If you didn’t know this already, I am an unequivocally average parent. I have a messy home, the pickiest eaters, and kids who like to sleep near me.
My messy house–Well, that’s not changing anytime soon. Working on my picky-eaters’ diet is on my to-do list this summer, for now I’m relying on a healthy use of multivitamins to fill in the gaps and help keep them from withering away. And as for getting my kids to sleep on their own… It’s recently become more of a priority.
My son does well for the most part, though occasionally he wakes up and cries just wanting to be cuddled. And I oblige. My daughter, somewhere between her 4th and 5th birthday decided the pretty pink and grey bedroom we designed for her was terrifying to sleep in. Somewhere between bedtime and morning she’d wind up on the recliner in our room.
It took longer and longer to go through her bedtime routine. Extra stories, songs, prayers, and a last-minute request for her gummy vitamin. I tried convincing her to go back to sleep in her room time and time again but if I didn’t stay until she fell asleep, she’d come out crying just as I left.
Staying in her room until she fell asleep meant cutting hours into my work time. And after a couple months of tiring of the long bedtime routine, we allowed her to just fall asleep in our room.
A few nights of this turned into a few months of this, and before I knew it, she was scared to be alone in a room, ever. She said once she turned 5 she’d sleep in her room again, but alas, after her birthday that wasn’t the case.
I turned to Facebook to get ideas for getting kids to sleep in their own bed and got a lot of responses and decided to try the loot.
Here are some of the answers to help others trying to get their kids to sleep in their own rooms.
Some of them are creative, and others are downright funny:
1. Tell them there’s a monster under your bed.
2. Monster spray worked for us for a little while.
3. So then we left the bathroom light on for a little while. What eventually worked was this.
4. Every night they don’t come out of their rooms after all the books, prayers, hugs, and kisses, they get a sticker on their chart. Every 5 sticker = a trip to Dairy Queen. It’s worked like a charm.
5. Get to the root of her issues. Figure it out and find a solution from there. Walkie-talkies, monster spray, whatever. If she keeps coming in, maybe sleep with her in her room for a few nights to get her used to the setting, then maybe just stay until she falls asleep, then let her do it all by herself eventually. Or just keep walking her back until she realizes that her own room is the only option.
6. Make it a special occasion, go to the store pick out bedding, everything make her a part of it. Get her a char toy that goes with it and tell her that she needs someone to sleep with. If she gets up at night calmly walk her back to her bed. Keep repeating and she will start staying in her room. It will take time but stick to it.
7. Wish I had some tips. My 4 year old points out that I don’t have to sleep alone so why should she have to? Her reasoning is always on point.
8. I have a friend that lets one of their kids sleep in her room once a week. So, one week it’s one kid, the next week it’s the next kid. So they can “Wait their turn” and sleep in their own room until then.
9. Buying this bed for my 5 year old daughter that slept with me every single night, was the only thing that got her to sleep in her own bed. “Santa” brought it this past year. She slept in it the night she got it, no questions asked!! LOL
10. We gave our 4 year old night lights. She also sleeps with our family dog and several stuffed animals. If she comes out, she gets things taken away. This has worked for us. Some nights we have to take all of her night time things away, but she usually stays in bed and can earn them back.
11. Give it time. Also, a makeover of their choosing helps.
12. Few things that help my kids sleep in their own rooms are 1. a fan, 2. classical music, and 3. dream lights.
13. I try to remind myself they won’t want to do this for long but mommas gotta work so mommas gotta sleep.
14. I bought a small play tent and put it on top of my son’s bed and made it a fun “camping out” experience.
15. It’s simple: first make sure there are no underlying reasons for them being scared to sleep in their room (noises, nightmares, ghosts – you know the usual – LOL). Then pretty lamps, tents and music. And don’t ALLOW her to sleep with you. She’ll figure it out. You have to be consistent or it won’t mean anything.
16. I started with a sticker chart and after so many stickers she got to pick a prize out of the prize jar. When that stopped working I resorted to money. YES, I pay for 4 year old .50 a night to stay in her bed until morning. And since I’m being honest, it’s the best .50 I spend every day!!!
17. You just have to take a deep breath and tell them that is their bed and keep putting them back. Ignore the crying, fussing and protests. After a week – they’ll stay. It was a challenge but worked for me.
18. My friend wrote a letter to her son “from the school principal” that said kids aren’t allowed to sleep with their parents once they were in third grade. (That’s how long it took her to get her son in his own room! The letter worked!
19. Make a tent over their bed with a blanket.
20. Our three year old would often come into our bed in the middle of the night. Once he fell asleep one of us would carry him up to his bed. It’s rare for him to come in our bed now. He also liked stuffed animals tucked tightly around him.
21. I used to line up 5 coins right outside my daughter’s bedroom door at night. Every time she came out of her room before it was morning, I took away a coin. She got to keep whatever was left in the morning. Only took about a week of this before she just stayed in her room.
22. Praise them every time they are in their own bed. And every time you’re all in their room together, let them see how excited you are about their cool room and cool bed.
23. I have a queen sized bed, so I’ve never allowed kids in the bed. If one of them does come in, they bring their own pillow and blanket and sleep on the floor. That’s not nearly as tempting so it’s rare.
24. We tried EVERYTHING!!! We finally tried putting doTerra oil on his feet and holy nachos!!! He has slept and STAYED in his bed for the last 4 months!
25. TV with tons of DVDs, glow in the dark stars or night lights, a giant bear huge they will feel safe, sleeping with a sibling helps, if all else fails money or candy lol good luck.
26. Make monster spray- just water with cute label.
27. Put dream catcher over her bed find story to teach her that it catches all bad dreams.
28. Find a cool night light that plays music or white noise.
29. She’ll move back to her room when she is ready. For now enjoy it. They don’t stay little for long.
30. We started reading books about sleeping… seemed to help… still occasionally times when I have to go in and lay with her in the middle of the night.
A HUGE thanks to everyone who offered their tips on my Facebook page.
So what’s been working for us? A little bit of everything. Lil’ J didn’t have an issue sleeping in our bed, just into our room to sleep near us, on the recliner or floor. I didn’t mind her coming into our room in the middle of the night as much as her falling asleep in our room with us. So I sucked it up and got back into our nighttime routine.
It’s become very specific and she appreciates every little detail. Three books of her choosing, prayer (we alternate who says it each night), a night light (that’s always on), a princess vitamin that she picks out, and now Snoop accompanied with a dog treat to give him. I also have been staying in her room until she falls asleep, which I’ve begun to enjoy because it gives me a chance to slow down and enjoy a book (I finally started the Harry Potter series).
She comes into our room around 2am (I’m usually still awake working and notice), which I don’t mind, but she knows she’ll get a reward once she stays in her room all night.
I’m not a perfect parent. I have a lot to work on, but trying to be better must mean I’m headed in the right direction.
Do you have any tips for getting your kids to sleep in their own room?
Speaking of better routines, here are some interesting facts about kids and summer eating habits. I remember my parents giving me a Flintstones vitamin on the daily, then later in life I took calcium since I don’t drink milk. And since realizing the wonders of prenatals (my nails are rockin!) I kept on top of those too. Like I mentioned, Lil’ J enjoys one at bedtime, though she knows it’s not candy.
Here’s more helpful information about dietary supplements and how they should be used. A big thanks to Know Your OTCs for sponsoring this story.