Toddler In Your Bed? (But You’d Rather Not?)

Seems a lot of people are talking about kids in their bed. Whether they climb in on their own during the night, or you bring them in because they have a bad dream experts seem to agree it’s not a good thing. I have friends who have 7 year olds they still can’t get out of their bed! Trying to make sure this doesn’t happen in our house, I’ve been doing some reading on the subject.

Found an interesting website called Made for Mums which features a nice article on the subject. And I’m sure a lot of other informative offerings too. Click around their site and see what you can apply in your own home.

Why your toddler ends up in your bed every night, and how to stop it
by Rachel Delahaye

Do you put your toddler to bed, only to find he comes to sleep with you during the night?

Does you toddler end up in your bed at night, after having started the evening in her own bed? If this night waking is becoming a habit for you toddler, here’s why it could be happening, and ways you can deal with the problem.

Why your bed seems so appealing

Toddlerhood is a life stage where your child experiences a real leap in her motor, cognitive and social skills, not to mention a growth in her desire for independence. Yet these sudden spurts in independence can, ironically, lead to feelings of insecurity, too. And let’s face it, what better way to feel safe and assured than snuggling up in bed with mum and dad?

“When our little boy started to climb out of his cot at 18 months,” says Reeta, mum to Jobe, 2, “We bought him a big bed that was low to the ground. It was a lot safer than his escape-artist moves over the edge of the cot. But looking back, I suppose that’s when it all started.

“In the middle of the night I’d feel a tickle on my bottom and find Jobe next to our bed, trying to wake me up. He just wanted to lie against me. But once he was in our bed, I was conscious of his every breath and move, which meant I could never get a decent night’s sleep.”

“A child finds skin-to-skin contact rewarding and beneficial,” says Claire Halsey, a clinical psychologist and parenting expert, “but it doesn’t have to be done at night time. Toddlers are ready to sleep alone.

“You shouldn’t worry that you may be emotionally damaging your child because they sleep away from you, as long as you’re having enough warm, close, quality time during the day to meet her attachment needs. And you’ll also know that you’ll be setting her up with good sleep habits for the rest of her life.”

How to handle the problem

It’s easier if you’ve made the no-co-sleep decision from the start. But even months and years down the line, by sticking to your guns, you can get kids to sleep in their own beds.

Your toddler might be headstrong by day, but at night it can be a different story, when her true immaturity comes through. Of course, the need to cuddle up with you at times of unease is only natural, so what’s the best way to handle the situation?“When Jesse was 2, she started to have nightmares so I’d let her get into our bed,” says mum Natalie. “I thought it was the right thing to do. Her dad, Nic, would go and sleep on the sofa! Jesse soon mastered the art of melodramatics though.”

You naturally want to reassure your toddler, but also need to avoid encouraging those Oscar-winning performances, so it’s always best to do the soothing and straight-talking in your toddler’s room.

“Don’t belittle your child’s fears, but don’t promote anxious behaviour,” says Claire Halsey. “Say, ‘There are no monsters in our house, so we’re going to have a big cuddle with teddy and we’re going back to sleep.’”

“If your child is ill, stay with her in her room if you feel you should,” recommends Mandy Gurney, co-founder of Millpond Children’s Sleep Clinic. “Then, as soon as she’s well enough to be on her own, go back to your usual routine.”

“Barnaby slept in his own bed for two years, but when he was poorly with flu, all he wanted was to be in my arms,” says Sally, 32, mum to Barnaby, 3. “He was listless but wakeful at the same time, so I camped out next to him in his room. I had to move my mattress a little further away every night to make my eventual escape!”

To read the entire article, click HERE.

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