How to make them stay in their bed?
May 14, 2014  |  Written by Carlota Nelson

It´s been another long week and Friday has finally come. You´ve put your little girl to sleep and you run to your room, dreaming of sleeping at least 6 hours straight. However, you´re waken up three hours later but your daughter who pleads for you to let her sleep in your bed. You know you shouldn´t give in but you´re so tired that you make some room. Does this sound familiar? Don´t worry. It won´t be easy but changing habits is possible.

Changing Old Habits – letting them sleep with you, sleeping with them in their bed and then leaving, letting them exhaust themselves and staying up late thinking it´ll be easier for them to sleep all night… All these old habits must change. You should teach your child to associate rest and sleeping with their bed and in their room. But remember, these changes need to be gradual.

Incorporating New Routines – if you don´t have a routine, start today. And the earlier it starts, the better. Remember that instead of seeing it as a chore, its best to experience it as one of the better parts of the day. Make the clock the bad guy.  You aren´t the one who decides the timing. “Look, it´s almost 7. If you get into the tub now, have dinner and brush your teeth, tonight we´ll be able to read two stories instead of one”. Not only will you avoid having him rebel against you, it will teach him how to make good choices and become responsible. Another way to teach them to sleep alone is to create a story using stuffed animals or dolls to illustrate the idea of a girl who is having a hard time sleeping alone. “Look, this little  doll doesn´t want to sleep in her bed. But it´s nighttime and everyone needs to sleep so they can play, go to school, work the next day…”  Make it as fun as you can and easy for her to identify with the doll or stuffed animal. Once she sees her fears represented, it will help to talk about it and feel a bit better.


The Importance of Being Constant – Children need routines and in fact, they help to get to sleep. Turn down the lights in her room an hour before going to bed and make sure the routine is the same every night. Learning new habits can be difficult at first. That´s why its important to do it gradually.   If she cries or pleads you to let her sleep in your  bed, don´t give up. When she pops up in your room in the middle of the night, take her back to hers, no matter how tired you are. Remember this is only a phase. Listen to her and calm her down. She needs to know you are there when she needs you. At first, stay in her room but not in her bed. Sit in a comfy chair next to her, in silence. Going to sleep is not a game. Try avoiding leaving the room when she cries. The last thing you need is having her associate sleep with being upset. Saying no is all right as long as you are there to comfort her. To read more about how to put children to sleep, read here.

The Best Room – your child´s room need to be comfy and have visual elements that inspire and are reassuring. Stars on the ceiling, drawings, pictures… During the day, spend some time with your child in his room looking and discovering everything there is. Together you can create a story, inspired by something you see. Besides playing, these activities will help him entertain himself later, when its time to sleep or go back to sleep.


The Morning After – all children need to feel motivated. The morning after let them know how proud you are and how good they did. Ask him if he made up a story on his own. Growing up isn´t easy. Your closeness and love during the day will give them the security they need to become independent.

What method works for you? Surely you have stories to share and we´d love to read them!

Photo Credits: Tamaki Sono

Photo Credits: Lynn Anne Bruns

Photo Credits: John Morgan


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