Do you want to break the co-sleeping habit and get your child to sleep independently? Are you and your husband desperate for some alone time or you just want your child to be a little more independent?
This process could take anywhere from a few days to weeks to months. The main thing is that you must be prepared for the transition and what may come with it. Follow the three P’s – Patience, Perseverance and Positivity.
Here are some great tips to help you and your child transition from sleeping with you to on their own.
1. Talk to your child
Once you have made up your own mind about the move or even better, your child seems to want to move, talk to them about it. Promote the new sleeping space as much as you can. The more you talk about it, the easier it will be for them to process.
2. Let your child help design their new space
You may already have the room ready but if not, you can let them help you design it. Take them shopping with you and let them pick out things for their new room – bedsheets, ornaments etc.. Emphasise on the items that go in “the big boys/girls room”. Your child will feel in control and will love this sense of power. It will also bring a sense of anticipation and excitement for them.
3. Get your child a sleep buddy
Up until now, you have been your child’s sleep buddy. You are there to comfort them when they need a cuddle, a bit of warmth when they are cold and someone to turn to when they are feeling scared. You need to replace yourself. If your child has a favourite teddy, talk to your child about it being their new sleeping buddy. A good idea is if you spray the buddy with a bit of your perfume or put a t-shirt of yours on it. That way, if your child wakes in the night, they can smell the teddy and be reminded of you. This buddy will be there to soothe and comfort them and make them feel as though they are not alone.
4. One step at a time
If you have a child that still has naps through the day, nap time is the perfect time to kick off the transition. It can be very daunting for a child to sleep alone at night but if you get them to have a nap in their “big boy/girl bed” during the day, their confidence will grow and when you think they are ready you can then move onto tackling the nights.
If this is still a bit too much for your child, you can start with them sleeping in a separate bed in your bedroom. That way they are in a “big bed” but they still have the comfort of knowing that your there.
5. Stick to a routine
For a lot of co-sleeping children, they don’t have a great routine. More times than not, they sleep when the parents sleep. You need to try and change this habit if thats what your doing and set up a good schedule. Children thrive on repetition and routine because the predictability helps a child feel less anxious when they know what to expect. They are also less likely to disrupt the schedule when they know what is coming.
When it comes to bed time, have a routine of brushing, bathing, story time, hugs and kisses and then sleep. The story and kisses should be done in their new bed. That way, they have something to look forward to the next night and they experience warmth, comfort and positivity before they close their little eyes.
6. Do not break the routine!
This can be hard! During the transition, if your child wakes and wants to snuggle into bed with you (no matter how much you want to too) – resist! If you let them come in once, they will know that they can come time and time again and the transition will take longer and longer. If he/she comes and wants to sleep with you, hug them and take them back to their bed. You can sit with them until they nod off again if you want.
7. Positive Reinforcement
Children thrive on praise and positivity. Make sure you keep rewarding your child with praise. This is a huge step for them and therefore you must reiterate how proud you are of them. You might want to start a sticker chart or give them the option of choosing what they can wear the next day – Anything to get them to want to do it again knowing that they will receive positivity and praise.
The key to the whole transition of moving your child from your room to their own room is CONSISTENCE. Inevitably at some point your child will want to come and sleep with you. They may cry, they may have a massive tantrum but don’t give in! Children are a lot more adaptable than you think. Be positive, persevere and push on through. You will get through the other side and both you and your child will be so happy to make it there.