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How Can I Teach My Child to Sleep Alone?

Questioner

N (24_female_UK)

Reply Date

May 23, 2018

Question

I have a daughter who is about 2. I am expecting another baby this month and I would like to move my daughter into a larger bed in the next few months. I want her to get used about sleeping in a bed before the baby arrives so that there are no territorial issues pertaining to the crib. There is already a bed in her bedroom that she is familiar with. I am just worried that she is too young to be expected to stay in this bed and will be constantly climbing out. Is she too young? How have other parents get their kids to stay in bed? Have you ever tried moving a two-year-old to a big bed and been successful? Opinions and advice requested.

Counselor

Answer


Sleep, child

In this counseling answer:

•Talk and play on her bed during the day and especially at bedtime. This will give her a chance to understand that it is okay to sleep alone and will make her need to stay in her room.

•Try not to let your daughter fall asleep before bedtime.

•Try to fulfill your child’s needs before bedtime so that she doesn’t use them to avoid going to bed.

•Allow your child to take a favorite, safe teddy bear or special blanket to bed. Such things often help children fall asleep.


As-Salamu `Alaykum sister,

Thank you for your questions. May Allah bless you and your family.

That’s great that you’re sleeping with your daughter. It helps a baby fall asleep, is easier on nursing mothers, and promotes the bond between parent and child.

According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, babies who sleep alone are more susceptible to stress disorders. But babies who sleep with their parents are actually more independent than their peers. They perform better in school, have higher self-esteem, and have fewer health problems.

I would not personally move a child into a bed before the age of two. Before that time, a child can use the comfort of a crib’s surrounding sides in the parents’ bedroom or beside them in the same bed if the bed is big enough and safe. Mother and baby who are continuously together will have a secure attachment relationship.

This attachment of sleeping together has benefits that are not limited to mother and child; fathers also report enjoying additional time to bond with the baby as a direct result of sharing a sleeping area (Davies, 1995; Seabrook, 1999; Thevenin, 1987). But after age 2, I think a bed is a very good step towards growing up.

I moved my son to his new bed when he was 2-1/2 years. I started the process when he was about 2 years and a few months, and ended successfully after two months, al-hamdu lillah. The process was difficult for the first nights. He really wanted to be with us or have us stay in his room with him.

He now often sleeps in his bed, but we moved his bed into the doorway of his room—which is very close to our room—and leave the door open as well as leave the night-light on. Since we made this change, he has been willing to sleepA little girl sleeping on a large white pillow in his bed. My dear sister, start the process before the new baby is born.

Make the switch at least six to eight weeks before you’re due.

You want your older child well ensconced in his new bed before he sees the baby taking over his sleeping place. You could also delay the switch until the new baby is three or four months old. The newborn may spend those months sleeping in a basket (bassinet) or beside you in bed, and your older child will have time to adjust to the new baby. This may make the transition easier.

You’ll be successful, in sha’ Allah, sister. Just make a lot of du`aa’, be patient, and try to benefit from these ideas and your own ideas as a mother. Your child is yours and has slept with you since her birth, so as she grows and is ready to move on, you, too, can move her on:

•Before all, you have to make sure of her safety in the new bed.

•Talk and play on her bed during the day and especially at bedtime. This will give her a chance to understand that it is okay to sleep alone and will make her need to stay in her room.

•Try not to let your daughter fall asleep before bedtime.

•Try to fulfill your child’s needs before bedtime so that she doesn’t use them to avoid going to bed.

•Allow your child to take a favorite, safe teddy bear or special blanket to bed. Such things often help children fall asleep.

•Make the bedtime the same time every night by establishing a pleasant routine that may include reading, singing, and saying du`aa’. A regular routine will help your child understand that it’s time to go to sleep.

•During the transition, which may be very difficult for a while, lie down with her or sit next to the bed until she’s asleep so your child won’t be too afraid or feel abandoned.

•Memorize with her some verses from Qur’an and make du`aa’.

•Make bedtime story time.

•Reassure your child that you are there and let her feel totally secure that you are available.

Also, make a “Big Bed” party and invite friends and grandparents. Your child may be so excited about getting a big bed that everything will go smoothly.

Another thing to think about is that she may get up at night or not stay in bed. Many times it is fear (ghosts, nightmares). If this happens, try to calm her down with some reassurance and turn on a night-light. Take care of the kinds of stories you tell her before she sleeps and never threaten her during the day with animals or ghosts or whatever.

Lastly, remember that some children will adjust easily to the change, while others will not. Every child is different.

Salam,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

My Little Son Still Sleeping in My Bed!

She Will Not Sleep Without Me

 




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