Sharing your bed can get a little cumbersome for several reasons. First off, you as parents don’t really get the chance to enjoy personal space for spousal intimacy. Whether it’s a few snuggles or much-needed lovemaking, most advances get thwarted by a tiny person.
Secondly, you may have noticed that your child is ready to make that independent move to their own bed. They could be approaching a significant milestone like Kindergarten. Perhaps you as the parent recognize a streak of independence and want to foster it.
No matter the reason for reclaiming your bed space, there are good and bad ways to approach the transition.
No Cold Turkey
Bed sharing is a unique experience that offers children closeness and security. These feelings are vital to maintaining all-around healthy children. There comes a time, though, when three’s a crowd. Although you may want your space back quickly, a gradual approach is best.
Parents may be tempted to try the cold turkey method. Plopping your child down in his or her own bed then leaving the room probably won’t produce good results. Aim for a slow and steady introduction to this new independence.
Consider the following for a drama-free approach to getting your child to sleep in their own bed.
Have A Campout
One of the common challenges faced when transitioning a child from your bed to their own is familiarity. A child becomes familiar with the setup when allowed to sleep in bed with parents. The room, the bed, and the environment all become the standard for bedtime.
Introduce your child’s room as the new bedtime standard by having a campout. Set up a sleeping zone for the both of you in his or her room. Establish familiarity by sleeping in there a few nights. Once your child is comfortable with his or her own room with you in there, slowly make your exit.
Go in Stages
Nap time can offer the perfect segway from co-sleeping to independent sleeping. Most of the time when children co-sleep, they are not napping in their own bed or crib. Begin the transition by using your child’s bed or crib for nap time.
By using the bed or crib for a nap, you are allowing your child to become accustomed to it. After you’ve successfully established the bed or crib as a comfortable nap time zone, make the complete transition for bedtime also.
Bring the Bed to Your Child
Some children have a difficult time sleeping on their own because it may feel cold and lonely to them. Sleeping next to someone feels secure and comfortable. For these types of situations, you can bring the bed to your child.
Provide a cot or sleeping bag in your room on which your child can sleep at night. Allow your child to get used to sleeping on his or her own then make the transition to his or her own bedroom.
Use A Bedtime Routine
Creating a sleep-inducing bedtime routine can eliminate the fight at bedtime, especially with a toddler. By establishing a set pattern, the momentum of your bedtime routine will do the work for you. Children often sleep better when given the opportunity to wind down for the night.
Allow enough time for your routine and make sure your activities are low-key. Reading books, doing puzzles, and playing quiet games are all great ways a child can settle for bedtime. A routine often helps parents to be less frazzled, as well. Once the routine has come to completion, your child must then go to sleep. You’ll be less likely to experience the “three’s a crowd” issue.