You know how you thought your kid was completely done with waking at all hours of the night and so you celebrated and cried tears of joy just to learn that a few months (or years) later it all happens again?
If you're brand new at the momma game...yeah. This happens. Just when you were supposed to be out of the woods, there they are at your bedside, whispering in your ear.
It might be the transition to a big-boy bed. Or an illness that throws the sleeping routine. Whatever it is, when children decide they should sleep only in your bed, hard times are had by all.
If there’s no medical reason for these night wakings, and none of these things are at play, then your babe can be taught. Laying in his bed or rocking him back to sleep five times tonight doesn’t have to be your fate.
The life hack you’ll thank me for later:
Explain to small person that this is his bed. If he wakes in the night and wants to be near you, this is where he can sleep. He will no longer be sleeping in your bed.
Wee Hours: When babe comes running in, the choice is his: Sleep in the space provided, next to your bed, or go back to his own room. He'll choose the nonexistent option C: Your bed. If so, calmly return him to his room. After some wailing, he'll try Option D: You snuggling with him in his bed. This option is also unavailable if this plan is to work. Again, offer for him to sleep in his space in your room, if he is refusing to stay in his bed alone.
You'll probably have to ride this train multiple times tonight, with much wailing and distress had by all. And maybe tomorrow and the next day as well. But if you stick it out—meaning, at no point are you in his bed or he in yours- he’ll get the idea. In fact, small child will eventually go straight to his sleeping corner without even waking you!
And then someday, when he’s ready, he’ll decide the floor isn’t as comfortable as his bed. And he’ll return to his own sleeping space, very likely entirely on his own. You will awake, and there he will be, in his own bed. For the third night in a row. In the meantime, you will have gotten sleep for the past many months. Mission accomplished.
He'll catch on super quickly, and want to start out the night sleeping in his space on your bedroom floor. I’ve found that in order for this system to be successful, kids really need to get comfortable with their own bed and own room. I would suggest the rule that he has to go to sleep in his own bed, and if he wakes he can use his sleeping spot.
Am I saying you should never snuggle your child in your bed or his? No way. Sleepy snuggles are my jam. Just make it abundantly clear that sleepy snuggles happen at bedtime and in the morning (or whenever they work for you.) But not in the middle of the night.
You are so super welcome for all the sleep you're about to get.