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Sleepovers & Bedtime

Reclaiming your Bed

Parenting is hard work! With as many day-to-day obligations as parents have – work, family, etc. – it's a wonder we get any sleep at all. A small child that just refuses to sleep through the night can be so exhausting for both parent(s) and child that we find it easier to simply tuck the little one in with us so that everyone can get some sleep. The problem is that bringing your child into your bed for an extended period of time can make it hard for her to sleep on her own through the night. Eventually everyone will toss and turn because of the discomfort of a crowded bedroom. This can lead to serious problems as children of preschool and kindergarten age struggle to get enough sleep to make it through an active day of play and learning.

Prevention for Co-Sleeping Habit

The best way to prevent your child(ren) from swarming your bedroom at night is to avoid the practice in the first place. Occasionally welcoming your child into your bed after a nightmare or during a stormy night is one thing, but don't let her make a habit out of it. Kids need to learn to sleep comfortably in their own beds.

Take Control of Bedtime

Still, no matter how hard we try, some of us find ourselves wondering how we lost control of bedtime. Regardless of how you lost it, you cantake back control of your own bed. Follow these simple tips to make the process as easy as possible for you and your child. Most kids accept the end of co-sleeping rather easily during the preschool years. Kindergartners may be a bit harder to redirect, but, be persistent, and you'll soon be sleeping without children.

  • Wean her into her own bed slowly. Try having her sleep in your room, but not in your bed for a while. Then slowly move her into her own room. She probably won't even notice what you're doing.
  • Reward her for sleeping in her own bed. Use a chart/sticker system to help her record each little victory. After a certain number of successful sleeps, reward her for a job well done.
  • Be consistent. Don't relapse into old habits. Stay firm and you'll all sleep more soundly.

Co-sleeping, or sleep sharing, can cause conflicts if both parents aren't on board with the practice. And, eventually, you may want your child to transition into her own bed. Sleep sharing can make this transition more difficult, especially as your child gets older. Although co-sleeping may have its benefits, reclaiming your bed may be what's best in the long run.