How do I get my toddler out of my bed?

One of the most common questions I get asked is “how do I get my child out of my bed and into theirs?”. 

Safe bedsharing is a common method of helping families to promote attachment and bonding from birth as well as supporting parents to cope with the sleepless nights.

However, many parents (although not all) find that as their child reaches 2+ old they decide they no longer want to continue with bedsharing. Parents I talk to feel overwhelmed on how to help their toddler to transfer to their own bed smoothly and willingly.

Here are my 6 key tips on how to move your toddler out of your bed. 

1. Expectations 

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Imagine when you have slept in a bed with someone you really love or care about, the warmth of their skin and the sense of security they give you.

Now reflect on how it would feel if someone told you that you are to sleep in another room on your own, how happy would you be about that?

You are an adult, with adult reasoning capacities, however your toddler doesn’t see the world how you do, and does not yet have emotions such as rationality and logic.

It is important to have realistic expectations of what this process is going to look like. Of course, it is unlikely your child is going to just accept this new arrangement. On the other hand, moving them into their own bed comfortably is more than possible overtime.

2. Coping Strategies 

You know it is going to take perseverance and hard work. What is going to keep you moving in the right direction when the going gets tough? 

One of the strategies which I recommend to my clients is to visualise what life will look like when your little one is sleeping in their own bed? How will you feel?

What difference would that make to your life right now? The answer to these questions helps you to keep going when you want to give up. It is important to consider your motives in the first place, what is the reason you would like your toddler to sleep in their own bed?

 3. Sleep Foundations

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I highly recommend that before making the transition from your bed to theirs, that you have all of your toddler’s sleep foundations in place. These are the basic principles to have in place in order to promote good quality sleep. A big factor to consider before you make the move is separation anxiety.

Most toddlers experience separation at night or during sleep times. Therefore, your relationship with your toddler during the day may affect their ability to relax for sleep.

It is challenging to be 100% present all the time with your children in our busy pressured lives. However, if you can increase your day time nurturing, open communication and reassurance this could make a big difference for their separation anxiety.

4. Sleep Timings

Timings for sleep for toddlers are absolutely key for promoting good quality night time sleep. For example, you may have started bedsharing in the first place due to frequent night waking’s. Putting a toddler to sleep overtired often results in regular night waking’s, bed time resistance and/or early rising.

Check that your toddler is getting sufficient day time sleep for their age as this has a direct impact on night time sleep. Read the recommended nap duration for your toddler.

5. Sleep Associations

Sleep Associations are what you do to help your toddler to fall asleep. Start thinking about how your toddler falls asleep. Feeding? Rocking? Cuddling? Having this awareness of this will help you to understand one of the reasons they are waking through the night. 

For instance, if your toddler is falling asleep in your arms in your bed, when they finish a sleep cycle, they need the same sleep association to fall back to sleep. They will need you to help them back to sleep in the same way. This is worth bearing in mind when you move your toddler into their own bed.

6. Sleep Coaching Technique

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Most sleep professionals start with giving parents a sleep coaching technique to help their toddler with bed transition. I believe that this doesn’t create sustainable changes in children’s sleep quality.

Equally, it is pointless to start at what I see as the candle on the cake, without sourcing the finest ingredients to make the sponge. You need to work on the first six steps to see long term change.

You can be reassured that you do not need to use crying methods to help your toddler to transition to their own bed. I recommend using a gentle age appropriate technique. With this in mind, there is no quick fix and it does take time and patience to see the results you are looking for.

These are my six steps to moving your toddler out of your bed and into theirs. If you would like to access unlimited sleep support and advice for your toddler for a minimal investment of £29 per month, join The No Sleep Club.