Take back your bed

Since my son was a baby, he always slept in his bed.  We made it a point to get him used to the idea or concept of sleeping in the same bed as us.  This is mainly for selfish reasons.  We would love for him to be with us, cuddle and hug the crap out of his chubby cheeks.  But luckily for his future self, we can’t stand having him in our bed.  He sleeps perpendicular, so he sleeps width wise instead of length wise.  Whoever is luck to have his feet end gets kicked all night long, while the unlucky one of us who gets his head, well, expect an occasional head bang or A LOT of sleep talk being screamed in your ear.  That on top of him taking the pillow (usually mine because it’s harder and higher, which he likes) and what’s left of the comforter (after my wife take 75% of it to begin with).

So we would indulge him maybe once a month if he’s feeling sick, in pain (like sore muscles from growing pains) or had an especially bad day and feeling vulnerable.  But no more than once a month.  But then came a time when he would be walking in the middle of the night (around 1:00a.m.) and stay there.  So he starts off in his room and by the time he joins us we are already in deep sleep or too tired to do anything about it.

Apparently this is more common than we thought, and in some cases parents think it is too late to change the routine, their kids have been sleeping with them for too long and refuse any less.  Besides the practical waste of having a children’s bed, this is not a great way for kids to grow up.

Now I know no child has continued to sleep in their parent’s room past puberty, so eventually this does end.  But if your kid is like mine, I end up with having no proper sleep and am constantly tired.  So selfish justification galore.  Plus, the level of discipline and control in the house leans towards what the kid wants (and I’m sure it already does with everything else outside the sleeping bed).  But bedrooms are sacred, and for parents to enjoy each others company as well – nothings says passion killer like you child in your bed.

My only approach to this is two folds:

    1. Give them cheat days (like I did once a month if they’re sick or feeling low, but this can easily be manipulated so keep a limit). Once or twice a month should be enough.  If your kid is already used to sleeping with you maybe start having cheat days on weekends or vice versa and then slowly reduce. This may not work, and will be fought I can assure you.  I have also tried bribes, reward stickers, having teachers talk to him, comparing to his friends who sleep on their own, shaming him, everything!  Nothing worked.  Which brings me to point 2.
    2. Be stubborn and carry them back to bed no matter what. My son is probably as stubborn as I am but yours truly is probably the epitome of stubbornness.  I would carry him back and forth to his bed 5-7 times a night.  IT WAS HELL!  But I can guarantee (again … GUARANTEE) that this will go on for a maximum of two weeks (mine took 4 days – but since there is a “guarantee” involved I opted for 2 weeks).  Most likely this shouldn’t go for longer than a week, but if it does keep going.  If you give in one time, expect to restart the clock. This can be pretty harsh with work the next day, but think long term.  The great sleep you’ll have, the privacy, the lack of germ infused fingers going into your nostrils, and yes…for the good of your child.  This can be the start of a new era where you’re in control; or at least you’re in control of your bed.

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