The wonder years of sleeping in may be long gone but for many parents, the sleep they do get is interrupted by additional sleepers throughout the night. Even if your child is happily sleeping in their bed for some time it can easily be undone by a couple of nights in your bed due to sickness or upset. So what are some tried and true methods to encourage solo sleeping?
Make Sure they Feel Safe in their Room
Staying alone in your room at night can be frightening for a child for many reasons. They might have a crack in the blinds they can see out of, they might be concerned that you won't hear them if they need you. Go through any fears or questions and take action where you can. Making sure your little one is completely comfortable and reassured at bedtime is crucial for sleeping through the night in their room.
Create a Healthy Bedtime Routine
Number one is routine, children generally love routine. It gives them a sense of security knowing what they are doing and what to do next. So make creating a bedtime routine a fun activity. Family stickers for clocks like the one below from Redbubble give a clear visual guide for children to follow. You can create your own with a plain white clock and some textas to suit your timeframes. Generally, the routine includes Play time, Dinner, Bath and Book reading, followed by lights out (and nightlights on if it helps)
Keeping this routine can be harder than you think with dinners, your other children's events, and people coming over. The hardest part about being consistent is when your child comes into your bed when you are already asleep. It can be difficult to keep returning them to their bed when you just want to sleep yourself. Unfortunately (for parents) kids are quite clever and if they work out that persistence is all they need for you to let them stay…persist they will. So stand strong and within a couple of (exhausted) weeks, you will find your little one knows the score.
Children love praise, actually, pretty much everyone loves positive feedback, so when they sleep through the night (or most of the night) make sure they know how wonderful that is. Tell them repeatedly how proud you are of them and how you can't wait to see if they can do it again (children also love a challenge… just ask a child to race you somewhere). Also setting up a reward system for positive behaviour can help encourage your child to stay in their room. A sticker or a few extra minutes of playtime can be a great inspiration.
Do what you can to get some interruption-free sleep and if all else fails try and remember your children won't want to share your bed forever…
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