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Getting Kids to Sleep in Their Own Beds

Deciding On Whether You Should Allow Your Toddler To Sleep With You

It's an unmistakable sound that wakes you up every time: the pitter patter of your toddler's feet coming into your room at night. Although many parents are excited by the prospect of moving a toddler out of a crib and into a bed, this is the downside: Your child can easily come into your bed in the night.

Some experts, like Meredith Small, a professor of cultural anthropology at Cornell University and author of "Our Babies, Our Selves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent," point out that co-sleeping is an evolutionary adaptation and that it is natural for babies and young children to want to sleep in bed with parents. Others, like sleep expert Dr. Richard Ferber, encourage parents to teach children to sleep on their own, arguing that "primitive" sleep arrangements are irrelevant in modern times.

Once you decide where you fall between the two, you can make a rule that works for your family.

  • If you do not want him sleeping with you, bring him back to his room every time he gets up. If you do this consistently in a no-fuss way so he is not getting extra attention, he'll quickly stop coming into your bed.
  • If you do not want him waking you up at night but do not mind him in the room, make a little bed close to yours and tell him simply that he may sleep with you only if he does not wake you up. If he wakes you up, bring him back to his room.
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