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Oh, Behave: Sleeping With Mom


Q: I am the mother of two boys – two and five. My youngest will not sleep in his bed; only with me. When he was a baby I was in the hospital a lot due to kidney failure and ever since he will not let me out of his sight. How can I get him to sleep in his bed without upsetting him? – MELISSA H, TORONTO, ON

Getting your son to sleep in his own bed without upsetting him is probably not going to happen. However, getting him to sleep in his own bed is a possibility. Here’s a reminder of some of the basics:

  1. Be firm. Say, “You are sleeping in your own bed.” It’s not negotiable, it’s a fact.
  2. Deal with bedtime at bedtime. Don’t talk about it all day.
  3. Set a time and a routine for bedtime and stick to it.
  4. Focus on the positive of this experience. Saying things such as, “I know you can do it!” View it as character building rather than as a problem. Try this for three nights and return him to his own bed every time he ventures out.

Specifically for you, try setting up a ‘nest’ next to your bed with blankets and pillows. This allows him access to your room, but not to your bed. The move from the bed to the nest often encourages an easier and less-upsetting transition. This halfway mark means you are making some progress while aiming for a more achievable goal. The nest changes the dynamics of the situation and allows for new events to take place.

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