Cosleeping With Toddler: Teaching Independent Sleep

Cosleeping With Toddler: Teaching Independent Sleep

You may have found that co-sleeping with your toddler has been the best arrangement for your toddler and your family. As long as everyone is able to rest and get a quality good night’s sleep, co-sleeping can be an excellent option for promoting bonding and feeling close with your toddler.

However, there will likely come a time when your toddler will need to start gaining a little independence in the co-sleeping department. This may be due to another baby on the way or simply because you want your comfy bed back to yourself.

Let’s talk about what that independence may look like and how to help your toddler become a champ at falling asleep on their own.

What Are The Basics of Co-Sleeping?

Let’s first chat about some co-sleeping basics to ensure that your toddler has the safest sleep environment. If your toddler is still breastfeeding, having them within arm's reach can be a saving grace when you do not want to get up in the middle of the night.

You feel closer to your toddler, and your toddler feels safe and secure with you by their side.

You get up less during the night, and your toddler is likely to fall asleep faster.

It is recommended that co-sleeping not be practiced with children under the age of one. Room-sharing is encouraged but refrain from snuggling your baby as you both sleep until they are at an age where they can sleep safely in the same bed as you.

If your toddler does co-sleep, be sure to allow them to sleep in a clear space on your side and not in the middle of both partners. If your bed is against the wall, keep your baby away from that side.

Be sure to clear your bed of extra blankets, pillows, or soft objects. If you are nervous about the height of your bed, you can always place your mattress on the floor for the time being.

Building a Solid Bedtime Routine

No matter what route you take on the journey to instilling independent sleeping in your toddler, a consistent bedtime routine is something you’ll want to continue doing. For your toddler, their bedtime routine is a cue to start the process of winding down for the evening and lays the groundwork for strong mental health and healthy sleep habits.

With a consistent bedtime routine, your little one will be better rested and have more focus and better behavior. A snack, bath, and cuddle time with a storybook are examples of an effective bedtime routine. Your toddler will feel secure with the predictability of the routine, as going off schedule can sometimes throw our buddies off track.

Little Yawn Collective can help make bedtime effortless. Your little one will feel cozy and snoozy with our collection of melatonin-free sleep solutions.

Our products perfectly fit your bedtime routine and set the tone for a sleepy and restful environment. We can also offer you peace of mind by knowing that our products are naturally sourced, and pediatrician approved.

Our Snooze Bundle contains our Soothing Shampoo & Body Wash with Calendula, Nourishing Body Lotion with Oat & Shea Butter, and Relaxing Pillow & Linen Spray. These products all contain our NaturalSnooze fragrance, featuring scents proven to create an environment that helps fall asleep and stay asleep.

Communication Can Be A Game Changer

Giving independence to your toddler is a big deal. This may be the first time in their life that they will be given some responsibility. They may be nervous about not having you around when they fall asleep at night if they have always gone to sleep with you by their side.

Communicate this new change with your toddler. The more they know ahead of time, the easier their transition will be. You simply can let them know that they are now ready to start something different, and you are excited to allow them to start being a little more independent.

Same Room, Different Bed

Their bedtime sleep positions may resemble something closer to a synchronized swimmer as your toddler grows. The constant changing of body positions, the kicking, and the arm flailing may disturb you from getting the sleep you need.

You may want your bed back to yourself and have to find the best way to kindly evict your toddler. On the flip side, you may not want to kick your child out of your bed, but something needs to be done so everyone can sleep soundly.

The best in-the-middle solution would be to place a toddler bed in the same room as you. Your toddler can still be close by, but you no longer share the toddler wrestling arena. Giving your child their own sleep space in their own room is the perfect toddler-sized step towards independence.

Big Kid At Last

Use this opportunity as the ultimate buy-in for your toddler. Let them know that they will be getting their own special bed and that they will get to choose what goes on their bed.

Your toddler will likely be excited about covering their new sleep space with their favorite color or character. To make this transition a little easier and prevent your toddler from feeling overwhelmed, make a few bedding selections that they can choose from instead of the whole store being an option.

Let your toddler know that they can also have a special stuffed pal in their bed. If your toddler isn’t already attached to a stuffed animal, this may be a good time to help with keeping your toddler in a separate bed.

You can tell your toddler that this new “lovey” is there to snuggle with them if they wake up in the middle of the night.

Emphasize your excitement about this transition. Toddlers are pros at reading and mimicking our body language, and if they sense any nervousness or apprehension, they may not have a positive mindset about sleeping in their own bed.

Toddlers love being a “big” kid, and this can be the perfect opportunity to make them feel like one.

Same Room, Same Bed

Sometimes you just want to enjoy some downtime in the evenings. You’d like to read a book or catch up on your favorite show. If your toddler is currently co-sleeping and bed-sharing in your family bed, you may not be able to enjoy this precious alone time if you have to help your toddler fall asleep.

If your toddler is going to remain co-sleeping, teaching them to fall asleep on their own can be the trick to getting some well-deserved time for yourself. This process can take a little bit of time, but the investment of time is worth it when you can kiss your toddler goodnight and then press play on the remote. Your

Sleep Training

No matter if your toddler is remaining in the same bed as you, or they’ve made the first step into their big boy or big girl bed, sleep training will help keep them in bed. Since our toddlers are now mobile, it can be difficult for your child to sleep on their own when they can quickly get out of bed and go to you.

When it comes to sleep training toddlers, they will need an approach that supports and motivates them to stay in bed. You can start the process by telling your toddler that you’ll stay in the room with them while they fall asleep, but then you will allow them to be a big boy or big girl and sleep independently. Slowly reduce the amount of time you sit with your toddler, and before you know it, they will be able to fall asleep on their own.

You can also reward your toddler for staying in their bed with the use of a bedtime pass. You can explain to your toddler that you’ll be giving them a pass that they can use to get out of bed one time. This pass can be used to get a drink of water, use the bathroom, or give you one last hug goodnight.

After using the pass, they will no longer be allowed to leave their bed (excluding emergencies!). You can motivate your toddler by letting them know that they can trade in their pass the following day for a special treat, like their favorite piece of candy or some extra time on their tablet.

Take Away

Safe co-sleeping with your toddler can be a wonderful experience for you and your child. You know how fast they grow up, and you want to savor every minute with them while they are little.

As we know, the time does come for them to learn to start being self-sufficient, and bedtime is the way they can take those first steps.

Here at Little Yawn Collective, we know that bedtime can be hard. Although it may take a little bit of time for your toddler to adjust to their new independence, you’ll be there to guide them along the way.

We are also here to help you make bedtime a breeze, so check us out and help your little buddy rest easy.

Sources:

The Safe Sleep Seven | La Leche League International

Perfecting Your Child's Bedtime Routine | Sleep Foundation

Child Development and Early Learning - Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8 | NCBI

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