Reader question time:
I would like some suggestions on having a bed time with the family bed. My daughter who is almost three has been co-sleeping with us from the first day we brought her home from the hospital. I would like her to sleep in her own bed in our room with a bedtime. This has proven to be very difficult. She can’t fall asleep without me next to her. Any tips would be appreciated.
This is a classic question for attachment parenting, I think, and I know that we’ve had mixed results with this. In fact, I seem to be a bit more focused on detaching from the kids at bedtime than their mom is, but that’s another story. 🙂
What we did to transition our little ones out of our bed is to actually have their bed adjacent to our bed and I built a bed frame so that their little mattress was the same height as the big bed. My imaginative name for it?
If you think about it that way, you can envision a sidecar just like on a motorcycle where that’s your little girl’s bed, her space, with her stuffies, favorite sheets, etc., and it’s right next to the bed you’re in, so if she’s scared, lonely, whatever, she can just ooze over and be with you.
Use that as a transitional strategy: bedtime involves her cuddling up all cosy in her bed and you lay on the big bed and hold her hand, have your arm over her shoulders, whatever, as she falls asleep. If you find she’s in the big bed, keep picking her up and putting her in her own little sleeping space so that she gets used to waking up there, not with you and daddy.
After a while of this (with admittedly mixed results 🙂 we created a gap between the two beds so that it was actual work to move from one to the other. Then you can start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!
Now what I do is with my 6yo we usually cuddle and go to sleep in my bed, then once she’s asleep I always, 100% of the time, pick her up and put her in her own bed, which is in the same room, but across the room and at a very different height. We’re in the same space, but it’s definitely not cosleeping any more, just more like roommates.
It’s a trade-off: I really don’t like having little people in the same bed, cosleeping or not, because as they become more mobile, they seem to become little limpets who aren’t happy unless they’re curled right up into you. Which usually means you can’t get comfortable or are even pushed off the bed entirely!! Not so good.
That’s how we addressed this issue with our three, but we’re just one data point. Dear reader community, can you offer up some help and ideas for this tired mama on how to transition her 3yo from a family bed into her own space?