Fading: The experts technique to get your child to sleep in their own bed
A proper night sleep is coming both of your ways.
Whether your child is point blank avoiding their bed or sneaking in during the middle of the night, experts advise that putting an end to this cycle needs to happen.
This is important because allowing them to sleep in your bed night after night could inadvertently confirm their notion that it’s unsafe to be alone, therefore unintentionally reinforcing anxiety.
According to the Child Mind Institute, the most well-intentioned parents will accidentally keep allowing this when their children come to them for reassurance. But don’t worry; it can be corrected, and you'll have your bed back in no time.
Before you launch into Operation Sleep Alone, trying to understand where this fear comes from is helpful.
For example, if your little one is afraid of the dark, they recommend exposure therapy to help them get used to being in the dark.
If your child can’t vocalise their fears, don't worry.
To help your little one adjust to sleeping on their own, CMI recommends a technique called 'fading.'
This involves you gradually fading your presence every night to eventually fade completely at bedtime.
You might start with them lying in their own bed and you sitting in a chair next to him until they fall asleep, and if accepted, once they can do that, you can gradually move your chair further and further away from their bed until you are sitting outside their bedroom with the door open.
Depending on how severe the fear or anxiety is, you could also use a sleeping bag instead of the chair. If they get into your bed at any point, immediately get up and walk them back to their room.
Sleeping in their own bed needs to be a new rule that is very firmly stuck to, as any backtracking can hamper any progress made.
CMI advises that parents may need to brace themselves for the next couple months because this can take some hard work.
Ensure that you really praise your child for each gain, and even consider implementing a point system where a certain amount of points equals a prize that is really motivating to them.
Remember, this is also hard work for your child, and you want them to feel good about the progress they are making.
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