Getting your child back into his own bed

Many parents can get caught into a pattern of constantly taking their child back to his bed, only for him to come back straight out a few minutes later, leading to a bedtime battle

Many parents can get caught into a pattern of constantly taking their child back to his bed, only for him to come back straight out a few minutes later, leading to a bedtime battle

Tue, Apr 15, 2014, 01:00

W e have a little boy who was three last January who is sleeping in his own bed but now wakes up every night and comes into the bed with us. We are persistent and bring him back to his own bed. But he gets upset unless one of us stay with him as he drifts off the sleep. Most times we end up sleeping in his bed, which is not great.

Because he is not in a cot and sleeps in his own bed, he can easily jump out of his bed and run into our room. Putting a gate to his bed room door could be an option but this is unlikely to go down well . Any advice about how to resolve things would be helpful.

A Once child ren are mobile and able to climb out of the bed, a common sleep problem is for them to leave their room and seek you out when they wake at night. This can happen during the middle of the night when they wake or also just after they are put to bed and before they get to sleep. Many parents can get caught into a pattern of constantly taking their child back to his bed, only for him to come straight back out a few minutes later, leading to a bedtime battle. Some parents end up sleeping alongside their child (as you are doing) as a way of settling them, but this of course may be disruptive to your sleep and not something you want to do in the long term.


Maybe let him come into your bed at night?
Before deciding how to respond, it is worth taking a moment to think about how much of a problem it is for you as parents. For example, a significant number of parents allow their preschool child into their bed at night, accepting that he will grow out of this habit in his own time; for others, this is too disruptive and they work hard at getting a routine established whereby the child learns to self-settle and stay in his room. If you decide to change the habit, the good news is that there is a lot you can do to help your child learn to settle by himself. Unlike most one- or two-year- olds, at age three, children can understand routines when they are explained and can begin to make choices about how they behave. You could opt to put a child gate on his door, although this could mean that he gets out of the bed and calls you from the gate instead and may not teach him in the long term about self-settling.


Gradually teaching him to settle in
his own bed
Generally, I would recommend adopting a gradual process of teaching your son to stay in his bed at night. If you currently lie with him to help him settle, start with this and then gradually withdraw, perhaps to a mattress on the floor or a chair in a room or back to your own bed, depending on what he can tolerate.

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