child to sleep in their own room is possible with few tricks and of course a considerable amount of patience. With good planning and the right attitude, you can successfully get your child to stay in their own bed with minimal tears and fuss. Just for you weary parents out there, we have ten ways to encourage your child to stay in their own bed. Woohoo!
1. Only start when you are ready
The truth is that most parents start this process only to get discouraged and give up along the way. Trying to get your children to stay in their own bed can be really hard as the child knows that with a few tears, they can easily get back to your bed. You need to be ready and understand that while the transition period might be difficult, this is for everyone’s own good and soon, your child will adapt to the routine. Be committed to get your child to sleep on their own and whether you choose to do this gradually or otherwise, do not give up until you have accomplished your goal.
2. Identify the right time to change the sleeping arrangement
The right time to introduce any new routine is when no other transition or milestone is happening. So if your child is going through potty training, just started preschool or is going through any other life changes, it would be wise to wait until they have passed that milestone. You should also not start the routine when on holidays or immediately after a holiday as this can be counter-productive. Start to make changes when your child is comfortable and back to following their usual daily routine.
3. Communicate to your child early enough about expected changes
You need to prepare your child psychologically for the changes to come by telling your child about the new sleeping arrangements, and give them reasons why this would be important to the family. By talking to your child about it, you might be able to find out their reasons for not wanting to stay in their own bed and work through it with them.
4. Take note of your child’s fears and anxieties and address them accordingly
Children have different ways of expressing their fears and anxieties and you need to be very observant and attentive to it. For those children who can communicate, listen to them as they express their fears and address these fears. If your child is afraid of being in the dark alone, promise to leave the lights on, or give them a torch or night light. This will not only offer your child some reassurance and comfort, but it will also ensure your child is on the same page as you and is not rejecting the transition to their own room in an effort to mask anxiety and fear.
5. Let your kid participate and own the process
It pays to let your kids participate and take some ownership of the process. You can get your kids involved in decorating their room, choosing their sheets and quilts and making their own bed. This will not only excite the kids and make it more likely for them to embrace the new routine, but it will also give them some level of control over the process so things might be easier all round.
6. Make the transition easy by incorporating a game
Fun games and activities just before bedtime will go a long way to help any changes in sleeping arrangements for your child. You can choose to play an fun game with your child in their room, and then smoothly encourage them into their own bed. Your child will (hopefully) be in a great mood and less likely to make a fuss when left to sleep in their bed. Make sure the games aren’t too stimulating, otherwise you’ll have problems with them being too excited to sleep!
7. Be firm without being harsh
Change for everyone is not easy and it is more difficult when it comes to a child. It is therefore more likely that your child will try to resist and try all means to get back into your bed. You have to be firm and stick to your guns, no matter how long it takes. Perseverance is the key!
Being firm and being harsh are two completely different things, and being overly strict when your child is going through a transition only works to your disadvantage. Avoid being too stern and instead ensure that your language is positive.
8. Offer rewards for every progress made
Rewards make children happy and keep them encouraged. Rewards do not have to be expensive, a sticker for a night spent on their bed or a new toy for every week spent in their room is usually enough. You will realise that with time, your child will stop anticipating the reward as he/she gets into the new routine.
9. Praise the child and motivate them to do better
Children thrive on praises and pleasing their parents. They want you to be proud of them! Praise your children for any progress made throughout the transition and let them know that you are really pleased with their progress.
10. Be patient
Well, there is no way you are going to be successful with this process if you are not patient. You probably already know this as raising a child requires a lot of patience. It won’t happen overnight….but it will happen! Keep yourself cool and calm, even if you are deprived of sleep and things don’t seem to be working. Believe me, you will get there!