Getting your child to sleep in their own bed: A sweet dream or a nightmare?

Each night, we read the story to our 3-year-old, gave her hugs, kisses and wished her good night. But she managed to wake up: I am hungry, I miss you, I had a bad dream. Can I sleep next to you? It was easy for my husband and I (already sleep deprived) to turn down the sheet and let our little monkey climb in our bed. It was easier than getting up and putting her back to bed, we thought. Bad decision!!! Really really bad. ย Itโ€™s the next morning, after a night getting pushed off to the edge of the bed that we say to each other: we should stop this!! But we could not help it and stop it!!

Getting your child to sleep in their own bed: A sweet dream or a nightmare?


One day, tired as we were, my mother asked to keep my 3-year-old for the night at her house. We enjoyed a full night sleep that this time we decided to make things change.

When the next night our 3-year-old tried to climb in our bed, we put her back and stayed her with the bed for a while. We did that for few days. It was still hard on us but at least, when we got back to our bed, we had few hours of good sleep.

We looked into her room and we thought that maybe her bed size was not appropriate. We recently moved her from her crib to a twin bed and noticed that she woke up earlier at night frightened. We thought maybe the bed size frightened her: she could get in easily. We searched for better transition beds and since she loved princesses, we got her a transition bed that we thought she will love sleeping in it!! She loved the idea.

We tried to make her room more attractive and we let her choose some themes, decorations to put. She was so excited. She felt like a grown up and enjoyed her room.

Each night, when reading the story and preparing for the night sleep, we clearly mentioned to her that from now on, she must sleep in her bed as a grown up. There was no exception. Thatโ€™s the rule and she had to stick to it.

We also asked her to go to the bathroom just before bed time so to avoid waking up and urging for bathroom in the middle of the night.

We were less weak on the whining and crying. When she woke up crying, we got her back into her bed and reminded her of the rule.

It was really hard on us and took us of lot of courage and time to get her to sleep in her bed, but it finally worked. And you? Did you go through this? How did you manage?

25 thoughts on “Getting your child to sleep in their own bed: A sweet dream or a nightmare?”

  1. I still remember those years. My girls learned to go to Daddy’s side of the bed. I couldn’t go back to sleep once I was awake. My youngest is 18 and believe it or not she sleeps in her own bed. Ha!

    Following from I love blogging.

  2. Catherine McChessney

    I have memories of this, but it is all over here now. Oh, wait, I did wake up this morning with a 9 yo in my bed. LOL! But she was sick and our bed is big enough that I didn’t even notice. However, we used to struggle with 2 little girls sleeping in our bed and pushing us over to the very edge. Since we couldn’t sleep, that had to stop.

    I stumbled you (found you on the stumble tumble tuesday hop), please stumble me back. Here’s my link: Love and Fear

  3. My husband and I went through the same thing with our twin boys. It wasn’t until they were 2 years old that we finally broke them of the habit, and our nights have been much better since we did. It’s definitely hard to do, but after a couple weeks they adapt and we actually get to sleep. Good luck, and stick with it …. I think the key is consistency.

    I’ve stumbled you and would love for you to stumble me back …

    ~ Devon
    Reading with Joey

  4. First of all, as you say, never never start this practice. EVER!

    If you do/did, then Dr. Farber has a proven technique (much like you used) to get a child to stay in their own bed. The central problem is that they do not know how to put themselves to sleep without coming into your bed. They just need to learn it. It’s much a like a child who needs a bottle to fall asleep or needs to be rocked to fall asleep or…they just need to learn how to put themselves to sleep. The earlier this is done, the better. Good for you! I know it is very very hard grueling work. But so is no/broken sleep.

    Please stumble me, I stumbled you. Thanks for participating in Stumble Tumble Tuesday. Please join us again next week!
    The Chief Blonde!

  5. It is never easy Aprile. I did not have this issue with my 9 year old boy. He slept by himself in his bed but it was different with my youngest. Guess she is a daddy girl!!

  6. From the beginning, my daughter always slept in her own bed. She is 2 1/2 now and she sleeps in a full size bed with rails. We did have issues when we stopped the night time bottles but that only lasted a week or so. When we transitioned her from a crib to a toddler bed that was much harder as she had the ability to get out of bed but we stuck with it and now she falls asleep very well on her own, in her own bed and stays there all night. It wasn’t easy but it was worth it.

  7. The books “Good Night” and “Matilda & Maxwell Good Night” were written to make bedtime a fun, calm activity for all parents. The system is called, “What’s the Rule?” — IT WORKS! After only 3 nights I had my bed back and a very happy child!

    GoodParentGoodChild books feature one book for the kids and one for the adults — so the whole family is on the same page!

    1. Rebecca,

      I wish I had your book a year ago!!! Your book is really amazing and helpful. In my opinion every parent should read it!! It’s a great reference for busy parents and children

  8. This is no fun and I can relate. When my husband was deployed last year, my step-daughter’s mom let my step-daughter sleep with her EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. When my husband came back, chaos ensued. My step-daughter resented us for not letting her sleeping in our bed. (She was 6 at the time.) It was the worse week in my life. She screamed and yelled how she hated us for hours.
    Once she realized we meant business, we haven’t had any problems. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I found you on Not So Moody Monday’s Blog Hop. I’m your newest follower. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. That must have been hard on everybody Katie. At this age, they can say words that they do not fully understand and it hurts the family feelings. I am glad everything is back to normal.
      Thank you for your visit. Have a great week

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