This is one of the most common problems parents face after your child has transitioned to his or her own big bed. They have a new set of independence but along with that, uncertainty of the freedom. Many will walk out of their own rooms and sneak into mommy and daddy's bed in the wee hours of the night. Now, if you are fine with this routine, by all means continue on! But for those that don't sleep well with your child's foot in your back, these tips are for you.
- Make sure you begin when you are free the next day. Don't start sleep training if you can't follow thru with it days on end. Mark it on your calendars and be prepared for the days to be exhausting - lot's of coffee can help!
- Set the standard at the beginning of the day. If your goal is to keep your child in his or her own room, explain to them this family rule and explain to them where every person sleeps. Go into their room during the day and act out who sleeps in where. Lay your child down in their own bed, cover them with the sheets and blankets and stuff them with their animals while laughing and tickling them to make it a fun environment. Continue the entire day explaining that they will be sleeping in their own bed and mommy and daddy will be sleeping in their own bed.
- Catch them in the act. This sounds easier said than done, but as your child comes into your room - get out of bed and walk them immediately back to theirs without saying much (so you don't get them riled up) and put them back in their own beds. Each and every time they do it, continue doing the same thing. If they get in your bed, it's so easy to just give up and keep them there. But don't fall for the trap - stay strong and keep going.
- If you don't hear them, booby trap your door. Yup, I said it. Grab a bell and tie it around your door knobs. When those sneaky little cuties decide to come in, the bell will go off and you can get yourself out of bed to stop them before they get in yours.
- Praise them! Every morning, praise your child for sleep in their bed. Explain to them how proud you are of them, what a big girl or boy they are, or simply reward them with some pancakes! Children at this age need to feel that affirmation from their parents. Give it.
- Stay persistent. It's not easy, but stick with your rule so your children know you mean what you say. Consistency and persistent is the key to a successful sleep training operation. If all else fails, contact us! We can help you.