It’s 5:30 AM on a Saturday morning, and I’m the only one in the house awake. The rest of my family is upstairs, tucked cosy in bed. I say “in bed” and not “in their beds” because everyone is one bed. Mine.
Getting a king-sized bed was supposed to be a great, life-changing event. It has only made things worse.
My wife and I weren’t dedicated co-sleeping advocates, it’s just something we did to make life a little easier. The kids would go down in their individual beds, but after getting up a couple of times between midnight and 2, we’d just give up the ghost and drag them into our bed.
It worked, in the sense that the kids slept through the night, but it’s been a nightmare for me. I get kicked, feet go down my pants, heads are butted, and the spacious enough queen shrunk down to nothing.
I am not a fan of co-sleeping. I’m a fairly sound sleeper, so I’ll usually skip the faint cries coming from Charlie’s room. My wife is the one who heeds every call. She is the one that prefers the boys in bed. Once everyone is in our bed, my problems start.
So, for Christmas this year, my wife and I splurged on a king as a gift to each other. Now, instead of getting that ocean of personal space we experienced on vacations, it’s just made it even easier for the kids to get in bed with us.
Last night my wife was working late and I put the boys down each in their own bed. By 2am our 3 year old was in bed with us. I didn’t hear my wife come home, nor did I hear them come to the bed. I know he was there because he smoked me between the eyes. Then, just before 5, my 5 year old shuffled to my side of the bed to tell me he had a nightmare and wanted in. Usually I send him back to his room, this time I relented.
I was the meat, in a Dad sandwich. So, here I am, laptop on my knees in the basement at 5:30 AM in the morning while everyone else snores upstairs.
I thought it was going to be great to have a king, now I’ll settle for my own twin in the corner.
So, how do you get kids to sleep in their own beds through the night? Here are some tips:
My King Sized Problem 1 of 8Here are some tips to getting the kids to sleep on their own.
<i<Image via Buzz Bishop
Storytime 2 of 8
Sleep By Numbers 3 of 8When you have older kids, get them a digital clock and let them know "Don't come in our room until you see a 7". Should follow my own advice on that one.
Image via Buzz Bishop
Nightmares Happen 4 of 8Babycenter.com says it's OK to address the child's fears. If they're afraid of the dark, maybe use a nightlight. Monsters under the bed? Give it a check the first few times. "A spray-bottle filled with extra-strength monster-deterrent (a.k.a. water) can also provide late-night comfort," the Web site says.
Image via iStockPhoto
Rewards Work 5 of 8Supernanny.com says parents shouldn't forget to praise their children's success when they do sleep alone. iVillage.com adds rewarding them in the morning. If they were a good boy or girl, put a sticker on their teddy, let them wear their favorite shirt two days in a row, or shower them with congratulations.
Image via iStockPhoto
Slumber Party 6 of 8
Teddy Bear 7 of 8
Be Tough 8 of 8