Parenting Toddlers: How to Get Them to Sleep in Their Own Bedroom at Night
Sanity Saving Tips To Help Ease The Transition
Going from babyhood to toddler-hood can be a trying process for the toddler as well as the parent. Emotions may arise from both sides as new milestones are reached. Many are exiting, such as saying his first sentence, or taking his first step. Others are not so exiting, and may cause frustration and a lot of work on the parent's part.
Moving a toddler from your room to his can be scary transition for him. Suddenly, his sense of security is being stripped from him, and what was once familiar has suddenly changed. The happy feeling of having Mommy or Daddy close by has been replaced with a teddy bear.
Patience is more than a virtue when making this step - it's a requirement. If you allow your stress to show, it will complicate the situation and bring further frustration. Let your toddler know he is still loved, and this is not a punishment. He's getting to be a big boy now, so now he must sleep in a big boy's room.
But how do I do it? Here are a few suggestions to help ease the transition.
- MAKE HIS ROOM ATTRACTIVE AND TODDLER FRIENDLY Decorate his room with bright colors and characters that he loves. It may be a good idea to take him shopping and let him pick the theme. Put his favorite things close by his bed; this will create a sense of comfort. Make sure his bed is warm and comfortable and lined with an absorbent bed liner in case of an accident.
- PICK A GREAT NIGHT LIGHT It's great if your toddler will sleep in the dark, but if it scares him, don't push the issue. If you insist he do something he is afraid of, this will only increase his fears and insecurity. So, go ahead and buy a night light. Also, your choice of a good night light may be the key to a good night's sleep for both of you. Some ones to try...
- A disco ball. This will provide lively colors and movements that will entertain your child and hopefully, eventually lull him to sleep.
- A lighted toy aquarium. This is also a good choice. You can get these quite inexpensively on eBay. Send him to a world of wonder as he watches the fishies swim about. There are some brands on the market that have very realistic choices. You may be tempted to buy one for yourself!
- A lava lamp. This is another colorful and entertaining choice. You can pick these up at almost any department store, or on eBay, and they're available in a variety of shapes and colors.
- A small lighted fountain. This will provide just enough light to softly light his room. This is a good choice if you don't want something too overbearing. The great plus is the gentle sound of water trickling. Who wouldn't want to sleep to that?
- GIVE HIM A PIECE OF YOUR CLOTHING Let your child have a piece of your clothing to sleep with. If you don't want him sleeping with your shirt, carry a handkerchief in your pocket and let your toddler see it during the day several times. Then tuck it into his jammies at night.
- DISPLAY YOUR PHOTO NEXT TO HIS BED I know many of us don't like our pictures, but for your toddler, having a picture of Mommy or Daddy (or both) may be just what he needs to bring him comfort. Pick a current photo, one that looks like you do everyday, frame it, and place it on his night stand. Tell him that anytime that he needs to see you, just look at the picture.
- RECORD YOUR VOICE For a toddler, hearing a parent's voice brings more security than anything. Try recording your voice on a full length cassette or CD. Tell nursery rhymes, sing lullabies, or say night-night prayers. By the end of the recording, your little one will be in dream land!
- REVERSE THE NURSERY MONITOR This is another alternative to let your child hear your voice. Put the base in your room and the handheld in his room. You can now sing, or talk to your child live! After he falls asleep, change the monitor back again. If you want your child to communicate with you too, consider buying two monitors. Explain to your child that the cool radio in his room let's Mommy or Daddy hear everything that happens, so there's no need to be afraid.
If your child insists that you keep coming to his room, be patient. He is not trying to control you, as some have suggested, but just needs to know that you'll be there when he needs you. If you come to him when he calls, right when he calls, and do your best to lovingly soothe him, this will begin to happen less and less. The bottom line is to not let his sense of security be broken.
Good night little one...