Blogging Dr. Greene: Teaching Children to Sleep in Their Own Bed

Blogging Dr. Greene: Teaching Children to Sleep in Their Own Bed

Alejandra Valera
Feb 19, 2008

Last week we mentioned the joys of the family bed, and now we wonder what happens when our children are 3, 4 or 5 and we're ready to make the family bed a couple's bed once again?

Our son has been in our bed with us since his birth, but now as his fourth birthday quickly approaches -- and our available bed space continues to diminish -- we want to gently introduce the idea of sleeping in his own bed to our son.

Dr. Alan Greene gives some tips on how to encourage your child to sleep in their own bed, especially if there are some fear issues involved. (Our two cents on this, however, is to do this when all of you are ready -- and not when society tells you to.)

  • It does not work well to tell children to sleep in their bed and then relent when they act up. This only teaches them that their persistence will be rewarded with a trip to your bed.
  • If your child is suffering from night time fears, give her tools that empower her to overcome her fears:
    o Give her a flashlight to play with (especially during the day in a darkened room) to help overcome fear of the dark.
    o Give her a spray bottle filled with "monster spray" so she can shoot the monsters if they come out.
  • If your child reveals that she is afraid that she will lose your affection when she grows up, take stock of what you are communicating to her regarding growing up....If this is the case, consider how you can change her feelings by the way you communicate with her.
  • You will need to take some time for your child's feelings to change before you can move her into her own bed. When you do, you may need to make the change in several stages.

How easy was the conversion from Family Bed back to Couple's Bed? Do you have some advice?

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