“I had a bad dream.”
“There are monsters under my bed.”
“Can I sleep with you?”
It’s the middle of the night, and your little one wants to come into your bed. You have two options:
1. Walk them back to their own room, assuring them that everything is all right, and tuck them in with a big snuggly blanket.
2. Grunt your permission and go back to sleep.
If you’re sleep deprived and desperate for some shuteye, you’re more likely to choose the second option. The ‘possible’ problem with that is, you may have set a precedent. Now your child may want to sleep with you every night.
How do you reclaim your bed?
If you find that it’s too late and the habit has already been formed, licensed marriage and family therapist, Donna Willburn, has some helpful tips for breaking the cycle.
- Start early and stay consistent – “It’s way more difficult to break the habit than it is to prevent the habit from happening,” says Donna. Never let it be an option.
- Bedtime rituals – Quiet the house – This is not the time to throw them in the air or tickle them. Turn everything off. Relax, give them a bath, read a book etc …. and get them in their bed.
- Detach a half hour before bedtime – “It’s harder for them to go to sleep by themselves if they’ve just been really bonded to you,” says Donna. This helps them learn to self-soothe.
So if you want to upgrade your routine, take Donna’s advice.
Some parents may not have an issue with sharing their bed with their little ones, but if it’s affecting your relationship or your marriage, it may be time to make an adjustment.
These changes will teach your child independence, and you’ll sleep a lot better, too!