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Most parents will tell you they began co-sleeping at an early age because it was easier at the time.
This may work well for a while, but when that tiny baby turns into a much bigger (and squirmier) toddler and you start running out of bed space… things get a little tricky.
Eventually, you decide it’s time to stop co-sleeping.
While it’s certainly an emotional time, there are several ways for parents to make this transition easier on themselves and their little ones.
In this post, we will share tips for how to end co-sleeping along with some advice on how to transition your toddler to a crib or toddler bed.
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What is co-sleeping and what are the drawbacks?
Co-sleeping (or bed-sharing) is when a parent and child sleep in the same bed or on the same surface.
Parents choose to co-sleep for many reasons, including convenience, reassurance, or because of baby’s feeding needs.
Although there are benefits to co-sleeping with your child, there are drawbacks as well.
Your child may develop a sleep crutch
If your child always sleeps with you, they may become accustomed to it and not know how to sleep without your presence.
This may make it harder for your child to fall asleep if they go to daycare or spend the day with a grandparent, for example. They may get overtired as a result. If you’ve been a parent for longer than a minute, you know that toddlers and over-exhaustion do not mix very well.
The “one bedtime” problem
Then, of course, there’s the “one bedtime” problem.
If your little one needs you by their side in order to fall asleep (and stay asleep), their bedtime becomes your bedtime.
When you’re a busy parent, that little bit of personal time at night after you put your kids to bed is game-changing.
As a busy mom myself, this is when I’m able to get everything ready for the next morning, take a quiet shower (and actually wash my hair), and spend some quality time with my husband.
Poor sleep quality
Many parents find it difficult to get restful sleep when occupying such a small space with their little one. And this space gets smaller and smaller the bigger your tot gets.
This can lead to inadequate sleep themselves which can lead to stress and fatigue during the day. And that’s not fun for anyone.
How to stop co-sleeping with toddlers: 9 Tips to make the transition easier
Create a bedtime routine
One important thing you can do is create a consistent bedtime routine for your little one.
A bedtime routine can serve as a great way to wind down and get ready for sleep. Many parents find that giving their little one a bath, reading a story, singing lullabies, or playing with a special toy all work well as part of their child’s bedtime routine.
Establish a consistent bedtime
In addition to creating a bedtime routine, it’s also helpful to stick to the same bedtime as well.
A consistent bedtime can help your child learn to expect sleep at a certain time and makes it easier for them to get into the habit of falling asleep on their own.
Tire your child out
It’s no secret that toddlers have a lot of energy!
This is why it’s important to fill their day with fun activities and lots of physical play, which will help wear them out before they go to sleep at night.
This might include singing songs, solving puzzles, or playing silly games.
Burning off some of their excess energy will help them fall asleep faster and stay on schedule.
Start preparing them
Preparing your child for the move from co-sleeping to crib or toddler bed (depending on their age) can make it easier.
So, how can you do that?
One way is to start reading books to your toddler about sleeping in their own bed. I love books because they’re entertaining and will help your child learn and understand things that, otherwise, seem hard or scary.
Here are a few cute books you could start with:
You can read to your child at any time of day, but I’ve found that incorporating a book or two into their bedtime routine works well.
Involve them in the process
It’s also a good idea to involve your toddler in the move. This may help everything go more smoothly.
You can ask them questions like which blanket or toy they want to keep in their room or beside their bed.
Letting them have a say will make them feel more involved and as if they have control over their circumstances.
Start by getting them used to sleeping on their own at nap-time
If possible, start transitioning your baby to sleeping in their own space at naptime first.
This will help them get used to the idea of not always having you next to them when they sleep, which can make bedtime easier for everyone.
Create the perfect environment
A toddler’s room should be as comfortable and cozy as possible with minimal noise and distractions.
If you can make their setup similar to your bed (so that it’s more familiar), that’s even better!
Make sure the room is cool enough so that it’s easy for them to fall asleep. If it’s too hot or cold, then they’ll be uncomfortable and more likely to wake up throughout the night.
You can experiment with soothing music or sounds when trying to get your toddler into bed for the night.
Sometimes toddlers will also respond well to white noise from a fan or white noise machine.
Consider transitioning to room-sharing first
If your little one is very stubborn about sleeping in their own bed, it may be helpful to transition to room-sharing first.
This means moving their bed into your room temporarily.
Room-sharing can help give your little one some of their independence before transitioning them completely into their own room overnight.
Some toddlers transition from co-sleeping to their own bed easier than others.
But, it’s important to remain consistent, even if it seems hard at first.
Hopefully these tips will make it a little easier to transition your toddler from co-sleeping to their own bed!
The key is in establishing a bedtime routine and making sure that they have had plenty of playtime before putting them down for the night.
It’s also helpful if you can start preparing them by getting them used to sleeping on their own at naptime first.
Stay as consistent as possible with routines while being mindful of what’s best for both yourself and your child.