JT Walters has a Master's of Science in Behavoralism from Florida State University. A former Campaign Manager in a Senate Race.
Out of your bed and into their own!
How to Get Your Child to Sleep In Their Own Bed
When a child sleeps in their parents bed it is not for anyone to judge. No one can say why or what goes on in their lives in which the circumstances arise the child sleeps in bed with the parent. I have heard parents tell other parents off about this topic and I thought how horrible. There are many reasons children end up in bed with their parents which I will review:
1) Breastfeeding. Babies usually eat every 60-90 minutes when being breastfed. If the Mother has any inclination of getting any sleep the baby is usually in the bed.
2) Babies born prematurely. Premature babies have a significantly higher risk of dying of SIDS. Parents usually keep babies in their beds to keep an eye on them if they are at high risk of death from SIDS.
3) Heart monitors. When infants are on heart monitors they are often in bed with the parent so the parent can immediately address the child’s needs when the monitor goes off.
4) Child requires tactile input from parent in order to sleep. These children are usually discovered to have Autism, ADHD or other Sensory Integration Disorders (SID) later. Literally these children press their fingers into the parent to have tactile pressure and the parent reciprocates in their sleep.
5) Cultural values. While I can not name a culture which specifically places a child and parent in bed the Asian culture I believe has the child and grandparent sleeping in the bed together.
Of these reasons the most important factor is not that the child is sleeping in the bed but the transition of the child from the parents bed to sleeping independently. On the list presented here most of the things are time limited. Breastfeeding ends around the 14 month for most children. I believe the rule is if the child is old enough to talk about breast feeding her is through breast feeding. Premature babies our grow their significant risk for SIDS when they are two years of age perhaps because they are no longer infants. The same is true with the heart monitor. It is a time limited device. However the child which requires tactile input has specific needs which can be addressed to allow them to sleep independently. As for the Asian culture they transition the children out of the beds readily so this is not an issue either.
The Weighted Blanket
Children with autism require tactile input in order to sleep. A weight blanket on them help them to sleep independently. They appreciate this pressure and it gives them constant sensory input in order to allow them to sleep. There are blankets commercially available which any parent can buy. Children who are reluctant to sleep in their own beds perhaps would also benefit from a weighted blank to provide comfort as they sleep at night and easy the transition to independent sleeping.
What is the Blanket Like?
It is weighted and heavy but not crushing. It is more than heavy comforters and provides a sense of comfort to the sleeper. They can weigh anywhere between 3-25 lbs. It also has the benefit of not being warm.
They are made of durable material and my son has had his current one for over three years. While no empirical large group study has revealed clinically significant data to prove weight blankets improve sleep. There are individuals who sleep considerably better with this type of blanket in individual sleep studies.
Here is a link how to make a weighted blanket but they are commercially available as well if you do not sew.
Decorating Your Child's Room
A Room Your Child Will Love.
I wanted to update this article because my son now sleeps full time in his bed. He still sneaks in mine during the day but that is okay as long as he sleeps alone at night.
i found that Alex really need visual stimulation to be attracted to his room. Stimulation sounds like the last thing a child needs before going to bed and yet that was the hat trick to getting him to love his bedroom, Alex loves sports cars. He is a total sports car fanatic. So I went on line and ordered him a Ferrari bed set. It came with a duvet and not a comforter which was perfect for the weight blanket. It is a little tricky getting the weight blanket in the duvet but I will include a video below to simplify it.
Then I ordered Ferrari posts. Alex absolutely loves the bed set and the posters. I am not done with his room. I have a bookcase I needs to replace but for the most part this room is now about him. It reflects his interests, age and tastes and not mine. The bright colors and posters really appeal to Alex which made the full transition from my bed to his bed.
The bed set and posters cost less than a hundred dollars.
Easy Trick to Put On Your Duvet
In Warm Climates
One final I have used is is cooling memory foam on the mattress. It drops the temperature in the bed by a few degrees and makes it much more comfortable and easy to sleep. My son loves cooling memory foam and it is relatively in expensive. I think I paid under $100 for it too. Fair warning as the first 24 hours are the worst because the mattress has a strong odor. But after 24 hours the odor dissipates and the bed is cool and comfortable.
Memory Foam Cooling Mattress Topper
Cooling Memory Foam
It really does matter why or how the child ended up in the parents’ bed but that there is a transition plan in place to help that child sleep independently. All parents have to help their children transition from a state of dependence to independence. There are all kinds of tools in the tool box to help make those transitions easier for the child and the parent. A weighted blanket is a tool that may help your child sleep independently And proper decor. As parents we do not judge each other but simply offer advice to help each other because in the end it takes a village to raise a child even if that village is only a cyber village.
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JT Walters (author) from Florida on July 29, 2012:
Parents should never judge each other but help each other atleast that is my opinion.
I ordered my son's through our OT and my son OT reccomends it. I would love to be able to sew and make my sons but I am not talented in that way.
Thanks for reading, commenting and for the wonderful ratings.
Have an awesome day!
Rob Winters on July 29, 2012:
It's a very important point you make about not ascribing blame or worrying too much over how the issue arose, parents have enough to worry about.The reality is that many children both typical and those with special needs, for whatever reason are often late to the develop the self soothing skills needed to go to sleep on their own and sleeping habits are quickly formed and can prove stressful for many parents to manage or change once established.
I also know a number of Occupational Therapists that have found weighted blankets very effective in helping children with Autism in a number of ways (attention,focus,sensory regulation etc.) so there may be a number of benefits to be gained by using weighted blankets on top of assisting with sleep. I'm not sure if the OT's i know have been recommending their use for aiding sleep specifically but i'll certainly raise the issue with them.Up & Interesting & Useful :-)