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Teach your Toddler How to Sleep Alone in their Bed

Firstly, this process won't occur overnight - so patience is key. Your toddler will be used to only sleeping in your bed, so they may be anxious, worried, or scared to start sleeping alone - which will ease over time. It's a routine that will take time to alter, but this article will provide you with all the information you'll need - if you are still struggling, please feel free to comment below, so we can help support you further!

Sleep is important to make life easier for the whole family. Not getting enough sleep can lead to a host of other issues with toddlers, such as tantrums, meltdowns, crankiness, and a disagreeable demeanor. When it comes to establishing good sleep habits with your toddler, the earlier you start, the better. - VeryWellFamily, recommends you begin the process, without your child knowing at first. This can be done using the following steps;

  1. Start by encouraging your toddler to play in his bedroom, and particularly on his bed, before he actually sleeps there.

  2. Then, pick a night when he’ll start to sleep there and explain that he will be sleeping there all night. The chances are he’ll feel strange in his own bed at first, so expect it to take a few weeks before he gets used to sleeping there all night.

  3. Each time he appears in your room, patiently take him back to his own bed. Remind yourself: this will suit everyone, eventually.

My child sneaks into my bed in the middle of the night! What should I do?

Due to your child having formed the habit of sleeping in your bed, it's very common for toddlers to start the night in their own beds, only to sneak into yours in the middle of the night. This is where many parents make a mistake, due to being too tired, they allow their child to sleep. Children's sleep consultant, Melissa Bielecki, states that parents need to be firm but fair, "don't chat to them about it, and don't use bribery. Just say, 'Come on, into bed', but never shout, and be consistent every night.". Essentially, remember that your child is wanting to bed-share because of habit, not a necessity.

What about when my child has a nightmare? Can I bed-share then?

Most commonly, if your child has a nightmare, you'll be more flexible and lenient to allow them to sleep in your bed - it's the maternal instinct to protect and care for them. However, if this happens a lot, it can easily become another habit - so bear that in mind!

We recommend that you reassure your toddler - do this in a soothing and straight-talking manner in your child's bedroom. Dr Claire Halsey, a chartered clinical psychologist, states “Don’t belittle your child’s fears, but don’t promote anxious behaviour.... Say, ‘There are no monsters in our house, so we’re going to have a big cuddle with teddy and we’re going back to sleep.’” as a method to reassure and calm your child......

My Child still isn't comfortable sleeping in their own room, do you have any other tips?

  • If you have an older child, try reward schemes to keep her in her bed. We have these, and other fantastic free resources on our Pinterest, click here to see these.

  • Make your toddler’s bedroom cosy and child-friendly, so it's a space they want to stay in.

  • Let your toddler take something cuddly to bed - a soft toy or even the T-shirt you’re wearing.

  • Ask your toddler to pick out their own bedding, so it's something they like and are excited to see.

  • If your toddler can creep into your bed without you noticing, put a cowbell on his door handle

  • If your child comes into your room at night, be firm. Take him back to bed and say again, “You sleep in your own bed now. You’re not to get out of bed.”

  • Get some perspective – stand back and look at what’s causing the night waking. Address that during the day rather than leaving it until the next time she appears at 3am

  • Be consistent. You and your partner have to be united on whether or not you let your toddler come into your bed in the night. Discuss in advance which one of you is going to get up as you won't have a very civilised debate in the middle of the night!

  • Be strong. But if you feel that controlled crying is too harsh, you can use gradual withdrawal instead. If you'd like to learn more about controlled crying, check out this article by MadeforMoms Tell me more about controlled crying

What if my child is poorly and they want to sleep by me?

If your child is sick and wants you near them, then simply sit in your child's bedroom with them, remove all distractions, and ask your child to rest and sleep. Then once your child is asleep, or once they are feeling better, leave them to rest in their bedroom, and go back to your regular schedule. If you allow your child to sleep in your room, their schedule is disrupted, which can cause further problems down the line.

What if my child is scared of the dark and won't sleep alone?

Being scared of the dark is a common issue amongst children, however, there are numerous things you can do to comfort your child and help reduce their fears.

  1. Use a night light in their bedroom, to reduce the darkness.

  2. Tell your child bedtime stories about nice things that happen in the dark, to reduce their fear of nighttime.

  3. Introduce a magic spray bottle, or a magic wand they can use to keep their imaginary monsters away.

  4. Introduce a magic teddy bear, which will watch over your child and protect them from their imaginary monsters while they sleep.

  5. Communicate, and reassure your child there are no monsters under their bed, and let them know you are close by in your bedroom.

  6. Avoid dismissing your child's fear - talk about how you felt scared of the dark too when you were younger, but you got over it.

  7. Throughout the day, don't use their bed as a punishment for being naughty, as this is reinforcing that their bedroom is a scary place.

If you need some more ideas, check out this article by :

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