If you wish your child to sleep alone, all you have to do is be patient and persistent. We give you several tips on how to make it happen.
You have decided that you want your child to learn to sleep alone, and not in your bed? Well, be prepared to stay awake for a few nights, “survive” seeing their eyes full of tears and cope with their begging to stay “just one more night”.
But, don’t worry, you will make it through! Every one of us does.
All you have to do is be patient and persistent. Thus, quitting bed sharing won’t be so stressful – neither for you, nor for your child.
Before you start with this sleep training, think carefully whether now is the right time to teach your child to sleep alone. If you are in the middle of the potty training, or you are going on a vacation or are professionally engaged in something and that takes a lot of your time, it is better to wait until things settle down and your routine is more regular. Thus, sleep training will go much faster.
Once you have decided to take the first step, start talking about your new bedtime expectations in the afternoon.
- Try to explain your child that mommies and daddies sleep in their beds, and kids sleep in their own beds. In this way, he/she will know what to expect when bedtime comes.
- In addition, you can make a “sleepy time” book with pictures, showing who sleeps where in the house. If your family has recently moved, your story can focus on that and end with how your child finally started sleeping happily in his/her very own bed. A picture book can help young children understand their new sleeping situation in a concrete way.
The good news is that the kids will eventually want to sleep alone. But if you want this to happen tonight, rather than “some day in this century”, you just need to be persistent. Therefore, when you start sleep training with your little one, you will have to end bed sharing entirely.
Expect to hear “mommy, don’t you love me anymore” or “Just one more night“.
Don’t give in! Your task is to get “midnight visitors” walked back to their rooms, tucked in, kissed and left behind. No extra snuggles, no water.
There will be screams and sobs, maybe you will even have to carry them to their own beds. You will might even start to wonder if you will ever sleep again. But don’t worry. You will, just maybe not that night.
If this “easier” tactic won’t work, take a comforter into your child’s room and sleep on the floor. Even though camping in your child’s room is probably not your idea of a good time, it’s a smart move in the long run.
- After two or three nights, switch to sitting quietly in a nearby chair until your child falls asleep.
- Each night, move yourself farther from your child’s bed to the door, to the hallway and eventually back to your own bedroom.
- If your child follows you, you should walk him back to his bed every time he gets up.
- If your little princess slept all night in her bed, bring on the praise, and if not, keep encouraging her and reminding her of the new rules by reading bedtime stories.
Rewards are also generally welcomed by little kids. Tell your child the story about the Sleep Fairy who comes at night and leaves stickers, small toys and other goodies under the pillows only for children who sleep in their own beds. This will work wonders, and you will finally get some rest from those little legs that disturbed your sleep at night.
Here are other five helpful tips:
1. Eliminate Distractions
Remove televisions, computers, and other electronic devices from your kid’s room to create an environment that is suitable for sleeping
2. Establish a Bedtime Routine
Take a warm bath, put on PJs, brush teeth, and read good-night stories – getting into a regular habit helps youngsters feel more secure about going to bed.
3. Minimize Your Presence
Leave the room before your child falls asleep so she’s “not dependent on parental presence”.
4. Establish a Sense of Security
Your absence or the thought of a monster lurking under the bed can leave your babe wide-eyed at bedtime. Ease the feeling with comforting objects such as stuffed animals, blankets, etc.
5. Be Consistent
It’s important to be firm about returning your child to her bed. If you don’t do this every time, it teaches your child to be more persistent.