Springdale Mason Pediatrics

Sleeping with Parents (Bed-Sharing) - How To End It

Definition

  • Your child sleeps with you during all or part of the night
  • You want to stop sharing your bed with your child
  • This is also called co-sleeping

Call or Return If

  • Your child is not sleeping well after you try this program for 2 weeks
  • You have other questions or concerns

About This Topic

Cause

  • Sleeping with the parents easily becomes a bad habit.
  • Children do not need to sleep with you to be happy and secure. But, they sure like it.
  • And once it has begun, it is a privilege that they don't want to give up.

After Care Advice

Establish a New Rule About Staying in Child's Bedroom at Night:
  • Tell your child the new rule: "Starting tonight, I want you to stay in your bed during the night. The doctor says you are too old to sleep with me anymore. You have your bed and I have mine."
  • Also, remind your child that it is not polite to wake up people who are sleeping, unless you are sick or it's an emergency.
Reward Good Bedtime Behavior:
  • Give your child an incentive for changing his bedtime behavior.
  • For being a "good sleeper" who stays in his bedroom all night, give him a special treat with breakfast.
  • An example is a serving of ice cream or a special cartoon show.
  • The average child will change his behavior for something he really wants. You just need to be creative.
Close Door if Your Child Leaves His Bedroom:
  • If your child leaves his bedroom, take him back immediately.
  • If he does it again, close his door until he's in his bed.
  • Tell him that you'll be happy to leave the door open if he stays in his bedroom.
  • Do open it every 5 to 10 minutes and say something comforting and loving.
Take Him Back to Bed if Comes Into Your Bed:
  • If your child tries to crawl into your bed during the night, don't let him.
  • Order him back to his own bed using a firm voice.
  • If he doesn't go on his own, take him back immediately. Tuck him in quickly and say good night in a loving way.
  • If your child gets into your bed while you are asleep, take him back to his room as soon as you discover him.
Use Signaling Device if Parent is Deep Sleeper:
  • If you are a deep sleeper, consider using a signaling device on your door that will awaken you.
  • Examples are a chair placed against your door or a bell attached to your doorknob.
  • Some parents simply lock their bedroom door.
What to Expect:
  • Be firm and you can win back restful sleep and the privacy of your bed. It may take a week.
  • Expect some crying and protest during this sleep training.
  • Young children normally cry when they don't get their way.

Author: Barton Schmitt MD, FAAP
Copyright 2000-2020 Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC
Disclaimer: This health information is for educational purposes only. You the reader assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.
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