Tips on How to Stop Co-Sleeping With Your Children

By Kimberly Caines
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Many consider co-sleeping with their newborn baby convenient, because he is within hands' reach, breastfeeding is easier and both mother and baby sleep better. When the baby gets older and becomes of toddler age, the transition out of the parents' bed can become problematic because bed-sharing is now ingrained in the child. You can try various methods to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Stop Co-Sleeping Early

If you stop co-sleeping with your newborn when she turns 6 months old, the transition to sleep on her own will be easier. At 6 months she is not yet set in her ways and will easily adapt to changes. Separation anxiety, which older kids often experience, is not an issue. Early transition is also easier for the parents who have not yet fully adapted to the bed-sharing practice. Place a crib next to your bed so you still have the comfort of knowing your baby is nearby. As your baby grows she learns to sleep on her own, in her own bed.

The Big-Kid Bed

To make the transition out of the parents' bed easier, allow your child to pick her own bed and bedding. Sleeping in the big-kid bed of her choice will be perceived as a fun experience and can make the thought of sleeping apart from the parents seem less harsh. If sleeping alone at nighttime is still problematic, let your child sleep alone in her new bed during her daytime naps. Over time, she'll get used to sleeping on her own and can gradually try using her own bed at night.

Make a Gradual Transition

Instead of just putting your child in a bed in another room, make the transition a gradual one. Stick to your normal bedtime routine. Give him a bath, read him a book and instead of putting him in the parents' bed, put him in his own bed. Stay with him until he falls asleep. Knowing you are there comforts him. Gradually reduce the attention you give your child at bedtime. Instead of staying with him until he's asleep, stay with him for a shorter time and eventually kiss him goodnight and let him fall asleep on his own. Depending on the child, the transition can take weeks or months.

Handle Relapses

During the transition from the parents' bed to her own bed, your child can wake up at night and end up in your room. You might be tempted to put her in your own bed, but this can be confusing and give your child the idea that co-sleeping is still permissible. Take your child back to her own room and put her back to sleep. If this doesn't work, place a mattress on the floor of your room and allow your child to sleep on it. She learns to fall asleep on her own and still has the comfort of knowing her parents are right there.