How to Stop Your Children Climbing Into Your Bed Uninvited

Who hasn’t climbed into their parents’ bed when they were a child at some point? Not many of us, the chances are. It’s warm and inviting and so much larger than our own bed. Then there’s the plus of getting to spend a little extra time with our parents, our heroes!

The thing is, we never gave it a second thought. It never really occurred to us that Mum and Dad needed their sleep, needed their downtime, and we’d just clamber all over them and wake them up (and maybe wonder why they were a bit cranky when they got up!).

Children Climbing Into Your Bed

It’s a problem many parents face, but mum-of-three Megan Gough made it into the Kent local news online for coming up with a solution to it. It’s a simple one, too, and parents will rejoice when they try it. Ms. Gough purchased a cheap white clock from the Swedish furniture giant Ikea and then divided different times of the day into three color-coded zones as follows:

  • Red: This is before 6.30 am. It’s not time to get up and the child should get back into bed.
  • Yellow: This is between 6.30 am and 7.00 am and it’s okay for the child to get up, but they must play in their room.
  • Green: This is from 7.00 am onwards, in which case it’s fine to wake up the parents.

A very effective system and, of course, you can adapt the time zones in the system to your own routine. It’s a good way of helping your child to learn how to tell the time, too, which was the original idea behind Ms. Gough’s system.

Of course, there are other tricks and approaches you can apply to help encourage your children to stay in their own bed that little bit longer. Let’s delve into some of them.

Tell Them What’s Going to Happen

You can’t just take your kids to their bedroom, close the door on them and leave them till morning from one day to the next. That will be a real shock to them and won’t do them or you any good, so you must forewarn them that they’ll be sleeping on their own in their room and that you’ll lead them back to their own bed if they disturb you during the night. Tell them when it’s night-time, it’s a time for sleeping, and when it’s morning and it’s light, it’s a time for waking up. You’re the one in charge here, don’t forget.

Tell Them What’s Going to Happen

Sleep With Them The First Few Nights… but Then Bring Them Back to Their Room

It’ll take a bit of time for them to adjust. Sleep with them the first few nights, but then move back into your own bed afterward. They’ve got to understand that sharing the room at night with you isn’t a permanent arrangement.

They’re likely to get up and come into your room (or into the living room if you’re still awake), so you’ve got to get used to bring them back to bed. Be consistent and just keep taking them back to their bed. Note that they might have woken up because they’re thirsty or need a change of nappy, so check and if not, back to bed they go.

Check They’re Comfortable in Their Room

You might think your child is just being a bit clingy, but there could be another reason they keep getting up: the possibility they’re not comfortable in their room. No parent would want that, so ask a few questions. Is it too dark in there? Are they warm enough? You can set up a night light and, if they’re feeling the chill, provide them with some extra bedding.

If they’re having trouble coping with being alone in the room, bring in a ‘transitional object’ that offers them some comfort. It could be a teddy bear or, better still, your pillow, which will carry your scent and make them feel more secure.

Teach Them to Fall Asleep

Teach Them to Fall Asleep

The normal approach in the struggle to get kids off to sleep is to just hope, eventually, they’ll drift off. We use bedtime stories, we sing nursery rhymes and use other techniques to comfort them and ease them into sleep, which is all well and good and works for a lot of parents, but we can take some extra initiative: we can teach them how to fall back asleep.

To do this, once they’re in bed, tell them gently to stay in bed. Then ask them to close their eyes and think of something fun. That could be what they want to do at the weekend or what they want to do on the next family holiday. This occupies their mind, distracting them from the fact they want to get out of bed, and works as a fabulous tool for helping them to fall (back) asleep.

Reward Them

Children respond well to incentives, bless their little souls. You could create a sticker chart for them or offer them some extra playtime. You might even want to reward them with a toy if they stay in bed a certain number of nights. How you reward them is up to you, but if you make it worth their while, you’ll stand a good chance of being able to rest undisturbed.

As lovable as your children are, you still need to get your rest, just like they do. You may not mind them climbing into your bed to be with you, but it’s disruptive and when it really starts to disturb your rest, it’s time to implement the tips above. Feeling fresh and revitalized following a good night’s sleep will allow you to enjoy the hours you’re awake much more with your children.

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