One of the biggest stressful moments for parents is the time to put your child in their own bed. Many kids have difficulties to go to sleep in their own bed and every evening it is the same old circus in the house: sobs and screams until parents end up letting their kids sleep in their beds. Do you find this familiar? Don’t worry you are not the only one concerned.
Keep in mind the three important words: Habits, routine, rituals. Indeed, it is logical that a kid moans, cries or screams if he was used to sleep with his parents and that, overnight, they change their minds and send him in a room, on his own. It is really important to take a decision early, even when they are a baby and to stick to that decision. A baby as well as an older child need stability and this is part of it.
At birth, it is normal for a baby to sleep with his mother, even more if he is breastfeeding. He needs to feel his mother close by to feel safe. But after a few weeks, he should be getting used to sleeping in a cot at the side of the bed, with parents reassuring him with sweet words, a cuddly blanket and even a lullaby.
The key is to install a “bedtime ritual” that allows the baby or the child to calm down, be reassured, so that he finds his sleep alone. Bedtime stories will help him to calm down, to escape and to be reassured. It must make him understand that he is safe and not alone.
Before he falls asleep, he must be put in the bed where you decided to make him sleep so that when/if he wakes up during the night, he does not feel betrayed or lost. Always leave some light to enter the room or a night light so that your child won’t be afraid of the dark if he wakes up at night. He will be able to be quickly reassured and go back to sleep on his own, without screaming for you.
If your child is afraid, try to find why. It might be something in his room that looks weird in the dark. Try to have a look with him, showing him that everything is fine.
Don’t feel guilty if you have to give in and put him back in your bed sometimes. But don’t lose confidence: make him understand with calmness and love that he will always be safe in his room and that you are not far away from him. Later on, your child will find his own way to fall asleep, on his own without you reading stories every night. He will for example pick a book and read it himself or just look at the images.
Sleeping well is really important at every age. Take the time to reassure your kid and the screams and crying will stop. Everyone will be able to sleep well!