Even before your child was born, you probably set their room up and made it perfect for their arrival. Fast forward to preschool or elementary aged, their bed has not been slept in for years because they decided that sleeping in your bed with you was better. From a child’s perspective, sleeping with their parents is much more comforting. They love being next to someone, feeling protected when they fall asleep at night. However, there will come a time in your parenting journey that you will have to start pushing for them to sleep in their own room so you can get your bed back.
Find Out the Core Issue(s)
First and foremost, understanding why your child is against sleeping in their own room should be addressed and understood. Are they scared of the dark? Do they think monsters are under their bed? Do the car lights going past their window at night scare them? Do they just have a fundamental desire to be next to you because that is what they have gotten used to over the years? Whatever the reason, or reasons by be, talk to your kid about them so you are both on the same page. Simply talking about it, and reassuring that they have nothing to be afraid of is the first step in getting them in their own room at night without hassle.
Ways to Promote Independent Sleeping
Once you know what the reasoning is behind them wanting to sleep with you at night, next you can start implementing some powerful tactics to sway them into choosing their own bed over yours.
- Make A Plan and Stick to It: It can be easy to cave in when you are exhausted, but follow through with your plan because the challenge now will be worth the gain later.
- Start Slow: Some parents believe pulling the process off like a band aid works better, and it may for some kids. But generally speaking, start slow. Try having them sleeping in their own room one night a week starting out. You can even lay in their bed with them until they fall asleep. Once they get used to that, up it to two nights, then three, then four. As they get more comfortable, the easier it will be for them and it will eventually come to a point where you will not have to lay with them anymore either.
- Positive Reinforcement: Use positive reinforcement whenever you can to get them motivated to keep sleeping in their own room. An example would be that your kid gets to decide where to go out to eat if they sleep in their room 5 nights in a row. This works much better than negative reinforcement (taking away privileges) and is a way to make this process a much more pleasant one for the both of you.
Cuddling with your kid every night might feel nice, but as they approach a new phase in their life, they really should get into the habit of sleeping in their own room at night. Yes, co-sleeping does have its own set of advantages, but that concept is not meant to last forever. It will be a bit of an adjustment, but stay diligent with the conversion process to get them more comfortable staying in their own room for the night. That day will come, so just stay patient, persistent, and as encouraging as you can be throughout this new life change for them.