- Publish Date
- Tuesday, 9 January 2018, 10:00AM
A foot in the head, an elbow in the ribs...sharing even a roomy bed with a child sees parents kissing goodbye to a decent night's sleep.
There's the familiar patter of feet down a hallway, as little ones make their nocturnal journey from their bed to yours in the dead of night.
Whether it's a fear of the dark, hunger or habit, youngsters often head straight for their parents' bed when they wake before morning, the Daily Mail reports.
However, according to one sleep expert, persuading a youngster to settle back in their own room for good isn't quite as tricky as many exasperated parents think it is.
CEO of The Children’s Sleep Charity, Vicki Dawson, told the Huffington Post that some parents actually choose to co-sleep, because frog-marching a child back to bed isn't fun for anyone - especially when it happens more than once a night.
She says: "Many families choose to bed share and do have a good night’s sleep".
Below are a handful of crucial tricks to ensure you're all destined for some quality shut-eye
1. REMEMBER CONSISTENCY IS EVERYTHING
Routine is everything to young children and if you start something that you can't finish, you'll almost certainly fail.
Give any changes at least two weeks to enable sleep patterns to improve - if you allow children back into your bed after two or three nights, they'll quickly become aware you don't mean business.
2. BE CLEAR BEFORE BED-TIME YOU'll BE SLEEPING APART
Use a drip-feed technique to ensure youngsters have a chance to get used to a new routine, say experts. If a child is ordinarily allowed to get into bed with you and then is abruptly given a new regime, it'll be a bigger shock for them.
3. ENSURE THEIR OWN ROOM IS A NICE PLACE TO SLEEP IN
If your little one is fleeing their room in the middle of the night, ask yourself what the reason is. Are the too hot, too cold or just terrified about the way their wardrobe looks when the light is on low? If you wouldn't like to sleep in there, then there's every chance your child won't either.
4. SLEEP IN THEIR BED FOR A FEW NIGHTS IF YOU CAN
If your child needs you as a human comfort blanket, then re-locating to their bed for a night or two might help them fall in love with their own surrounds a little more.
Even if it's uncomfortable for you, it could be a key moment in making your child stay put.
5. LET THEM PLAY IN THEIR ROOM IN THE DAY
If a sibling has a bigger bedroom, often children don't ever play in their own room, it becomes simply a night-time venue that they associate with being alone or being in the dark, or both. And if you've told them frequently that they need to go back to their own room, they'll also link it with being chastised.
This article was first published on Daily Mail and is republished here with permission.