Nighttime snuggles and snoozing with little ones sure can be adorable, but all of that cuteness comes to a halt after a string of nights in which you take a knee to the ribs and an elbow to the face. Having your child in your bed can be cramped quarters, especially as they are growing bigger and taking up more space. If you're ready to reclaim your mattress, you need to know how to get your toddler to stop sleeping in your bed. Making this transition will give you the space you need to get a good night's sleep, as well as encourage your toddler to be more independent.
Moving your child out of your bed and into their own is a common concern for parents. As co-creator of Sleepeasy Solution and family therapist Jill Spivack told Parenting magazine, there are many parents who didn't plan on having a family bed , but end up having one out of convenience or sheer exhaustion. The good news is the switch can be made. You just need to save up all your patience and be willing to stick with it, even when the going gets tough.
If you're dreaming of spreading out in your own bed again, put these seven ideas for getting your toddler out of your bed to the test and start enjoying that extra leg room.
1. Empower Them
If it's fears of the dark or monsters sending your child to your bed at night, give them some tools of empowerment. Try giving your little one a flashlight to brighten up a dark, scary room, as Parents magazine suggested. Another idea is a spray bottle filled with water they can use as "monster spray."
2. Stay Close
Your child may love the closeness and extra snuggles she gets when sleeping in your bed, so transfer that same special time to her bed. According to the website for Dr. Sears, you can parent your child to sleep by reading, cuddling, or a giving her a back rub while in her own bed.
3. Reinforce The Positive
When transitioning out of the parental bed, your toddler may need some incentives. Try using a reward system, such as a sticker chart, to celebrate the nights she sleeps in her own bed, as the website for ABC News suggested.
4. Time Everything
Make sure to think ahead about this transition instead of just going for it on a whim. Look at what other events are happening in your family's world right now. If you're planning a vacation or potty training, these events could interfere with your child's successful move to their own bed, according to Parenting magazine.
5. Make Their Bed Speical
When my youngest son was struggling to love his own bed, we went shopping for new sheets (which he picked out) then arranged all his favorite stuffed animals in his bed. It really helped to motivate him to sleep in his room.
6. Use Their Active Imaginations
Commonly, bad dreams can cause your toddler to wake and want to sleep with you in the middle of the night. Use their imagination to your advantage and help soothe them back to sleep (in their own bed). As What To Expect suggested, teach your child to visualize pleasant things to take the focus off the scary dream. Once your child learns to do this with you, they will be able to use this skill on their own.
7. Have A Plan
Making a plan of what bedtime will look like during this change will be helpful to all members of the family. As Alice Callahan told the website for PBS Parents, "children need to know what to expect, otherwise they end up confused and will protest the changes more."