Question - I made the mistake of co-sleeping too long. Now I can’t get my son into his own bed. He refuses to settle if he isn’t in our bed. I transfer him during the night only to have him return to my bed in a few hours. I was wondering if you have any advice? He is 13 months old
The trick to moving a child to their own bed who is used to sleeping with you comes down to how they go to sleep at the beginning of the night. This is really important to the night waking you are experiencing during the night. It all comes down to what I call their “Sleep Checklist” as your childs eyes close as they are getting sleepy their brain is forming a checklist of everything they think “they need to go to sleep” on your sons it will involve company and your bed, it may be as specific as to who the company is ie. will only sleep if mum is there. We all have a checklist and it only becomes a problem when the situation where they fell asleep is no longer the same when they wake after a single or several sleep cycles.
Everytime your child wakes or moves between sleep cycles their brain is automatically going through this checklist and ticking off if they have everything on it, if so they will just simply fall back asleep and sleep another cycles. If anything is missing, well that is when they wake up more and call out or come looking for you to replace what is missing. In your case it will be company, probably mummy, and your bed. Thus the looking for you and your bed during the night. The way to solve this problem is for him to fall asleep in his own bed at the beginning of the night at 7pm. As he will still be in his bed during the night. The next step is without company which at the start may be a little hit and miss until he is better at falling asleep without company. Again when he wakes during the night he will now be in his bed, by himself with his teddy or blanket and all those things will still be there and he will quite naturally fall back to sleep by himself. So work on the 7pm bedtime and he will soon be sleeping the whole night through.