Picture lying in your bed just nodding off when suddenly you hear footsteps echoing down the hall. Your bedroom door slowly creaks open and those footsteps get louder as they edge closer and closer to your bed.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that this is the intro to a scary movie, but it’s actually a common occurrence experienced by parents or caregivers when their child refuses to sleep in his or her own room.
It is, of course, only natural that your child wants to spend time with you, especially when it’s dark outside and they feel a certain sense of fear. However, it is important that you encourage them to be more independent by sleeping in their own bed. That being said, it’s essential that you choose the right time to do this.
When is The Right Time?
Our children go through so many milestones in their young lives. Crawling, walking, talking, potty training, and going to preschool. Their minds and bodies are going through changes all the time and adding to that may not give you the results that you want.
If your child is used to sleeping with you, suddenly removing this comfort could result in tears, tantrums, and even certain developmental regressions. It may be best to do this between milestones so that your child is not overwhelmed by all of the changes.
Communication is Key
Your child needs to understand the why and how of the process. Explain the importance of quality sleep and that they need to be independent. Tell your child that you still love them and that you’ll always be there when they need you.
Stick to The Routine
Routines will be different in each household, but there are some points to keep in mind.
It is important that your child not have any caffeine or stimulants before bedtime. It’s also essential to remove any mental stimulation before bed, such as tablets, mobile phones, or TVs. They need to be relaxed and ready for a good night’s sleep.
There are some practical tips that you can make use of, which might make the process easier on you and more fun for your child.
A Reward-based System
Each milestone can be a full night in their own bed. Come morning time, your child will receive a sticker or a card, and once they build up enough stickers, they get the big reward. This can be determined by your child’s personal preferences.
It’s a good idea to put up their sticker chart where the whole family can see it and to make a show of rewarding your child with a sticker after every successful milestone.
A Space They Want to Sleep In
It’s important to get your child actively involved in decorating their room. Not only will this give them responsibility and an opportunity to make their own decisions, it will also ensure that their space is inviting and welcoming.
This could be a great opportunity to teach your child how to tell the time. You could tell your little one that they are only allowed to come into your bed at 8am and then explain what that looks like on the clock.
You could then tell your child to come at a later time each day or week. Not only will they be learning a new skill, they will be spending more time in their room. They can even spend that additional time thinking of a new game or activity for the family to try.
It’s important to remember that patience is key. These changes will not happen overnight and will take dedication and consistency on your part.
Using an Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) approach means that your child will be learning while playing and having fun. If you’d like to find out more about this or if you’d like some more information about one of our centres in Sydney, then contact us today.