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It’s the middle of the night and you have a tiny toddler toe up your nose again. How are you supposed to sleep like that? Co-sleeping with your toddler no longer seems like such a good idea.
Sleeping with our kids is a great way to bond with them. To be honest, it’s also an easy way to get a little bit of extra sleep. Busy parents need those extra five minutes. Sadly, there comes a time when your munchkins need to go back to their own bed. Imagine trying to take an RN to MSN online program with three hours of sleep or working a full-time job after spending a night with a toddler sleeping on your head.
It’s the worst.
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to get your tiny human out of your bed and into their own room. It won’t be easy at first, but it’ll be worth it when you don’t have toes in your nose anymore.
Establish a Bedtime Routine
The first thing you want to do is create a night routine for your toddler. The Cleveland Clinic recommends you have an hour of quiet time leading up to their bedtime. During this time you want to give them a bath, brush their teeth, and read a book.
By creating a bedtime routine, you are letting them know it’s almost time for bed. You want this hour to be relaxing and fun, but not so much fun they think it’s party time. Avoid televisions, tablets, and other electronics leading up to bedtime.
Put Them Back in Their Bed
It’s inevitable, you will hear tiny little feet making their way into your room occasionally. In the beginning, your child might even cry like you just threw away their favorite toy. It’s very important that you gently lead them back to their room and into their bed. There are disagreements about whether you should speak while you are doing that, but ultimately that’s your decision. See what works for you. It never hurts to give them an extra cuddle when they feel sad.
After you get them back into bed, walk away. It’s entirely possible you’ll have to do this several times at first, but consistency is key. Eventually, your toddler will understand they have to go to their own bed.
Let Your Child Help Decorate Their Space
When you are transitioning your child’s room into a toddler bedroom, let them help you decorate their space. You’d be surprised how many opinions a 3-year-old has about their space. This will help them feel more comfortable in their bedroom because they helped make it.
There are going to be times when you’re tired and cranky. The last thing you’ll want to do is get up and down walking your toddler back to their bed. Be patient, though. Remember, they’ve only been alive for a few years, and they need you to teach them the ropes.
Even when it’s the last thing you want to do, plaster a smile on your face and speak to them calmly. Eventually, they’ll nail the routine and it’ll be mostly smooth sailing.
Don’t Give Up
Sometimes you are going to feel as if you are losing the battle. It is going to be frustrating and you’ll want to just let them climb in your bed with you, but don’t give up. The lightbulb will go off at some point, and they may even start initiating their bedtime routine themselves. The best part is it’ll be a great time to bond with them, even as they get older and don’t look like your little baby anymore.