When you’re ready to end co-sleeping, here’s some helpful tips to smooth the way at bedtime.
Co-sleeping. Now THAT is a controversial topic among parents! On one end of the spectrum, you have your committed co-sleepers; on the other end of the spectrum, you have parents refusing to co-sleep under any circumstances.
What I have found through helping families with their sleep issues is that many parents fall somewhere in the middle. Some families intended to co-sleep for a short period of time. Others have resorted to co-sleeping out of sheer desperation since it sometimes makes the night-wakings more manageable.
Whatever the choice, there comes a time when these families are ready to transition their baby or toddler out of the family bed and into their own sleep space. Here are 4 gentle steps you can take to help your child with this transition:
1) Speak to your child about this change
Begin a conversation with your child (if he’s old enough) about the exciting changes regarding bedtime and sleep. Talk about your child’s new big bed (or crib) and pillow. Get him involved by letting him choose his own sheets.
Reading your child a book like “It’s Time To Sleep In Your Own Bed” will help your child feel more at ease with the transition. Remind your child that this is an exciting stage in his life!
2) Introduce a transitional object
It’s important for your child to have a stuffed animal or blanket that she can receive comfort from during nighttime. If your child is older, let him pick out which object he would like to sleep with. Try incorporating the object into bedtime rituals. You can also try wearing the object in your shirt for a few hours so that it gets your scent, which will be comforting to your child.
3) Spend a few nights sleeping in the new room together
Moving into your child’s room for a few nights will help create a bridge between the family bed and independent sleep. Try to distance yourself from your child as he falls asleep so that he begins to strengthen his independent sleep skills.
4) Teach your child how to fall asleep on her own
There are many different approaches you can use to teach your child how to fall asleep on her own at bedtime; some approaches are more direct while other options are more gentle and gradual. Make sure you have a proper sleep plan in place that you are comfortable executing and that you remain 100% consistent throughout the process.
I want to emphasize that there is no right or wrong sleeping arrangement for your child. The decision to safely co-sleeping is a respectable and personal choice. If a co-sleeping arrangement is working for your family, then there’s obviously no need to make changes. However, if you are ready to end co-sleeping and transition your child to his own sleep space, remember that children are much smarter and more adaptable than you think. With the right plan in place, he will adjust to his new sleeping arrangements.
Need More Info on Getting Your Kids to Bed?
Problems with toddler sleep habits? Check out 4 Common Causes Of Toddler Sleep Problems
Toddler won’t stay put? Check out 5 Things To Help You Sleep Soundly Even When Your Toddler Wants To Climb Out Of The Crib
Need some info on safe sleep habits for infants? Check out Dina’s Safe Sleep for Infants 101
Eva is a certified Infant and Child Sleep Consultant through the International Maternity and Parenting Institute and is the founder of My Sleeping Baby. Eva’s main goal is to assist her clients establish healthy sleep habits for their children. After experiencing the debilitating effects of chronic sleep deprivation from her two children, Eva was inspired to help families overcome their sleep challenges. Eva truly empathizes with her clients’ sleep troubles and personally invests herself in their sleep journey. Eva is a proud wife and mother of two beautiful girls (who are now both great sleepers) and lives with her family in Toronto. She provides individual sleep consultations, either in-person or over the phone, and facilitates group seminars. In addition to completing her sleep consulting certification, Eva has her Bachelor of Arts from York University and her law degree from the University of Western Ontario.