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Are Your Kids Still Crawling into Bed With You? Here’s How To Encourage Them To Sleep on Their Own When You’re Ready
Parenting Power Admin July 29, 2011 8 Comments

Are Your Kids Still Crawling into Bed With You? Here’s How To Encourage Them To Sleep on Their Own When You’re Ready

This is an emotional issue for parents. When tired, we either get in a midnight power struggle and/or eventually give in. Deciding what you want for your family should happen in the cold light of day not in the middle of the night. If kids in your bed works for you then don’t change it but know that you are establishing a habit – you are clearly stating your expectations through your actions. If/when you decide that your kids need to sleep on their own, don’t let fear stand in your way.

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Sleep is a gift that lasts a lifetime. You can’t make your kids sleep (which is the reason this is such an issue in the first place) BUT, children are capable of learning to keep their head on the pillow, lie quietly and wait for sleep to come. The big issue is when parents interfere with the child’s capability to put themselves back to sleep; our actions are teaching them that they can’t do it.

So how do you give the gift of sleep? The end result is the same but how you get there is up to you.

Set up a plan that is right for your family:

  • Will you rub a back and then wean that behaviour or are you the cry-it-out type?
  • Will you allow a night light or keep things dark?

Whatever the plan, you need to know it first and then involve your kids as well (allow input– when do we start the plan – tonight or tomorrow night?) Let them know the script (what you’ll say when they’re in your room, what strategies they will use when they are waiting for sleep). We help parents across Canada find their sleep solution. Let us know if you need help.

Replies (8)

Raelene September 20, 2011 at 7:29 pm

I was doing fantastic with my kids sleeping through the night. I still am really. however now that I am back to work full time after my second maternity leave, My 3 year old often crawls into bed with me, cause I am just too tired to deal with it. I have narrowed it down to her needing to go to the bathroom – is what is waking her up, but I feel like such a bad mom denying her something to drink after 6pm, but that is what seems to work, so i am slowly getting over my guilt , especially when I get to sleep through an entire night, ha ha

    Parenting Power Admin September 21, 2011 at 3:14 am

    Raelene,

    You’ve got a lot going on right now, so if it is working for your family to have your little one in bed, then let it be. When (if) you decide that things need to change, then you need to make a plan, let her in on it and move forward constistently. We all wake regularly through the night and typically put ourselves back into the next sleep cycle. Your kids have learned this before (as they were able to sleep through the night) so you will need to make a plan with your 3 year old about heading back to her bed after using the washroom, head on pillow and waiting for sleep to come to her. You will reinforce this when she comes into your bed. Let us know if you need help with the language. Just take things one step at a time so that it makes sense for your family. Good luck!

giulliana October 14, 2011 at 2:55 pm

My 21 months old didn’t want to sleep on her crib anymore so we put her on a “big girl bed” she has been doing great going to bed for 3 months. two days ago she started no wanting to go to be at all, last night a found her on the hall between her bedroom and mine, she was sleeping on the floor we picked her up and put her back to bed, 3 hours later she did the same thing. I am not sure if she is scared, hot, or she is on those crazy stages, specially because I am 37 weeks pregnant maybe she is just feeling the changes already… please help.. She sleeps on a dark room, we have a routine, she always takes her special animals with her..we tried to put her back to bed every time she came out of her room, but now, she just stays on the floor.. is this normal?

    Parenting Power Admin October 16, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Sleep patterns change as our children grow and develop. The best way we can help our children through these different stages is to have a clear, consistent family plan that will work for all. When parents are unclear in their actions and words to their children, their children interpret this as “I am really not sure what is expected of me. I had better test the environment and try to find out.” IF they test and get inconsistent feedback/data back – guess what, they test harder and longer – they are in fact, searching for some consistent data/findings – they want their world to be predictable and consistent – it sends them a message that they are capable and they are safe.

    So…as mentioned above – every family needs to make a plan – but that plan needs to work for your family. At Parenting Power we believe very strongly that there is no ONE right way to do something. We can all have an end goal in mind – in this case – having your daughter stay in her bed for the entire night – but how we get there is unique to your family. In other words, we want to set you and your child up for success!

    Your daughter could be coming out of her room for many reasons. We would definitely encourage you to set up a time (not in the moment) that you can sit her down and tell her you are going to make a new plan around family expectations around staying in her bed until morning (we don’t want to say “sleep” ever because we can’t make anyone sleep and we all wake up during the night- sometimes, several times a night. Your goal, we think, is to have her stay in her bed and put herself back to sleep). Tell her what you know – that she is getting out of her bed and coming to sleep on the floor in between hers and your room. Ask her if she knows why she is doing it? She may not. Just accept her answer – don’t start asking questions like, “are you cold, are you scared?” etc. Just accept her answer. Now, you can make a plan – with her – it is not something we are doing to her. Here’s where your options for the plan will depend on your family. Will you decide to bring her back to her bed each time CONSISTENTLY if she chooses to get out – let her know that. Are you okay with her sleeping in between the rooms and will you provide a small mattress? Will you go with small steps and allow the behaviour for a certain period of time and then follow through by expecting her to stay in her bed. What will work for your family? Any plan will work if you involve the child, set clear consistent expectations and then follow through (with actions not necessarily words).

Ilene June 19, 2012 at 5:30 pm

My five year old and four year old both climb into bed with us in the middle of the night. I have been talking with them about it for months now about how they are big kids and they need to stay in their beds all night but it’s not working. They seem to be little ninjas because i don’t even wake when they come in. The only point I realize that they are there is when I have a foot in my spine and no covers. I have read reviews on how to stop this but it mostly consists of putting them back into their own beds when they come into our room. But if myself or my husband does not wake up when this happens, what are we suppose to do??

Susanna Ruhmann August 14, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Thanks a ton for this – love the info and agree with your perspective. However many others will not, so thanks for speaking up. Nice blog, well done!

Burton Difebbo April 18, 2015 at 2:47 pm

thanks for the information, I was greatly helped at all with the information that you wrote this. thank you very much

Brittney. September 3, 2016 at 4:19 am

My boyfriends daughter is four and a half. We have her 3 days a week and her mom has her the rest. Every night my boyfriends daughter is here she wakes up and demands he sleeps in her room on the floor. He doesn’t mind of course but to me it upsets me he goes and sleeps on the floor. He was diagnosed with MS and is in a lot of pain, so I know he isn’t comfortable. How do I get them to start changing sleeping habits!

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