No it’s not just the heading of the post. It’s literally a question that I am asking YOU. All my readers who are at various stages of their parenting and many of you have handled this particular stage before me and hopefully better than me. To give you a background of my problem, I will have to take you back into time.
Well, when my daughter was born, within 5 months she had started sleeping through the night and we shifted her to a baby cot which was adjacent to my bed. The cot’s side rails would be brought down at night so the cot was pushed right next to the bed. It wasn’t making her sleep alone and yet we got the space to sleep comfortably without dreading rolling on top of our baby at night. (What?? It happens!)
And all was well till my daughter was 2 years old. She was comfortably sleeping in her cot bed and we were sleeping peacefully in ours. Then she got a bout of viral and that meant that she would wake up quite a lot during the night and I would comfort her back to sleep in her own bed. And then one night, someone thought that it was a good idea to let her sleep with us in the bed till she got better (yes! the someone was my husband) and after a little protest I gave in. And well that was the last day we had the bed to ourselves.
My angel never got into her cot bed again. She had found that kicking and jabbing her feet and elbows in her parent’s faces was much more enjoyable than sleeping all alone in her bed. Very soon me and the husband were relegated to the far ends of the bed with the child doing all kinds of ninja stunts at night. *Sigh*
That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy cuddling with her and co-sleeping. I did! There is something magical about the time when your child snuggles into your arms to find warmth or when you catch them smiling while dreaming. It’s indeed a blessing to have your child co-sleeping with you.
But now that she is going to turn 5 soon, I think it is time she progressed to her own room and her own bed. That said, I have no clue how to do it. We bought her a bunk bed three months ago to get her comfortable with being in a different bed. While she has taken to napping there in the afternoons, there is no way she is ready to sleep there at night.
So I did a lot of research to find out how I can help my child to transition to her own room and bed. And here is what I found out about What the Experts Say?
5 tips from the experts to teach your child to sleep alone
Establish a Bedtime Routine
Bath, brush, change into PJs and then bedtime stories. An established and predictive bedtime routine decreases the child’s anxiety towards bedtime. When they feel secure about going to bed then it is easier to help them feel calm about sleeping alone.
Give them a sense of security
Sleeping alone is not a child’s play. If they have any fears or doubts, do your best to alleviate them. If they are scared of the dark, leave a small night lamp on, if they are scared of under the bed monsters, check under the bed with them to assure them, if they want their favorite blankie then keep it with them.
Take it slow
Parents can start with being in the room with the child till he or she sleeps. Once they start sleeping then you can put them to bed and go away after 30 mins and tell them you will be back to check on them after 5 minutes. Keep your promise but keep increasing the intervals till the time the child is comfortably sleeping in the interval.
More likely than not the child will return to your bed during night in the first few weeks. Be patient and gentle but take them back to their bed consistently without much interaction. If you give in once the child will make it a habit.
Reward Good Behavior
Every time the child spends the night in their bed without any crying do give them a positive reinforcement like a sticker or increase their play time by 15 minutes.
So this was the expert speak but now I would like to know what were the tips that worked for you guys. Did any technique work exceptionally well or some that backfired? If you think five years is too young to be sleeping alone do let me know that too because I am not sure about what I want right now.