Cosleeping can be magical, but so can sleeping in your very own bed!
Cosleeping is cute when your kids are young, but I was ready for my son to be sleeping in his own room long ago.
We coslept in a family bed way longer than I thought we would. For those of you attachment parenting parents or parents of cuddly kids, there comes a time when your kiddo may sleep better in their own bed, or you’re just ready to have your bed back. When that time comes, try this technique to make the transition smooth!
My son is 9, and I finally figured out a way to get him to choose to sleep in his own bed all by himself. It’s amazing! I tried everything for years now… I would lay in bed with him until he was asleep and sneak out, but the moment he stirred, he found his way to my room. I tried to bribe him with gifts. I read books about sleep training. I even hired a sleep coach at one point. The thing is, I learned over and over that you can’t bribe a child to feel safe, and you can’t consequence a child into feeling safe, and you can’t train a child into being safe…. and that is what this issue is, not feeling safe all alone or not feeling safe in the dark, or both.
Here’s the nugget of wisdom… It’s important to develop a safeness and security for your kiddos if they are scared of the dark or scared to sleep alone. As they are falling asleep, there is a magic window of time where their brains are sponges. You get to bypass their conscious mind and tell their subconscious exactly what it needs to hear. So, once you’ve done your bedtime routine, read some books, turned out lights, sung songs…. do this.
As they get into that relaxed sleepy state, quitely and slowly tell your kiddo… “as you lay in bed and let your whole body relax, you begin to fall asleep and know that you are so loved, you are so safe, you are protected… as you get all cozy in your bed and feel your fluffy pillow under your head, you are safe and protected and just so loved… you can easily let your whole body relax and get a perfect night’s sleep and wake up refreshed… your bed is so cozy and you are so safe and so loved… I love you so much…(maybe list more people who love your child)… and you’re just so loveable… and you are so safe, you feel so safe, you know you are safe, and you are so protected, etc”. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Trust me… if your kiddo isn’t sleeping in his own room, and you are ready for him to, this is magic! So, here’s my success story with this… one night, lights are out and it’s time to drift off… and in the same voice I use to sing an original song, I started softly repeating the above words. About 5-10 minutes into it, my son quietly said, “Mom, can I sleep in my own room?” And, he’s been in his own room everynight since, and it’s been his choice everynight. The fact that in about 10 minutes he elected to sleep in his own room after years of trying everything under the sun, still amazes me.
This is a safe and effective way to help your kids know, on the deepest level, how loved they are and how safe they are even when they are in their own beds. Give it a try and let me know how it goes! Do this everynight until your kiddos are begging you to sleep in their own beds! And it can be easily done in addition to whatever other things you are using to transition from cosleeping to individual sleeping.
Looking forward to hearing how this sleeping magic works for you!
Lots of Light,
Candice A. Torresdal is the author of My Brain is a Thinking Machine, a self mastery book for kids; and Yawning Yawning, Time for Bed, a bedtime book for younger kids.