If you often give in to your children's crying in other scenarios, you may easily succumb to this process and think that eventually, they will sleep alone in their own bed. But if you prefer it to happen now and not in the future, you should prepare yourself for a difficult but worthwhile journey.
In general, all experts recommend that if you start the process of getting your children to sleep in their bed, you should not let them sleep in your bed at all, not even for 5 minutes.
This means that when they come to your bed at midnight, you take them back to their own bed, cover them, give them a kiss and go back to your bed. There will be crying, whining and objections from the children and they may even refuse to stay in bed, but eventually, the child will understand and process your rules.
The easiest solution is to let your kids sleep in your bed, but things become complicated when it becomes a habit. In such a situation you must take a different approach that you probably won’t like. Find a comfortable place in your child's room where you can sleep for the night, but not in their bed. "If you are in your child's room while they are asleep, but you are not there when they wake up, they’ll quickly find their way to your bedroom," says Jennifer Berger, parent and child sleep consultant. "Sleeping in the child’s room overnight causes their brain to 'reset' when it comes to the anxieties they have about sleeping on their own. If they wake up and see their parents with them in their room, they will have an easier time going back to sleep in their bed and getting used to it."
For two or three nights, start with just sitting in the room while they fall asleep, but do not talk to them and just tell them they have to sleep - you want your children to get bored and fall asleep. If they misbehave, leave the room for a bit - they will relax when they realize that their "reward" is mom or dad coming back into the room.
Every night after that, sit further from the child’s bed, so that you’ll eventually reach the door, the hallway, and eventually your bed or the living room. "If your children follow you, you have to remain calm and indifferent - escort them back to their room every time they get up," says Berger.
How did your kid do with this new routine? If it didn’t go so well, encourage them and remind them that this is the new rule. If they got through the night well or showed improvement in their behavior, praise them for it. You can even give them a small reward and make them a "sleeping bag of surprises," from which you’ll pull out a small gift every time they sleep in their bed and improve their behavior at night. You can also leave a sticker or a small toy under their pillow when they sleep through the whole night in their bed – sort of like the tooth fairy. With all these methods, this routine can be set in place within one week.
Of course, it may take longer to get your children used to sleeping in their own bed, but no matter what, you have to be consistent and not give up or surrender. If you do everything that the experts recommended here in this article, you can be sure that your children will sleep in their bed without causing you trouble at night, and you will enjoy that peaceful sleep that you’ve waited so long for.