You let your child sleep with you once when they had a bad dream. Then, the next night it happened again. Pretty soon it is months later, and your bed has officially become their bed. You can’t really blame them for not wanting to start sleeping in their bed now, but sooner or later they are going to have to learn to sleep alone. Be prepared to not get your full eight hours of sleep during this transition, but if you are consistent, you will have your bed back again in to time at all.
Pick the Right Time
Maybe you want your bed back now, so you can get through a night without getting kicked, but it is important that you time the transition thoughtfully. If you are leaving for vacation in a week, trying to potty train, or have something else going on that affects them your best bet is to wait. Choose a time when there are not any other changes or events happening.
Talk to them about sleeping in their own bed during the day. Don’t wait until bedtime to spring it on them. If you don’t already have a bed time routine, now is a good time to start. Your child’s mind needs time to quiet down. A warm bath can be helpful and story time definitely helps. You may even want to make a homemade bedtime story with illustrations, and make sure one of the pictures represent your child sleeping in their own bed.
Once you make the decision that they have to sleep in their own bed, you have to really commit. Letting them come in your bed for just a few minutes only makes it harder. You have to be prepared for crying and/or temper tantrums.
The easiest way to tackle this process is by sleeping in their room. Not with them though! Put a sleeping bag on the floor, or blow up the air mattress. Stay all night because if they wake up, and you are not there, you know they are coming to find you. After a few nights the reset button will be naturally pushed, and you can sneak out.
It is important to praise them for getting through the night, even if there was fussing. It will give them incentive to do it again. Make a sticker chart and after seven days of sleeping in their bed, they get a reward.
Create the Right Environment
Your child’s bedroom environment will play a role. You want the space to be calming, so their mind will be quieted. This will help them fall asleep faster. Clean the clutter, rethink that bright red accent wall, and shop for wall fountains which can be found online at stores like SoothingWalls.com. The cascading water will help them fall asleep faster. Plus, the sound acts as a noise barrier, so they might not hear you when you make your escape in the middle of the night. A gate in the doorway can also eliminate the risk of them coming to find you.