How Do I Get My Kid to Sleep Alone in a Bed

Your child might desire your comforting presence at night due to various reasons – they could be worried, lonely, or simply not ready to call it a day. The good news is that this habit can be altered. If you’re wondering, “How do I get my kid to sleep alone in a bed?” you’re in the right place. Let’s explore the ways you can encourage your child to sleep independently.

1. Get rid of distractions.

Take TVs, computers, and other electronic gadgets out of your child’s room to make it a better place for them to sleep. “Watching TV or playing video games is stimulating, and the light from computer and TV screens makes it much harder to fall asleep,” says Judith Owens, M.D., a Parents adviser and writer of Take Charge of Your Child’s Sleep. Certainly, kids who need it can use a dim light, like a night light.

2. Set up a routine for going to bed

Take a nice bath, put on your pajamas, brush your teeth, and read bedtime stories. Getting into a routine makes kids feel more confident about going to bed. This helps kids mentally get ready for what will happen and makes them less worried at night. It makes the kid feel less stressed and gives them a set of steps to look forward to that they know will lead to bedtime.

3. Help out when you need to.

A typical complaint from parents is that their children have trouble falling asleep unless they can hear their voices. However, if you try to leave the room before they are deeply asleep, turmoil ensues in the form of sobbing, clutching, and a fresh start at getting to sleep. Emilie Caro, who is a certified pediatric sleep expert and the founder of Emilie Caro Sleep in New York City, likes to leave the room slowly.

Even though it may seem counterintuitive, you should start by staying in your child’s room for a few days but try to be as boring as possible. Giving your child attention, even if it’s bad attention, will make them do the same thing again. Don’t play with your child when it’s time for them to sleep. For the first few days, just put your child back to bed whenever he or she wakes up. Because you live close to them, they start to sleep through the night in their own bed.

4. Reduce how much you’re there.

You’ll want to leave once you’ve calmed your child down as soon as possible. Stop sleeping in your child’s room. Instead, sit in a chair near their door at bedtime and if they wake up in the middle of the night for a few days. Then get out of the room completely. By Day 10, Caro’s clients usually see a “huge improvement.”

5. Set up a feeling of safety.

Your baby might be wide-eyed at bedtime because you’re not there or because he or she thinks there’s a monster under the bed. Help them wake up and get over their fears by giving them calming things like stuffed animals, blankets, or even a goldfish tank. Let your child feel safe by having someone else in the room.

6. Don’t rush.

Many parents would rather put their children to bed and say they’ll check on them in a little while. You should keep your word but wait longer and longer each time. The best case scenario is that they’ll fall asleep during one of these times. Dr. Owens says to start with a five- to ten-minute wait. They are probably awake if you come back in less than 5 minutes. But if you wait too long, the child might get nervous and upset, which makes the problem worse.

7. Be consistent.

If your child comes into your bed throughout the night, Dr. Owens recommends quietly returning them to their own space. Just tell him or her, “You need to stay in bed.” You should be strong about putting your child back to bed every time this happens. Your child will learn to be more determined if you don’t do this every time.

8. Reward good behavior.

Even though it’s important to ignore bad behavior, like crying, it’s also important to praise good behavior. If your child had a good night, let them pick out their favorite cereal or clothes the next morning. This helps them connect what they did with what they got.

9. Pay attention to your child during the day.

Caro suggests putting ten minutes of one-on-one time at the top of your list each day. Even if it’s just a few minutes a day, focusing solely on your child and listening to them can make a huge difference in their development. It also fills their “attention cup” during the day, when they should be getting attention.

Meaningful articles you might like: How to Handle Sleep Regressions in Toddlers, How to Monitor Your Child’s Meals, Diapers, and Sleep, What to Do When Your Baby Won’t Go to Sleep