sleep difficulties in children
Who doesn't know it, the bedroom door opens at night and the child absolutely wants to go into the parents' bed. The night's rest or restful sleep is often over, at least for the parents. For some children this happens rarely, for others every day. First of all, it is important to mention that there are no fixed rules in this matter that you have to follow or that need to be observed. Also, there is no age at which a child should sleep alone in their bed, as every child and their needs are different. Some children need an extra dose of security, even at night. This can be in phases (growth spurts, turbulent everyday life, etc.), but it can also be triggered by fears (e.g. during the magic phase), but it can also be the case for no apparent reason.
Of course, it's important that you all get your restful sleep, so here are a few tips for you on how to make it easier for your child to sleep in their own bed. However, we also strongly advise against insisting that your child sleeps make or break in their own bed.
Tips if your child has trouble falling asleep
- Let the day end peacefully
You should avoid wild romping and playing before going to bed, and your child should not consume screen media before going to sleep so that your child can rest.
- Make sure that your child is really tired in the evening
During the day you should make sure that your child gets a lot of exercise, but also gets mental stimulation. Fresh air is also important and will make your child overworked and tired in the evening.
- Make compromises
If it is not possible or too uncomfortable for you to share the bed with your child, make compromises. These can look like this, for example, that you agree on nights (always on the weekends) on which your child can sleep with you. You can also consider “sharing” the bedroom temporarily, i.e. taking the cot into the bedroom.
- Fixed rituals
If your child has trouble falling asleep, a regular routine can help. This can be a lullaby together, or a cuddle unit. Through the recurring actions, your child can adapt better and will soon realize that falling asleep is something nice and relaxing in itself.
- Create a relaxed and feel-good atmosphere
There can be various factors why your child doesn't like to sleep alone in their bed, some of which you can change directly. A canopy over the bed can give security. A night light breaks through the often threatening darkness, or a room door that is not completely closed can have a calming effect. Even your favorite cuddly toys in bed can make it look a lot cozier and more inviting.
- Give your child a key stimulus
It can help some children to manifest a kind of "trigger" for sleeping in their own bed. This can be, for example, a music box with a calming, recurring melody, or a warmed cherry pit pillow.
- Relaxation exercises for children who find it difficult to calm down
Some children find it difficult to calm down in the evening, so there are special relaxation exercises for this (on the Internet, on CD). Do this with your child before bed.
Tips if your child keeps waking up at night
- A shared night camp for children and parents
There are phases when the child's fear of monsters etc. is particularly great (magical phase) or the child has recurring nightmares. In this case you can set up a large, shared sleeping camp for you. Because if your child falls asleep in your bed, it will most likely be able to fall asleep better, and you will not be surprised at night. Even if your child wakes up during the night, you can calm them down more quickly and easily because you are already lying next to them.
- Set up a mattress camp in the children's room
If a family bed in your own bedroom is too much for you, or if your child is already too big for it, you can put a mattress in the children's room. So that you can easily accompany your child to sleep. So you can also calm down your child directly at night and be there for them if they have a restless night. If you want to take away your child's fears in their own children's room, it can help that you and your child sleep there together. Make yourself comfortable, show your child that they don't need to be afraid of it.
The subject of sleep is a very sensitive one, because constant lack of sleep is a really stressful subject for parents BUT remember your child is not doing this to annoy you, they have a need for closeness or fears that they cannot cope with on their own at this moment. Guide it through these difficult phases and one thing we can tell you with a high degree of certainty, these phases do not last long. We have never heard from parents that the teenage children still want to sleep in their parents' bed ;)