I bet you never thought you would be co-sleeping, but you are, and now you are wondering how to make it stop. I know, I was that parent that said “My kids will not sleep in my bed or room!” and somehow a small human made her way into my room at night and my bed was no longer mine (that is bed-sharing, and something different by the way). You have decided you want your master bedroom back, it is probably the only space that can be totally yours anyways, kids have a way of taking over an entire house. How do you make your bedroom yours again and your child to be sleeping in their own room? Here are a few parenting tips on how to stop co-sleeping.
Parenting Tips: How to Stop Co-Sleeping
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Schedule and routine
Having a bedtime schedule and routine will help to get your child into her own bed. Kids (believe it or not) actually thrive when they know what to expect. Create a chart, and do it together so she feels like she is a part of this transition and not just being told what to do (there are plenty of other things we tell our kids to do ‘because I said so’). It will be a learning experience as well, learning to tell time and read. Something I have done with my daughter is ‘to do’ and ‘done’ chart with things on it like brush teeth, clean room, pj’s. When I tell her it is time for bed, she goes to the chart and goes down the mini list of things she has to do before bed.
Make it slow
Co-sleeping for a child is a very secure place to be. Even if you are not in bed yet, them sleeping in your room is a very comforting thing. Think about it, when you were a child and you were scared where did you go? I used to love hot summer nights a kid because it meant I could camp out in my mom’s air conditioned bedroom in a sleeping bag. Start the transition slow. With my daughter, when I wanted to stop co-sleeping, I started by letting her sleep in my room during the week (it was easier with my third shift work schedule) and she had to sleep in her bed on the weekends. She knew all week what to expect for the weekend. It was only a couple of nights to start so it wasn’t a shock to her little system. Being a room alone, in the dark is scary for a child! Shoot, it is scary for me at times!
Hype it up
Make a big deal out of her big girl bed, and all her toys and her own special space! If your child’s room thus far has just been a place for her to have her toys and play, think about maybe changing it up. Move around some furniture, get some new bedding and let her pick it out. Maybe let her pick out a new stuffed animal to sleep with at night. Making it fun is going to make the transition a bit easier.
Stay in the room
At first, I used to lay with my daughter until she fell asleep, but she would literally lay there fighting sleep for an hour or more, I am pretty sure I sprouted some new gray’s during that time! It got to be that I loathed bedtime. So I made a change. I play classical music on Pandora for her, I would rub her back or head for a bit and then I would say “Ok, at the end of this song I am leaving the room and it is time for you to sleep”. Does she magically go to sleep at the time I say? No, but at least she knows what to expect. As long as she is quiet and stays in her room, I am ok with that.
Only you know when it is time for the co-sleeping to come to an end. Admittedly, my kids are in my room, and I am ok with this. I know they won’t be there forever, and I like the closeness and the fact that they feel secure. Admittedly, I used to say ‘Oh no, when she is (insert age) she will be in her own room!’ and I have done that before, she has slept in her own room for a time. Sometimes there are huge changes going on your family lives as well, like a big move, or a divorce, and maybe during that time, co-sleeping is best, but that is for you to decide.