Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The one with the 'Former co-sleeper wannabe'

Dear Dad,

Needing some advice on how to get my 4 year old to sleep in his own bedroom. In our previous house, the rooms were way too spaced out, so for his first 2 1/2 years, he shared a room with us. Now that we bought a new house, his bedroom is super close but I can't get him to stop sneaking into our room late at night. 

Santa brought him an awesome bed for Christmas, slide on it and all. Yet Santa didn't know what to do with the old bed so put it in our room, and of course our son prefers to sleep in the old bed. Even if I took apart the old one I'm afraid he'd still just come in and sleep on the floor. I'm at a loss.  I suggested to my husband doing a star chart for sleeping in his room, but he did not think it was a good idea. 

What are your thoughts/advice? Oh and the challenging part is my job, I work from home but have clients with special needs stay the night some times, when they do stay the night our son sleeps in our room just out of precaution.

Dear 'Former co-sleeper wannabe',

I had a perfect answer for your question based on my experience - until I read the last line of your question.  

The key to getting your children to stay in their own beds is to be consistent and ironclad about the routine of going to (and staying in) bed on their own.  There can never be an exception - otherwise, your children will figure out ways to manipulate their way back into your bed or bedroom.  

My advice is to override Santa's decision to put the old (more familiar and more comfortable and soothing) bed in your room, and get rid of it immediately.  I would explain to your son that he is getting to be a 'big boy', and make a big deal about how brave and strong he is going to be now that his "job" is to sleep in his own room.  I think your idea of doing a star chart is brilliant, and I would suggest kicking it up a notch and put a reward system in place. Perhaps when he gets seven stars (one per night totally in his own room) he gets some type of treat or privilege?

Now, the tricky part regarding the overnight guests: you are 100% correct that you must protect your children when having any stranger or client sleeping in your home.  The problem is, if you don't go 100% in with him sleeping in his own room, you could potentially face this problem for years (a prior 'Dear Dad' question regarding this found a teenage boy still sleeping in his parents' bed).  

I suggest the nights you have clients sleep at your home, you put your son to bed the way you would any other night.  Once he is asleep, I think you should sleep in his room (and not in his bed).  I would also get a lock for his door and lock it on those nights to ensure both your safety.  Best of luck to you, and please keep us updated!

We allowed co-sleeping with our oldest, despite protests on my part.  Once my wife experienced the years-long struggle getting our oldest to sleep on her own, she had no question about not co-sleeping with our twins.  We were consistent from day one with the twins sleeping in their own beds, and they slept on their own a lot quicker than our oldest (years quicker). What do you all think?  Is co-sleeping a good idea, and if so, at what age do you hang the 'do not disturb' sign on your bedroom door?

No comments:

Post a Comment