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How to Break the Habit of Kids Sleeping in Their Parents' Bed

By Michelle Kulas ; Updated June 13, 2017

It's not uncommon for parents to get into the habit of bringing their young children into bed with them. It may start when a baby is nursing or sick, or may simply become a habit that the child has grown accustomed to over the years. Once your child reaches the preschool years, she should be capable of staying in her own bed. Consistency and persistence are the keys to success in helping your child break the habit of going into your bed at night.

  1. Explain the new rules to your child. Cheerfully let him know that you expect him to stay in his own bed from now on, and tell him that if he comes into your room in the middle of the night, you will bring him directly back to his own bed.

  2. Create a bed time routine that makes going to sleep a pleasant experience. Consistency is calming to many children. A warm bath followed by a story and a song can help relax your child and reinforce that it is time to lie down and go to sleep.

  3. Return your child to her bed if she comes out of her room and do so with no fanfare. Pick her up, place her in her bed, cover her up, say "goodnight" and leave the room. Do not give your child extra attention or allow her to delay going back to her bed.

  4. Teach your child what to do if he wakes up in the middle of the night. Encourage him to hug a stuffed animal and go back to sleep on his own.

  5. Reward your child for staying in her bed at night. You can make a sticker chart and praise him verbally in the morning while adding another sticker for a night in her own bed.

  6. Remain firm. While you and your child may have a few difficult nights, it will be worth it in the long run. Eventually, he will understand that he must stay in his bed, and you all will be getting a better night's sleep.

  7. Tip

    If your child is sick or frightened by a bad dream or a thunderstorm, try to attend to his needs in his own bedroom. This will allow him to feel secure while not encouraging the habit of going into your bed for comfort.

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