How to Keep Children Out of Bed
Much like the right way to hang up a roll of toilet paper, the location of a sleeping baby is a sure-fire way to start an internet fight. The experts are tired of quarreling. NPR reported last year that the latest recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics boil down to this: We don’t think kids should sleep with adults, but we know you’re going to ignore us, and so on.
Some parenting questions have the right answer, such as whether to get vaccinated (yes), use car seats (yes), or hang babies in window cages (no). Co-sleeping is a more complex issue and the AAP advised me not to make your choices for you.
But if you want to claim that the area of your mattress is the only part of your home untainted by the sounds, smells, and fluids of children, I have a few ideas.
Lay the foundation in advance
When our babies were very young, they slept on my chest, on a swing, in a car seat, in a glider, in a bag and games, on a Boppy pillow, in a crib or in their mother’s arms. Sometimes three or more of these places in one night. Our bed was not one of them. It was only when they had miserable colds or ear infections that we hesitated.
This approach caused short-term pain. Getting up over and over again to bump into the nursery was awful. But we took a long perspective and determined that the ultimate goal is a baby bed. By the time they were old enough to question the sleep structure, they hadn’t even thought about it. Mom and Dad are a bed for mom and dad, because it has always been like that.
Typically, you find a sleeping baby where she was last placed. The kid is a completely different story. As soon as your baby can get out of the crib, it needs to be removed. It can be dangerous to store it.
When our first child moved into a large crib, we established three rules:
- Once in bed, you remain in it.
- If you really need something, give us a call. (We were in the next room.)
- You can get out of bed when you see sunlight in the morning. (We hung her windows with blackout curtains.)
She was a follower of the rules, and that helped our cause. But setting limits can work even with brave kids, if you combine those limits with a lengthy description of the benefits of a bed for big kids. It is great for both jumping and hiding underneath. You can pretend to be a fox by burying yourself in a blanket, or pretend to be a mummy by stretching out straight and tough. The bed for large children is spacious and soft. This can be a cliff from which you can sail in cars, or the high ballroom of the castle, where the puppets can dance. Nothing beats a big kid’s bed!
Make your child’s bedroom awesome
Fold soft toys all over the place, turn on a night light or two, put dolls and toys in trash cans. Hang glittering butterflies or inflatable dinosaurs from the ceiling. Paint the walls crazy colors. Attach posters and pictures. If you have hands, make a cool bed . All your child wants – within reason – is to make their bedroom the coolest room in the house. The room she helped design. A room that she never wants to leave.
Then take one more step. Emphasize that these four walls provide a respite from her pesky little brother. Her own place to paint, paint, read, store souvenirs. A place where you can be alone and build worlds of imagination. A place where you can feel comfortable and safe. A place where you can find peace. Sleeping. All night long.
Keep to the plan
Success is achieved by planning in the middle of the day when you have coffee. The middle of the night is when things can fall apart. Stay strong.
Start by making these kids nice and tired. Even in cold and dull weather, look for activities that require large muscle groups. Weather permitting, threaten to give him housework if they don’t want to go outside and play.
Choose a bedtime and keep it safe. It doesn’t matter if it’s a birthday party, an overtime game, or the Papal Midnight Mass. When it’s time to go to bed, it’s time for a routine. Bath, pajamas, brushing teeth, storytelling and singing. In the end, these actions will work like Pavlov’s bells, and the children will almost go to bed.
When growing pains or nightmares appear, find a way to get some sleep in their rooms. Whether it’s a fold-out bed, a folding foam mattress, an armchair or even a crib, your squeaky muscles won’t twist or hurt in any position.
Make your bedroom boring
The best scammers let the brand do all the work. Follow their lead. Transform your room into a monk’s quarters, but even more comfortable. Somewhere between the “Spartan” and the “habitable”, but completely “old man”. Start by reducing the size to a queen or even a double mattress. Stack seventeen books on the nightstand, cover the chest of drawers with photographs of deceased family members.
No toys. No games. No TV, no tablets, no laptops. If he can play Peppa Pig, take him out. Restricting your own access to these devices can improve the quality of your sleep , but will definitely make your domain lame in your child’s eyes. If she looks around your room and finds it boring, congratulations. You won the battle before it even began.