Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

Before you know it, your kids won’t want to snuggle with you at night. In fact, they’ll someday wake up and see that they know more than you, that they’re perhaps taller than you, and that really, you’re just an old has-been. They’ll figure out along the way that they’re wrong, especially once they have kids of their own, but until you hit that stage, I urge you to just enjoy every cuddle, every moment.

The secret to getting your kids to stay in their own beds?

I wish I could say I had found a secret to making my children stay in their own beds, but this is something I struggled with on a regular basis when my kids were young. I tried all kinds of tactics, but you know what? Right now, I would give anything to go back to the days when it felt like they would never make it through a night without me!

Nana perspective

Now, as I watch Kira and Louis struggle through long nights with a toddler and an infant, I admire the choices they’re making on how to handle it. Hallie had started doing very well sleeping in her room – until her baby brother showed up and got to stay with mommy and daddy. Why should she be the only one to have to leave at night? Instead of forcing her to go, they have been letting her stay and fall asleep with them – sometimes she stays and Louis goes to her room to get a good night’s sleep for work; sometimes they move her when she falls asleep or it becomes clear that mommy and daddy’s room is just a play zone for the night.

The one thing they’re not doing is rushing it.

They’re letting her have the time she needs with them – and in the long run, all they’ll have is a few nights of missed sleep.

When our kids were little, we tried to get them to sleep in their own beds, but Anika especially would return night after night. I would be tired, and just pull her up on me and we’d go back to sleep. That happened until she was too heavy for me to be able to breathe with her laying on me. Now that baby is 16, and while she still gets morning and evening cuddles each day, sitting next to me on the sofa, and she is still just as loving as she was when she was Hallie’s age, I definitely miss those moments.

Oh yeah – this was supposed to be a blog about getting your kids to sleep in their own beds.

I guess my best advice is just don’t stress over it. It will happen in good time. In the meantime, snuggle them a little closer while you still can.

And if you do need some tips to start transitioning them, here are my best:

  1. Make sure they have things to comfort them – a stuffed animal, favorite blanket, etc.
  2. Give them warnings before bedtime so that they know they’re going.
  3. Let them have quiet time in their room before bed, by themselves, so that they get used to being alone.
  4. Don’t expect overnight success; just work toward that next step of independence over time.
  5. Be consistent – with bedtime, with routines, with schedules.