First, Beauty and the Bump is a judgment-free zone, right? Okay, so yes, my three year old has been sleeping with us from the time she was a few weeks old until just two weeks ago. Why? The helicopter mom in me just felt more comfortable with her close by - really close by just to ease my "what if" fears. I enjoyed our cuddle time. Plus, it just made my life as a first-time, exclusively breast feeding mom much easier. Call me lazy, I don’t care. I need my rest. Yes, I could have let her cry it out, but, I am not that mom.
Now, let us fast forward to year three of bed sharing. With mini me seriously being half of my size in length, and then stretching out, and kicking covers in her sleep, oh and the infrequent bed-wetting, was getting to be too much. Our queen-sized bed was not cutting it. Plus, my husband resorted to sleeping on the couch some nights because he "couldn't sleep peacefully" with her in the bed. Later, I started feeling the same way. At some point, one gets tired of being woken up by a kick, slap or feet in their <insert body part>. I was also running out of disposable pads for the bed. And that my friends, is where I said, ‘Kim, enough is enough!’
How did I do it?
Every morning, and then in the evenings I’d prepare mini me for her transition into her own bed by letting her know it was time. Her room, currently, is right next door to ours, so we can hear her in an earshot. I let her know the following:
1. Mommy and Daddy are right here so nothing will happen to you
2. You have God and Jesus watching over you
3. You’ll sleep so much better in your own bed since you’ll have room to stretch out, and you can leave the sheets off or on when you want
4. You can keep your nightlight on, too. Just make sure you turn it off in the morning.
Guess what? It worked! When my husband came home, he asked where she was, and with the happiest heart, I said, “She is in her bed.” No tears, no fuss; just hugs, kisses and a story. Oh, and a small amount of strawberry milk did the trick. It has since been two weeks (and counting) since she began sleeping in her own bed. .:Mom Wins!:.
|I had to take a picture for proof!|
The following morning she was so proud of herself for sleeping in her own bed; however, she did wake up at the crack of dawn to exclaim “Mommy, it’s morning, can I wake up now?” Ahh, this girl is too smart for her own britches. It was 5:00 am! I said, “No, please go back to bed.” And that she did, of course, after I gave her strawberry milk.
I honestly believe that she had to be ready, and not forced or shamed into changing her comfortable sleeping habits. I also noticed that in giving her a responsibility, such as turning off her nightlight in the morning, also encourages her to continue sleeping in her bed. She says to me “Mommy, I’m a big girl. I turn off my light.”
I’m not going to pretend like this process is all rainbows and unicorns, because that, it is not! She wakes up in the morning, and then climbs in my bed or on top of me. Sometimes I let her stay, and the other times, I put her butt right back into her bed (where she belongs). Also, she wakes me up, and me only, to take her to the bathroom, at least once per night. Husbands must wear some kind of invisible cloak, I swear! I guess it’s better than getting peed on, right? I can’t win everything.
Now that I have her sleeping in her bed, my fear is that when we finally transition into our new home, she’s going to revert back to her old behaviors. Hopefully, the larger room, the décor, new bed, paint etc will entice her to stay in her own room from here on out. PRAY FOR US!
Beauty and the Bump's tips for transitioning your child into their own bed:
1. Communicate with your child your daily your expectations, and use positive language. That means, no shaming!
2. Acknowledge their fears, reassure and comfort them (her comfort is her nightlight)
3. Be consistent by putting them back into their own bed when they get out
4. Stay in the room until they fall asleep
5. Read to them right before bed
6. Reward them
Did you have trouble getting your child to sleep in his/her own bed? What did you do to nip it in the bud?