Teaching Your Child to Sleep Alone

One of the first transitions that a child makes is sleeping in his or her own bedroom. With a bit of patience and encouragement, children—and parentscan easily adapt to this practice when the time is right.

For most kids, this can be a daunting experience. After all, they are used to having someone around. And small children are often scared of the dark, so they can be easily stirred up when they see large shadows or hear noises.

Expect to be tested

As your child transitions into sleeping alone, there will be a handful of times where he/she will try to sleep in your bedroom. The excuses you hear may seem never-ending. Some common excuses include not being able to sleep, being scared, heard a noise, had a nightmare, hungry (but not enough to eat), and so on. Children who are really having a hard time making the change will start to act differently before bedtime. You may witness a variety of tactics from very stubborn kids. Falling asleep in your room can be one of the hardest methods to deal with because they might refuse to wake up despite being shaken and will pretend to be asleep.

It is recommended to be clear and blunt when your child attempts to claim a spot on your bed. If they really have trouble sleeping and do not get adequate rest because of the transition, a softer approach may be required.

Easing into the transition

For those who need a softer approach, it may be a good idea to make your presence known as the child falls asleep. A bedtime story is a great way to help kids get to sleep. When your little one stops responding, you can slowly sneak out and get some rest of your own. Some kids are light sleepers, especially when they know they will be sleeping alone. You could even try laying out a sleeping bag before sneaking out in the middle of the night.

Shadows, bed monsters and strange noises

A child’s imagination can easily get the best of them. What they see on TV tends to linger in their minds, especially at night. One approach is to address their fears directly. If they are scared of the dark or shadows, a night-light or lamp can fix the problem. Briefing the child about the possible sounds he/she may hear at night such as cats, trees, wind and rain can also help lower anxiety caused by unidentified noises.

Most of all, be patient and you will get through it together. Sleep tight!

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