Getting children to sleep in their own bed can be quite a challenge. Fortunately, sleep specialist Joy Richards at online bed retailer Happy Beds offers some tips to help parents reclaim their bed and get some well-deserved shuteye.
Timing is Everything
If a child is learning to use the potty or is due to start school, it’s not a good idea to start changing sleeping habits too. While it might be not ideal to wait, there will more progress and less tears and tantrums by doing so. Too much change all at once can cause anxiety, so it’s best to change a child’s sleeping routine when there aren’t any other transitions going on.
Affection During the Day is Important
If a child associates bedtime with cuddles and kisses, they’re not going to want to give that up. While parents could be in work in the day and children may be in nursery or school, it’s important to offer plenty of affection other than at bedtime.
Whether it’s a kiss good morning or a cuddle on the sofa before teatime, children will not miss sleeping with their parents as much if they receive the love and attention they need at other times.
Communication is Key
Parents need to lay down the law about not sleeping in mummy’s bed long before it’s time for them to hit the pillow. Enforcing this new rule at bedtime will not go down well at all; children need to get used to change and when they’re tired, they’ll be far less understanding of this new bedtime routine.
Communicate this new sleeping arrangement ahead of time, rather than springing this notion on them when they’re least expecting it.
A Rewards System Works Wonders
Don’t downplay this new change. If a child is used to jumping into bed with mum whenever he or she wants to, this will be a hard habit to curb. Use a rewards system to motivate them to sleep in their own bed.
Introduce a chart, which can be hung up in their bedroom, and issue stickers for each day that he or she has managed to sleep in their own bed the whole night through. Set a goal, such as a new bedtime story book after a week of not sleeping in with mum, and they’ll soon learn to stay in their own bedroom.