It probably started out innocently enough — after a long and trying day, your toddler refused to stay in her bed. Desperate to get some snooze, you carried her into your room, tucked both of you into your bed and got your much-needed rest.
Of course, your child thought this arrangement was so delightful, she quickly became intent on sharing your bed every night. Pretty soon you found yourself in a family bed arrangement, trying to share your queen-sized mattress with a whirling dervish of a sleeping toddler.
Fortunately, it is possible to reclaim your own bed and get your precious kiddo back in his own bed at night. It may take a few tries for your child to really “get it,” but with patience and a good dose of maternal stubbornness, it can be done.
Talk about it in the afternoon
Instead of waiting until bedtime to announce your plan to take back your bed, bring it up in the afternoon when everyone is awake and chipper. Let your bed hogging cutie pie know that moms and dads sleep in their own bed by themselves, and it’s time for him to sleep in his own bed again. Depending on how old your child is, you can also reassure her that you’ll be there to help her feel comfy in her own room again.
Set up a soothing bedtime routine
Kids need routine and structure, especially at bedtime when they are tired. A calm and predictable bedtime routine will help your kids know what to expect every single night, including going to bed in his own room. This can include preparing a light snack like crackers and milk, reading a book or two together, brushing teeth and going to the bathroom, finding your child’s special “lovey,” tucking your child into her bed, kissing her goodnight and quietly leaving the room. Buy a toddler pillow to give her something her size that she can fluff.
Consider a room re-do
If you have been sharing your bed with your child for some time, it might be especially difficult to get him back in his own room. To make the move back into his own space a positive one, suggest a room makeover.
Let your child choose a new color for the room and repaint it, adding wall decals of his or her favorite TV show or book characters.
If your child has been sleeping in a toddler bed, it may also be time to upgrade to a big kid bed with a twin-sized mattress. Take your little one shopping and let her try out several beds to see which type of mattress is the comfiest for her. To save money, consider purchasing the new twin sized mattress from an online retailer. And to entice your child even further, allow him to choose a new bedding set and new stuffed animal.
Spend time in the room during the day
If your kiddo usually builds with LEGOs in the living room or has an arts and crafts table in a toy room, he might not be used to being in his own bedroom.
To make the room as safe and familiar as possible, spend time together in his bedroom during the day as often as you can. Keep her toys and books in there, and head there to read books or put together a puzzle.