10 ways to get your kids to sleep in their own bed

10 ways to get your kids to sleep in their own bed

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY — Are you a new parent missing those nights of dreamland bliss? Or maybe the family bed with your toddlers in tow has turned into bedtime dread.

The family bed can be convenient for breast-feeding moms and can create a closer bond between parents and child. But there may come a point where it is unsafe or too uncomfortable to continue.

Here's a few approaches that can help transition your child into sleeping in the child's own bed.

1. Make it a habit from the start

Keeping your baby's cradle or crib in your bedroom can be just as convenient as having him lay beside you. Creating this habit while in infancy can prevent major battles later on.

2. Go cold turkey

Move the child into his own room, responding very little to tantrums or crying. Parents should not completely ignore the child but provide comfort and reassurance periodically until the child falls asleep.

3. Ease into it

Go from sitting with the child in the child's own room the first night to sitting outside his door the second, and so on. It can help make the transition less traumatic for the child and parents.

4. Create a bedtime routine

Make bedtime exciting and predictable. Give the child a warm bath and cuddle with a good book or song to help him wind down. Having a bedtime routine in place can signal to the child's body it is time for sleep.

5. Lay beside the child

If the bedtime routine is not enough, laying with him until he falls asleep may do the trick. Just make sure that you don't fall asleep too!

6. Leave your scent

For infants, especially those who breast-feed, it is helpful to leave an item of light clothing or blanket in the crib that has the mother's scent. It helps the child feel as though you are close by.

7. Use a night light

Many children are afraid to sleep alone because they are afraid of the dark. To calm their fears, use a night light. It provides enough light for them to see without being too bright to interfere with their ability to fall asleep.

8. Provide extra security

In addition to a night light, some children like to have the companionship of their favorite stuffed animal, toy or blanket. For safety reasons, do not put stuffed animals, toys or fluffy blankets into the crib/bed of a child less than 1 year old. For older children, limit the amount to one or two.

9. Use rewards

Create a chart or keep a record on a calendar. Place a sticker for each night your child stays in his own bed. The reward could be an extra story at bedtime or an activity of the child's choice.

10. Be consistent

Whatever method you use, be consistent and follow through. The transition won't happen overnight, but with patience and consistency it will happen.

Tequitia Andrews has written about parenting and family issues for several newspapers, magazines and websites.

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Tequitia Andrews


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