Helping your child to sleep alone
A study by the Children’s Hospital University in Zurich, Switzerland, evaluated 500 children and came to the conclusion that those who slept in their parents’ beds until 6 months old had a tendency to keep this habit much longer. Whether or not to let the child sleep in their bed is a choice of parents, as long as safety measures are taken for toddlers. But if you think it’s time for your child to sleep in his own bed, here are some tips that can help you in the transition.
1. No pressure
Bedtime is a moment of peace and relaxation, and if you have chosen to make this transition of beds and this has not yet been very well accepted by the child, do everything calmly and lovingly. In the first days everything will be very new, so one of the parents can stay in the child’s room until they fall asleep – but do not do anything hidden! Talk to the child first, explain they´ll have to sleep in their own room and you’ll stay there until sleep comes. Otherwise, they might wake up and find themselves alone in that environment, creating insecurity and even more difficulty in the process.
After getting used to sleeping in their parents’ bed, some children may have difficulty sleeping alone in another bed and/or in separate rooms of the house. Therefore, it is important to persist in the attempts, even if the child cries. At any time, one of the parent can calm them down, but firmly keep the decision.
3. Light off
Many children are afraid of the dark, so it is only natural that some parents leave the light of the child’s room lit. If your little one is afraid, you can leave a faint light on, such as from a small lamp.
4. Be understanding
It may be that your child does not like to sleep alone just because they are used to sleeping with you, but sometimes they might be going through something. That is why you must always be alert to the signs and what the child expresses. Starting the bed transition process when the child is sick or at times when they are feeling more vulnerable is not the best option. Fear can also turn out to be a major villain at this time, so help facing these fears – whether “looking for and taking” the monster out of the closet or under the bed, or giving the child tools to understand their fears and overcome them.
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