We introduced Hamish to a mattress bed in our room at 8 month, resulting in us not having any issues about him wanting to sleep in our bed or not wanting to be in his own bed.
But my older children, were not all as easy as Hamish. Most of them really did not want to stay in their own beds, let alone sleep there.
Here are some tips I used to help get your toddler to sleep in their own bed.
1. Make it fun
Before moving your toddler to their own bed, let them help to choose the linen, pillows and soft toys for the bed. This builds up an excitement and a want to be in their own space.
Keep to a consistent bedtime routine (bath, story, kiss and goodnight) This teaches your toddler what to expect each evening and helps them to find comfort.
3. Be positive
Your emotions and attitude towards bedtime will affect your child so, try to create positive associations around bedtime. Fill your child with praise for being so big.
4. Help them feel safe
The more secure your toddler feels, the better they are able to settle themselves if they wake in the evening. You can help them feel safe by letting them sleep with a favourite teddy, keeping a night light on, spraying under their bed with monster spray and reassuring them that you are just next door in the next room.
5. Offer incentives or rewards
Offer your child small rewards for staying in their bed.
There’s nothing wrong with rewarding your child for good behaviour. We all respond well to rewards.
Younger children may respond better to something small in the morning after they’ve stayed in their own bed all night, whereas older children, might prefer a bigger treat at the end of the week. Like a later bedtime in the weekend, extra screen time or a milkshake treat.
The key is to deliver the incentive as promised if they sleep in their own bed and to not reward it if they don’t.
Please don’t ….
Don’t stay with your child until they fall asleep. Children need to learn to self settle if they wake up. If you are rocking them to sleep, they will need to be tucked to sleep when they wake at 2am.
Don’t overreact or get angry if your child appears at your bed. Remember they are learning a new habit, this will take time.
What to expect
You can expect a few tears. This is normal.
In the begining continue to go back into the room and reassure your child or comfort them. Be kind but firm and do not allow them back into your bed.
This is a big milestone for little people but if you are consistent, firm and kind you should over come this hurdle in no time.