How To Get Your Older Child To Sleep In Their Own Bed

Looking for tips on how to get your older child to sleep in their own bed? Check out a few ideas that will hopefully have everyone resting easier at night in their own spaces!


Cosleeping is a common practice by many families, but that usually ends around the toddler years. Knowing How To Get Your Older Child To Sleep In Their Own Bed is something many parents struggle with on a regular basis. Whether that child is 5 or 7 doesn’t matter. There comes a time when you want them to sleep in their bed and not yours. As many parents ask about this, we felt it was appropriate to address some common ways to encourage them to sleep in their own room.

Related: Letting Your Child Sleep with You May Prevent Childhood Obesity

This post is actually encouraged by a real question on one of our favorite message boards. A mom told us that her 7-year-old son falls asleep in his own room quickly with a night light, but still ends up on her floor every night.

How To Get Your Older Child To Sleep In Their Own Bed

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Talk to them about why they want to sleep with you or in another room. If you haven’t yet, it is time to talk to them openly about why they want to sleep with you, a sibling or even on the couch. If they are afraid, it is time to make sure those fears are alleviated. If they are lonely, encourage them to snuggle with stuffed animals, pray or use white noise to help them relax at night. If it is an uncomfortable bed, make changes that will make it a comfortable place for them. Listen to their reasons objectively and work with them to fix the problem.

Find out what is waking them up at night. Children shouldn’t wake a lot in the night by the time they are grade school age. Make sure they are using the bathroom before bed, not drinking a lot in the last hour before bed, and relaxing properly before bedtime. Eliminate distractions from their room like the television. Make sure you are giving them plenty of time to wind down at bedtime so they are able to relax and sleep well. This could mean an earlier meal time, fewer treats and sugar filled foods in the evenings, or perhaps a mild dose of melatonin or some calming essential oils prior to bedtime.

Related: How To Get Siblings To Actually Go to Sleep in the Same Room

Let them create the bedroom they want. Sometimes a simple upgrade in their bedroom is all it takes. A new bed or bedding can make them feel like a part of the process while giving them an uplift that makes them want to stay there. Changing the type of bed they have, or adding in night lights and white noise like a fan or noise machine are also excellent ways to create a bedroom that will help your older child to sleep in their own bed. Try reducing toys and clutter in the room too. Think about it: all those toys may be fun during the day, but at night they cast creepy shadows!

You can get back to normal sleep habits for everyone in your home. Making a few simple changes can quickly and easily help your older child to sleep in their own bed. This will give everyone in the family a better chance at a good nights sleep.

Do you have any other tips for how to get your older child to sleep in their own bed? Share in the comments!

19 thoughts on “How To Get Your Older Child To Sleep In Their Own Bed”

  1. My stepson lives with us full time and spends every other weekend with his mom. She allows him to sleep with her for the 3 nights she has him. When he comes back home he wants to continue the practice with us. We’ve gotten him a night light/noise machine, he sleeps with a fan on most nights, and with at least one of our two dogs. He also has plenty of stuffed animals. He still asks to either sleep in our bed or have one of us sleep with him in his bed. My concern is now I’m pregnant and he’ll be 7 by the time the baby arrives. Him sleeping with us while I’m constantly growing is not fun for me. Along with the night time movements of a growing 6 year old.

    1. I’m going through the same. I let my boyfriend make the final decision but he always gives in and let’s his son sleep with us. It’s so uncomfortable sleeping with a 7 years old. Even our personal life is getting affected. Now we don’t have time to chat at nights or do grown up stuff. I’m getting tired of this. Then when I have told the kid that he needs to sleep I his bed he tells me “it’s daddy’s home he makes the rules and if he says no then I just cry”

  2. When my eldest son was 2 months old we had a break in..and he was in his own room. Since then I was terrified having my two sons in a different room incase it happened again… 11 years later and no break ins. My oldest son went to his own bed so easily when he was 8 because there was no room in our queen bed with four bodies. But I still have my youngest who is 8 now and I tried so many things to get him in his own bed. I have tried a new bed..bunk beds..night slept with him in there…I read so many books. ..sing a summary on cd …making new routines…he just won’t settle.

    1. Hi I had the same problem with my eldest daughter. So I started by sitting next to her bed but not interacting with her till she slept this took a couple of weeks. Then I moved near to the door but still in the room, again no interaction. This took another couple of weeks for her to go straight to sleep. Finally I sat just outside the door and at first I needed to make a reassuring noise – a gentle mmm sound but no other interaction. After another few days she started to settle herself. It’s a good investment of time and I appreciate not every one could dedicate that amount of time but we’ve never had any trouble with her bedtime since – ps. she is 27 now – hope this helps x

  3. My son used to ask to sleep with us every night. He usually ended up in bed with us at some point, well after we were asleep and could put up a fight. Now that he’s sleeping in his own bed all the time, I kind of miss him coming in to cuddle with us!

  4. We recently moved houses, so this has been a bit of a challenge. My munchkin thinks that he should sleep in our bed!

  5. It can be so frustrating. My toddler is now getting up in the middle of the night and wandering around and then hopping into our bed. His sleeping routine is so messed right now with summer. I hope that these tips can apply to my kid too. I hope that he will sleep through the entire night!

  6. Fi Ní Neachtáin

    My son is almost two and a half and still sleeps in his cot, he’s happy there so I don’t want to move him. He does cry in the middle of the night and comes into my bed, I think he enjoys being next to me. I don’t mind it at this age but I hope when he gets a little bit older he’ll want to sleep in a proper bed and stay asleep all night too.

  7. It took me the longest time to want to sleep in my own room as a child! I don’t really think I had nightmares or any kind of fears keeping me awake, I was just comforted knowing my Nana was right next to me. Now, sometimes, I almost want to kick my hubby out of bed for snoring so much. :)

  8. My youngest has trouble sleeping by himself – he still likes to sleep with his brother. I know he’ll grow out of it, but it can’t happen soon enough.

  9. I never had that problem with my son. I recently had my 7 yo great nephew here for a few days, visiting form 400 miles away. He had always slept with his mom and dad so that’s how he planned. He ended up sleeping on the couch by himself, even a couple nights downstairs in the den. But at home, he went back to the same thing.

  10. Oh brother. The struggles I’m going to have to deal with when I have children. I’m not looking forward to them hopping into our bed and hoggin’ the whole mattress. I’m not a fan of that. I had a sleep over with my nephews last time I was home visiting them and I got like an inch of the mattress the entire night. Didn’t get a wink of sleep barely! HAHA

  11. It really helps. As for me, I find it effective to put a soft relaxing music in the background. Chatting with them about their day is also good as it relieves them of doubts or any emotional disturbance they have. No drama from the kids, so everyone can have their good night’s sleep.

  12. I remember fighting to stay awake when I was younger with my parents. These are great tips for any parent with a child struggling to sleep in their own room. We had a friend paint their child’s room dark colors to help them sleep.

  13. I am not a mother, but I can imagine how much security it brings to a child’s thoughts to sleep with his/her parents. I have a sister that co-sleeps while breastfeeding but all of her children where in their own beds by the age of two. She rarely has the older children climb in her bed unless the have bad dreams, storms, or a rare occasion that they just couldn’t get back to sleep after going to the potty. You share some great tips that I am sure are useful to all mothers! :)

  14. I agree that a simple spruce up of their bedroom can do wonders. Who doesn’t want to enjoy their new stuff? Also yes, clutter can make weird shadows, but it’s also distracting to a kid who’s having trouble sleeping!

  15. I don’t have any kids right now, but I remember as a kid always wanting to sleep in my parent’s room. My older sister (5 years older) and I shared a room and she was very bossy/domineering and I never felt like that was ‘my’ room. I was afraid of the dark, but my sister insisted we had to have both closet doors open and no night light, so I was too scared to sleep. It wasn’t until my parents had my share a room with my brother (1 year older) when I was 8 that I was able to sleep in my own room at night. Perhaps add a suggestion that parents of kids who share a room help the kids come to a compromise on what would make them both feel safe and comfortable at night.

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