Everyone’s excited now that your child has moved from his crib into his big boy bed. Now things will be easier for the family…..or, maybe not. This new experience may be exciting for him, but it’s also a little scary. Plus, it’s easy to climb out of a bed. Getting him to stay in his bed all night is important, and you must set the rule right away. Here are a few tips to help:
1. Remind him that he has this awesome bed because he's a big boy now. But that means he must accept the responsibility comes with that. That means there are a few important rules. The first rule is that he must call for you if he wants to get out of bed. Initially, he may call for you often, but you must stick to your guns that he is not allowed to get out of bed without you.
2. If he calls for you repeatedly, tell him that the next rule is that there are only certain times when he is allowed to ask for you. If he feels afraid or is having a bad dream he can certainly call for you. Also, if he has to go to the bathroom, he should let you know, although be sure he uses the bathroom before bed to help avoid that situation. Limit his drinking before bed so he doesn't wake up thirsty.
Initially, he will likely cry for you in the middle of the night and tell you he's scared, because he wants to come into your bed. At that point you will be exhausted, and it’s easier to say yes, but, try to avoid that. Once he enjoys the comfort of snuggling with Mommy and Daddy in bed, it will be very hard to take away that privilege. There are certainly special circumstances where you welcome a family bed, such as a loud, scary storm, but you have to put your foot down on most other occasions.
3. For the times when he does call you, go into his room as opposed to having him come into yours. Ask him what's wrong in a gentle, soothing voice. If he says he had a scary dream, encourage him to tell you about it and reassure him that it was just a dream and he's very safe. It’s often helpful to place a nightlight by his bed so he can see his surroundings.Cloud B : Twilight Turtle
Tell him you'll stay with him for five minutes until he falls back asleep, but you need to go back to sleep too. If he doesn't fall asleep in five minutes and starts to cry when you try to leave, tell him that you will wait out in the hall for five more minutes. Place a clock by his bed so you can show him exactly what five minutes means. Most importantly, you have to follow through on what you say. If he still calls for you, tell him that you are going to bed, he is safe and you both need your sleep. You have to let him cry, and that isn’t easy.
I know that it is so much simpler to give in, especially when you are all sleep deprived. Yet, if you nip it in the bud right away, he will understand that this is the way it is going to be. Then, on the special occasions when you allow him in your bed, he will recognize that it is truly a special occasion.