My child refuses to sleep in his own bed: what to do

August 11, 2016
  • When your child prefers your bed
    1 / 5 When your child prefers your bed

    Your three-year-old had a nightmare one night, so you took him into your bedroom to comfort him. And he’s stayed there since!

    You have tried to coax him back to his own bed without any success, and you are getting irritated. Here are some tips to help you stay firm and stand your ground.

    Explain why it’s important that he returns to his own bed. Be honest with Junior about what you hope to achieve.

    Tell him that you have decided he is ready for his own bed and that you will help him achieve this goal. You know he’s comfortable sleeping in your room, but it’s time he returns to his own.

    Related: Baby still not sleeping through the night? Do this!

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  • Reassure him that he will be fine in his own bed
    2 / 5 Reassure him that he will be fine in his own bed

    He thoroughly enjoys sleeping in your room, so he is unlikely to give up this privileged position without putting up a fight.

    Let your child protest. Listen to his moans, allow him to complain, but remind him that he’s going back anyway.

    Your child may be genuinely nervous about returning to his own bedroom because he feels safer and more secure sleeping beside you.

    Assure him that he will be fine, and will have no problem getting to sleep.

    Related: 10 coolest pyjamas and sleepwear for kids

     

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  • Don’t postpone his return to his own bed
    3 / 5 Don’t postpone his return to his own bed

    Instead, pick a start date in the very near future, for example, tomorrow (or the day after tomorrow, at the latest).

    Share with him this date soon as you can, so that he knows he’s expected to be back in his own bed then.

    Get him to help you prepare his room. He can pick the bed sheet and blanket, for example, and choose the toys he wants to have in his bed beside him.

    If he refuses to participate, decide for him and tell him so.

    On the start date, go through your child’s usual pre-bedtime routine, so that he is washed, changed, fed and relaxed.

    Without making a fuss, lead him straight to his own room, tuck him in under the blanket, give him a quick goodnight kiss and cuddle, then leave. 

     

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  • Ignore his pleas to stay in your bed and be firm about returning him to his bed
    4 / 5 Ignore his pleas to stay in your bed and be firm about returning him to his bed

    He may cry or yell in order to draw you to his bedroom, so that he can ask to sleep in your room again.

    Resist responding to him. If you are sure he is safe and well, ignore his pleas for as long as you can.

    As soon as you find out that he has left his bedroom (you’d decided to sit outside his bedroom for the first hour), take him straight back and tuck him in. Reassure him, don’t get involved in a chat with him, and quickly leave the room.

    Be prepared to take him back to his own room several times during the night, especially in the early stages of your plan. Be calm and firm when you repeat to him that he must sleep in his own room.

    And hide your annoyance.

    Related: 5 baby sleep myths you can ignore

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  • Praise his success for sleeping in his own bed through the night
    5 / 5 Praise his success for sleeping in his own bed through the night

    When your kid eventually manages to sleep in his own bed through the night  and he will, if you stick rigidly to the plan  tell him how pleased you are that he is back in his own bed “like a big boy”.

    Related: 5 common sleep problems in children

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