As a new parent, just putting our child to sleep through the night itself feels like such a big accomplishment that the thought of putting the child to sleep in his/her own bed seems distant. While this may be fine, especially in the Indian context, where the concept of babies sleeping alone is unheard of, you may like to move them to their own room as they grow a bit older for the sake of their independence and your comfort. If you feel your child is not ready yet, here are some of the things you may want to try -
Make the room comfortable
Before the child starts sleeping alone in his room, he should be comfortable there. Involve him in selecting and buying furnishing items. Start with short, daytime naps in his room. Try to make it fun for him. Consider putting up a tent for camping in the room for your little adventure lover or a princess castle for your little princess may make it enjoyable for them and lead them to sleep therein. Create an ideal sleep setting with appropriate night lamp and some favourite toys around them.
Banish the Monsters
Children have their own fears. While we know that monsters are their imaginations, they are as real as us for them. Spraying room freshener as monster spray all around, will make them feel that monsters have been sent off. I actually had to move furniture to get rid of a shadow which was troubling my son. It did give him confidence and worked.
Send them back to their bed
If they wake up at night and come to your bed, each time take them back to their bed. While it may sound very difficult when you have to do it in the middle of the night, but it does work. Make sure that all this had been communicated to the child. If sleeping in your bed is not allowed at 10 PM, but it is allowed at 2 AM, your child will probably develop a habit of waking up just to join you when he knows it is the right time.
Make a Reward Chart
Now this one always works. Reward each night spent in bed with a sticker, and after a full week of sleeping in their own room, they could win a prize which could be a toy, or a book or an outing.
Close the door
Close the door of the room where he is sleeping. You need not lock the door but it can definitely be shut. This will ensure that they are not woken up by any noise in the house.
Extra Comfort and Attention during day time
A child who shares a bed with parents, gets to cuddle all night with them. It is natural that the child is going to miss this connection and resist the change. Ensure that you give extra attention, cuddling and time to the child during day time so that the child does not feel any lack of affection. Also don’t forget to appreciate the child for being a big boy and sleeping alone.
Determine the Right Time
Determine the right time for transition. You may like to wait for a few weeks if there are already big things going on in your child’s life like - start of a new school, illness in family, new sibling etc.
While this transition may seem difficult and sometimes impossible, remember establishing good sleep habits takes time and patience, but the extra effort taken now will save many battles in the future.
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