At what age is it best to train kids to sleep on their own bed? Is co-sleeping more beneficial to them than sleeping in their own room?
It’s different for every family on different parts of the world. Depending on the culture and practices, some families prefer to co-sleep even when the kids are a lot older.
Co-sleeping has a lot of benefits, but it also has drawbacks. It helps children feel safe and secure, they have a sense of security knowing that mom and dad are sleeping nearby. And they feel secure waking up to them first thing in the morning.
But not all children sleep in peace, they could kick you (or both mom and dad) and you might not get a good night’s sleep. And lack of sleep, we know is a cause of stress too.
So if you decide to get kids to sleep on their own beds, here are some helpful tips.
Never Make Your Children Afraid
It has become normal for some people to scare their kids if they want them to eat, if they want them to do their homework, or if they want them to sleep.
Scaring them not only puts fear in their minds, it can scar them for life or get them traumatized. It’s also, in a way, telling them lies.
These are the reasons why I taught the kids that monsters and ghosts don’t exist, and they shouldn’t be afraid of them (studying and learning the bible helped too). As much as we tried to not let them hear or see these things, they would still learn of them from others, in school, even TV. Call it extreme but we limit them to watch movies that has violence, monster, or magic themes. (Disney-Pixar’s Monsters Inc. being comical and not so much of a fearful movie is somehow ok.)
Some kids might have fears that come from stressful experiences, like having been separated from parents for a while, a hospital stay, or injury. Some kids are afraid of the dark, as one of the many things they heard stories of and don’t understand. These fears need to be identified.
Always Remind Them That They Are Loved
To help children overcome the above-mentioned fears will also help in getting them to sleep on their own beds. Whatever a child is afraid of, it is the best way to always be sympathetic and understanding.
Assuring the kids that you love them gives them confidence and security. It is not only telling them that you love them, hugging them when you can, writing them letters, framing their artworks, and praising them when they do good are ways to let them know they are loved.
You can even give them a cuddly teddy bear, some sort of comfort object when putting them to sleep.
Reading Bedtime Stories
Reading bedtime stories to kids not only give them the feeling of being loved, it makes them relax, and their imagination works leaving them good thoughts they could carry on to dreamland. Pick stories that are feel-good, have happy endings, or one that will leave a good impression on them. We recommend some classic reads, and contemporary ones too – get your kids to pick by bringing them to bookstore often.
Reading kids bedtime stories is a good way to bond, and leaves them with lasting memories.
Attractive and Comfortable Room
Getting the kids room attractive and comfortable is another way among the many different methods to entice them to sleep in their own room.
Decorate their rooms with their favorite cartoon character, paint them with their favorite colors, and design them with how they would want. Really, like have your kids be interior designers of their own rooms.
Tag them along when you go buying bedroom stuff like pillows, blankets, and stuffed toys so they can pick.
Praying with the kids before going to sleep is another way they gain confidence. Knowing that they can talk to God in prayer gives them a protection and security that nothing can harm them. Citing Jesus as example, he prayed when he was thankful, he prayed when he was afraid, he prayed because he knew God is always listening.
Be Patient in Getting Kids to Sleep on Their Own Bed
As parents, we should take time allow the children transition to sleeping in their own room. It is also good to explain to them the importance of being independent having one’s own space in the house. It’s ok if there are days they would co-sleep as this is normal, so allow them.
Getting the children to sleep in their own rooms may be a long process, so exercise patience.
Our little boy sleeps anywhere whenever he feels like it, on the floor, while eating, on his toy car, sitting with his back on the wall, just funny places and positions. I have a facebook album dedicated to this, and the photo with an ipod on is one of those.