Kids love sleeping with their parents. Given the choice, most kids would sleep in their parents bed until they graduate high school. Well…not that long but long enough to make parents uncomfortable and for kids to be unable to fall asleep on their own. Need to get your child out of your bed? Be willing to get up and walk your child back to his/her own bed.
Is it that simple? Yes. Sometimes. Quite often.
Why? Because kids want to sleep in your BED more than they want to sleep with YOU. They want the comfort of sleeping in a big bed, sandwhiched between their parents. High thread count sheets. Comfortable mattress. Nice.
If you get up and walk them back to their room and lie with them until they fall asleep? Pretty soon they’ll stop making the walk to your room in the first place. They know the drill: that you’ll just walk them back so they’ll think a little while before they get up. They may even roll around for a few minutes and try to go back to sleep. Ultimately, they learn to self-soothe, which is a must for your child to become a healthy, resilient child.
So the next time you feel a little body next to yours, instead of sighing and rolling over to fall back asleep, get up, walk your child back to his bed, lie with him for a little while (or until he falls asleep) and then journey back to your bedroom. It takes more effort but is better off in the long run.
For more tips on helping children sleep, check out Why Smart Kids Worry.