When did the parent’s bed turn into the family’s bed? It may seem to have happened overnight. Many families with small children struggle with bedtime in general. A common problem many parents face is getting their children to sleep in their own beds throughout the night. There are various reasons a child may prefer to sleep in their parents’ bed. Perhaps your child is concerned with the things that go bump in the night. Maybe your child is anxious about something at school.
The pros and cons of allowing a child to share their parents’ bed are debatable. The real issue occurs when parents no longer want their children to share their bed. This may be the result of poor sleep quality for either child or parents, lack of space in bed for all members to sleep comfortably, and inability for parents to be intimate with each other among others.
If you find yourself no longer wanting to share your bedspace with your children, how do you get them to begin sleeping in their own beds again? It is important that parents realize a routine has been established. Simply telling your child they are not allowed to sleep in your bed anymore will likely end in tears or tantrums. Establishing a new bedtime routine for your child will enhance your success. Consider having a discussion with your child about the changes that will soon occur in their bedtime routine.
Changes in routine are difficult for all, but especially difficult for children. Remember to be patient but stick to the new routine you have established. It may be helpful to read bedtime stories or say prayers with children to help them relax and fall asleep. Many children find it comforting if a parent says they will check on the child after the child has fallen asleep. Night lights, weighted blankets, or special stuffed animals may help your child feel safer when they are alone at night. Once a new sleep routine has been normalized, you and your child should be able to sleep well, in sperate beds of course.
If you would like to speak to a professional counselor or psychologist about this and are in the Chicago area, please feel free to contact Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc. at 708-633-8000. We are located at 6819 West 167th Street in Tinley Park, Illinois 60477.
Written By: Hillary R., Masters Level Intern 2023
Bowerman, M. (2017, March 9). Reclaim your bedroom: How to get your kids to sleep in their bed. USA Today. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/03/07/reclaim-your-bedroom-how-get-your-kids-sleep-their-bed/98798814/
Sleeping alone: 10 tips and tricks for helping kids stay in their own bed every night. Thumsters Parenting App – Ditch the star chart. (n.d.). https://www.thumsters.com/post/10-tips-and-tricks-for-helping-kids-stay-in-their-own-bed
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