In India, it’s a common practice for the parents to sleep with infants and toddlers. This brings the closeness to the family and also makes the children feel comfortable and cozy while asleep. But the need arises at some stage to bring a shift and to move your child to his/her bed. The reasons for this may be different like- the small bed, the loss of privacy and intimacy with your spouse, the arrival of a newborn baby, or your need for good quality sleep. Whatever be the reason, believe me, the transitioning toddler to own bed isn’t easy for you as well as for the kid. After all, it’s a big change for a kid to sleep separately where there is no one to bear their kicking all night.
Transitioning co-sleeping toddler to own bed might seem like a difficult task, but it’s worth it because of the advantages.
Advantages of Moving to Separate Bed
Children develop many types of fears and they feel comfortable and safe in your closeness. So it’s going to be challenging for you to convince them for the shift. But there are some sure shot advantages like,
- He/she will grow fearless and independent.
- He/she will develop confidence.
- This practice will boost his/her resilience power.
- Parents get back their private moments which is essential
Signs your Child is Ready for Toddler Bed | When is it Time to Stop Cosleeping
When a child is so much used to co-sleeping, we as parents also will be doubtful if he/she will be able to sleep separately in a different room.
Here are some of the signs that show your child is ready for a separate bed in a separate room.
- have no existing sleep issues
- can nap during the daytime without someone closeby
- have stopped night feeds
- are aware of imaginary boundaries like bed edge
- have no illness like asthma, breathing issues, etc.
- demands more space for sleeping or expresses that its uncomfortable to cosleep
- asks for his/her bed
9 Tips for Transitioning Toddler to Own Bed | How to Transition from Co-sleeping to Kid’s Bed
Different parents decide to wean the child from the family bed at different ages. That depends on you and your child. Whenever you decide to make the shift, here are a few tips to help you to ease transitioning toddler to own bed.
#1. Make the transition gradual
To shift from co-sleeping with parents to their separate beds might be the most challenging task for the kids. For the same reason, proposing the child to move to his/her separate bed brings many reactions from children- ranging from tears to tantrums. As long as there is no urgent need for the move, you may use the time to make the move gradual. Adapting gradual transition will make your child ready for the move confidently when the real need arises.
Help your child to move to his/her bed comfortably by following the ‘fading’ technique.
What is the fading technique?
The fading method for transitioning toddler to own bed is a gentle and reassuring way to stop cosleeping. Sit with the child on the first night of the transition, pacify him/her with a bedtime story. Help him/her to sleep. Tell your child that you are with him/her till he/she sleeps and then you will move to your bedroom. Stay close till the child sleeps. Stay with your child for the first few days if required. Remember to stay farther on the bed. As the days pass, move farther on the bed, say at the edge, and closer to the exit door. Once the child is used to that, leave the room. Also, reduce gradually the time you stay in the kid’s room. The point is to take small steps to help him/her to adapt the adjustments easily.
#2. Baby to ‘big kid’ shift
The kids love to be called “big kid” or “grown-up kid”. Use these words which will want them to move to their bed. Tell them that now as they are grown up, they need to make a shift to their individual ‘big kid’ room. Tell them the other positive points of the room- like, the room is painted with attractive color, it’s larger, more spacious, and alike. Hearing these will excite them to have their own room.
#3. Decorate the room
Make the room attractive. If possible (and preferably make it possible), involve him/her in doing so. Give your child different choices for room decoration- like the color of the wall paint, curtains, selection of bed cover, bed lamp, or night lights. Go for cozy quilts and bed covers. Your child will feel secured and known in the new room if he/she had been involved in the room decoration ideas.
Children love to play with some of their favorite toys whenever they are alone. Those are your child’s treasures. Bring some of these treasures to the kid’s room. The treasures may be the stuffed toys, their favorite story-books, or a baby lovey. Spend some time with your child playing with your kid in his/her room before making the move. This will give him/her a familiar and friendly attachment to the room.
#4. Don’t change the routine
As mentioned earlier, children are afraid to sleep separately and the situation worsens when their sleeping schedule is also disturbed. So it’s very important to leave the sleeping routine undisturbed for an easy transition. No screen time before bedtime is the best practice. Use the tips to make the move easy at the regular sleeping routine to help him/her to quickly adapt to the change.
#5. Make them feel safe
Keep the lighting in the room apt for sleeping. Having a dim light in the room will make them feel more secure. If they are afraid of falling from the bed, you can use toddler bed edge protectors or bed guards. Keep a bottle of water near the bed. Give them a sleep-buddy like a plush toy or cuddly pillow.
#6. Appreciate the efforts
Appreciate each and every small adjustment your child has successfully made. Your reinforcement will help the child to put more effort. An appreciation from your side will also encourage your child to go for bigger changes and make the move easy for both of you.
Listening to your child to help him is called staylistening. Let him/her express his/her feelings, fears, needs, and all the emotions. Let the child pour out everything out from his/her mind without being questioned. If he wakes up in the middle of the night and finds it difficult to go back to sleep, this technique helps a lot. Listening to their fears and clearing them then and there will help him/her calm down and fall asleep easily. If he/she is crying or thrashing, hold him/her to make him/her feel safe and comfortable. Let the child know that you are there with him/her whenever he/she needs you.
#8. It’s a celebration time
As and when the child is making the bigger changes, celebrate the changes. Children love celebration which is done in their honor. Celebrate by throwing a small party, or just by eating out or by getting a special gift. Point out the new and special things about the child’s new room to enhance their will power and lighten their excitement.
#9. Let them be ready
The whole idea to make them sleep in their separate bed is for the betterment. If there is any kind of pressure or force felt in making the move, that will only increase the stress level. Be it fifteen minutes or fifteen nights later, let your child be ready for the move completely and I am sure these tips will help you for transitioning toddler to own bed.
Help your child to fight his/her fears by following the above-mentioned tips. I am very sure that this will result in a happy ending. All the best to you and your little one for one of the transitions!