It is not uncommon for very young children to sleep with their parents. For some time, this will work both ways. Parents will have the advantage of keeping an eye on their young kids while the children get the comfort of knowing that their parents are just one bed away from them in one room. However, kids who are growing up will be needing more privacy and be accepting more responsibility in taking care of themselves.
Before we go into the nuances of helping our children adjust to sleeping in their own rooms, we parents need to determine the probable causes why they don’t want to or why they refuse to. The usual reasons are based on two factors: fear and insecurity. Knowing what they are afraid of or insecure about could help us act accordingly to effectively address their concerns. When this is done, the convincing part will be a lot easier to handle.
1. Introduce the Idea in an Appropriate Manner
Introducing the idea to a child of sleeping in his or her own room can be done in two ways depending on the temperament and character of a child. Some would respond best when parents treat the transfer as no big deal or like any other day in the life of a growing child. Others respond better when certain meticulous preparations are done to “announce” the change.
2. Make the Idea Sink In By Involving Your Child in Room Arrangement
As parents, we can make the room transfer more acceptable to the children by making them more comfortable to the idea. Nothing does this better than involving them in room arrangement. Make them feel that they had some hand on deciding matters about their private rooms.
3. Address Fear Factor
When the fear element is quite real for a child, we should address this firmly but gently. We must be able to make them feel that we understand, while at the same time being able to help them go beyond their fears, imagined or otherwise. Younger children may need some play element in this area so we can think of providing them some equipment to defeat what they fear like a flashlight to use in the dark or a stuffed toy to serve as an ally.
4. Put Insecurity to Rest
Many kids think that moving out from the parents’ bedroom is related to loss of affection. We should be able to explain that this is not so and that moving to their own rooms is just a natural part of growing up. Assurance in forms of actions and words will help in putting their insecurities to rest.
5. When Necessary, Make the Change in Stages
If we observe that our children require more time to adapt to the change, then by all means we should give it to them in stages. If the child used to sleep in the parents’ bed, then the next step is to have the child sleep in his or her own bed in the same room. This can progress to a couple of days where one parent can accompany the child in the new room. The end purpose, of course, is to make the child confident enough to occupy the room on his or her own.