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5 Ways to Keep Your Child in Her Own Bed All Night

5 Ways to Keep Your Child in Her Own Bed All Night

You got the sleep-training thing down long ago.... well, sort of. Your preschool-aged child goes to sleep happily in her own room, and has for years, but still wakes every night at some point and crawls into bed with you. What to do?

1. Sleep Train  Again

Changes in routine and environment, even growth spurts, can undo well-established sleep patterns. As a result, many parents find themselves sleep training their children multiple times as they grow from babies to big kids. So it's no surprise that Cayleen T. recommends a SuperNanny sleep training technique that is also a bigger-kid version of "the sleep lady shuffle" (Kim West's no-cry approach to helping babies and toddlers sleep).

In SuperNanny's "stay in bed technique," as Cayleen describes it, "You do not communicate with the child. Even if they cry and beg for you (to read a book, to get a glass of water, to have a snack) [you] stay sitting and quiet [and] do not engage. If the child gets out of bed, place them back in bed and sit back down without saying a word. You may have to sit for a long time the first few nights, but you will see it improving each night the technique is done properly."

Cayleen adds that "the hard part" comes later in the night, when your child comes to your room. As hard as it is, "You must get up and walk them back to their room." Your actions have to communicate very clearly and consistently that your child's sleeping place is her own bed.

I think it helps to communicate with your child beforehand that you're going to be working together on helping her to sleep in her own bed. The fact that you can explain what's going to happen to an older child, and that she's capable of understanding what you want from her, can make sleep training easier at this stage than it was when she was a baby or toddler.

2. Let Your Child Choose Her Bedding

Circle of Moms member Poppy D. points out that it helps your child if she can choose the bed and/or bedding for her solo sleeping experience. Not only is it fun, it's empowering. If your child has some control over her environment, she is much more likely to enjoy spending the whole night there.

 

3. Put a Big Mattress on the Floor

One choice that has worked well for my family is keeping a queen-sized futon in the floor of our son's room. It's big enough for one of us to cozy up with our son and read to him, and also big enough to accommodate his toys and comfort objects.

4. Add a Softly Glowing Aquarium

Cheryl B. took the creative approach of outfitting her daughter's room with an aquarium. Her three-year-old had been afraid of the dark, and not only does the aquarium cast a soft light on the room, it provides calming entertainment during the bedtime hour.

5. Create a Soothing Bedtime Ritual

Many moms, myself included, find that establishing a calming bedtime ritual in your child's room puts her on track for a peaceful night of sleep in her own bed. I let my son choose the books he wants to read each night, and usually offer to read one or two fewer than I'm actually willing to read so that he can negotiate for more. And I no longer wait for him to fall asleep mid-sentence. I let him know that after we read this book (then this page), that we're going to say "night-night" to all the characters and tell them we'll see them tomorrow. I have to say, it's worked like a charm!

In the beginning, my partner or I would go back in after a few hours, to make sure he didn't get out of bed looking for us when he woke up alone. Now, if he wakes up and calls out, he waits for someone to come tuck him back in. It usually takes less than five minutes for him to fall back to sleep. And some nights, he doesn't budge at all.

Image Source: Alon Banks via Flickr/Creative Commons

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

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Join The Conversation
Monica-GAnthony1390943046 Monica-GAnthony1390943046 1 year

Every time you email an article it's always right on time with my current issue. Las time it was potty-training (my recently turned 3-year old still isn't interested) and now this article. She was sleeping through the night at 3 months. Her sleep behavior and patterns are (were) pretty good until recently she gets up throughout the night and comes into our bed. We eventually put her back in her bed but it can be somewhat annoying and definitely disturbs our sleeping time. I have all the last four recommendations going and the one that I'm going to have to try is #1, where I'm physically walking her back into her own bedroom and making her sleep there. We'll see...

JessicaLemmo JessicaLemmo 1 year

So what do you do if you have twins and it's really only the one who does it with out waking the other???

AliciaLeany AliciaLeany 2 years
i just explained to my 3 and 4 yr olds that its dangerous to sleep in mommys bed. they could fall out or get stuck under the covers or mommy (or daddy) could roll over on top of them and squish them. it also helps that my 3 yr old did fall out of my bed once
LisaTanguay LisaTanguay 4 years
My daughter has never been a night time sleeper. She sleeps about 4/5 hours in her own bed but I have to sit with her till she falls asleep, which I don't usually mind. Gives me time to unwind and catch up on some reading. I read by flashlight :). On the nights she gives me a hard time, it is the 3 strikes and mommy is out of room rule. It works. She goes through stretches where she will sleep in her bed all night long for weeks on end and then suddenly she is up 3 to 5 times a night and I give up and sleep in the extra bedroom with her so we all can get some sleep. My daughter gets horrible nightmares and night terrors at almost 4. Often when they happen it is heartbreaking sobs and screaming like someone is trying to kill her. It is genetic from my side of the family and the doctors say there is nothing known to help. I have them still, so do my 2 sisters and my mom. Now that we are older, ours are more like sleep panic attacks but my daughter's are so terrifying for her and I. My husband is a deep sleeper and doesn't usually hear her. My best advice is do what works for your family. There is no cure all for sleep issues. Just do your best and make sure everyone gets sleep, no matter what it takes. Good luck
TraceyHolland17441 TraceyHolland17441 4 years
OK, could some-one please give me some strategies on how I can get my 6.5 year old daughter to GO to sleep with out me in her bed? She will stay up until midnight! Unless I go to bed with her, I am at a loss, and my husband is very frustrated with the both of us.
CoMMember13629148071769 CoMMember13629148071769 4 years
I have given up on my kids sleeping in their own beds. Half the time I have my 14 year old in my bed. My next step is bribing
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