When the Parent’s Sleep Takes Priority…
First off, this new rule does not apply to Night Terror issues. For night terrors, the child’s need is more important. With that said, when the kid is just wanting to come sleep in your bed and IS NOT experiencing night terrors – the parent’s sleep is more important.
Sit with the child and tell him/her that there is going to be a new rule. When the kiddo wakes up during the night, they may come to your room and SLEEP ON THE FLOOR.
Go through this process ahead of time with your child and even practice it. Practicing this can actually be really fun because you can pretend it is night time, pretends to go to sleep and wake up, etc.…
The New Sleeping Rule
- During practice time, ask the child which side of the bed (on the FLOOR) they want to sleep on (share control).
- Then talk about the hallway and get a nightlight if you do not have one, let them pick it out at the store (more shared control).
- Then when the child goes to bed, remind them IF they wake up, they can walk down the hall and sleep on the FLOOR. Encourage your kiddo to bring their blanket and pillow if they want it (be sure to use this in the practice time).
How This Sleeping Rule Will Work
The key here is that by making it less easy/comfortable, you are encouraging them to grow out of the activity. Most children do this when there is a big change or transition (summer time, Kindergarten, Middle school, etc.) They usually stop doing the visits when they are 14 or so. As long as you are OK with them sleeping in your room (on the floor, again don’t make is too nice for them).
The key is that you are meeting their needs (scared, lonely) but with limits on their wants. Be sure to stay calm. Hopefully they will get good at it and not even wake you up.
Some Things to Remember:
- Practice ahead of time
- Remind the Child at bedtime
- If the child complains during the night offer them a choice of how they want to sleep on the floor.
- If the struggle continues, you can tell them that its an “energy drain” and apply it later.
- Child: “Please read to me mommy”
- Mom: “So sad, remember when you fussed about not sleeping on the floor last night and I said “energy drain”? Well that was the same energy I was going to use to go to the park with you. So sad….”