Reclaim your bed in 5 steps
Step 1: Recognize the severity of the problem & commit to changing it
Aside from the negative impact on the children such as not being able to attend sleepovers with friends, overnight class trips, and other independent activities, parents are highly impacted by the chronic sleep deprivation that occurs when co- sleeping with an older child. Most obviously are the impact on the marital relationship and the physiological and psychological well-being on adults who haven’t had a night of restful sleep in literally years.
TIP: Set a time for a meeting. Discuss – decide – commit. Wake up & execute. Wake up & execute. Wake up & execute. Wake up & execute. Wake up & execute. Wake up & execute.
Step 2: New Rule
Have a family meeting to discuss:
- Bedtime routine
- 1 “out of bed” pass each
- Consequence: actively ignore your child
Discuss the importance of changing the behavior with the children. Emphasize parents’ needs to improve their own sleep and that their bed is for parents only. In addition, discuss the importance of children being able to sleep independently as related to their ability to participate in age appropriate activities.
TIP: Make sure children are 100% clear on all the steps
Step 3: Expect Resistance
Pay no attention to: screaming, begging, negotiating etc. Simply refer back to the new rule once and place the child in his/her bed.
TIP: Stick to the plan and follow through. Do not fold.
Step 4: Bed time routine
Creating a bedtime routine for children can take the stress out of bedtime for both the parents and the child. Kids crave and thrive on structure, as it gives them a sense of safety and security.
Here is a typical bedtime routine:
- A relaxing bath
- Putting on pajamas
- Brushing their teeth
- Story time in bed
- Goodnight kisses
It’s the components of the routine that are important, but the consistency that is key.
NOTE: Children of ages 7 to 12, tend to need about 10-12 hours of nightly sleep but often only get about 9-10 hours.
TIP: Discuss the difference between weekday and weekend bed time routine.
Step 5: Set the stage
A happy, healthy night’s sleep starts with daytime activities.