Ok. So, I set myself up for this one! I have an almost 8 year old and an almost 6 year old who STILL sleep with us. For a little bit we broke the habit. And then all of a sudden it slowly started up again.
We were doing good for a while. We would say our prayers, daddy with my son and I with my daughter. They would sleep and at about 4 in the morning or so, my 7 year old son comes sneaking in. I have actually caught him slowly creeping into our bed careful not to wake us. My daughter is better about staying in her bed, except when she has night terrors (another Topic in itself!! lol).
Well, bedtime is such a pain in the butt, we have just been giving into the easiest way, which is to all go to sleep peacefully and together! AHHH! When we do try to get them into their beds, they give us the guilt trip thing..."You don't love us, you hate us.." or "I love to cuddle with you. You are the best mom/dad". And then on and on with things that tear at your heart strings.
Don't get me wrong, I have always been one to enjoy the nightime routine of cuddling ... in THEIR beds until they are aleep. We talk about our days, say our prayers, etc. But I am getting to the point where I am not getting well enough sleep when they come into our rooms. And I know they aren't sleeping as well as they could in their own beds without being cramped..who knows maybe they are sleeping fine!! lol!
I need to advice on how to make bedtime more enjoyable for all involved. And how to "motivate" (or bribe) them to STAY in their beds until morning. It's getting rediculous! HELP!
If finances allow, how about letting the kids redecorate their "Big Kid Rooms". It helped with my daughter when we were transitioning her from my bed to her own to let her pick out curtains, bedding, hang up her choice of posters, etc. Also make a huge deal out of it every time they stay in their rooms for even a little while at night "You Slept In your own Room Until 4!!!! Only a couple more hours To Go!! Great Job!!" Praise from a parent can go even further than bribes so to speak. But if bribing becomes necessary, institute a reward chart. Remember to start out slowly and not expect them to stay in their beds the whole night all at once. But when they finally do, take them out for a special dinner or something similar. Good Luck, I know this isn't always easy!!!
Call me crazy, but I would put them in their beds and not worry about it. Yes, children say awful things when they don't get their way, but they only do it because they have learned that they can manipulate you in such a way. It is human nature (even for very little humans) to try to get your way. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you wanting your bed back. Your children will not be happy about the change. They will cry. Probably for extended periods of time for the first few days. But they will live through it and be better for it. I would explain to them that it is time for them to sleep in their beds, and that that is what is going to happen. Then put them in bed and stick to your guns. When I did this with my son (when he was 13 months old) he cried for 20 minutes the first night, but had stopped crying about it completely at the end of the week. I would think that it would be easier with children that are actually old enough to understand what is happening. Hearing your children cry is distressing, but I promise it will get better. Good luck.
I understand what you're going through. We have four children; almost eleven, seven, six, and 15 months. Our six and seven year old sons have slept with us always...it never really bothered me until I was pregnant and not getting around well. Its uncomfortable enough at the end of pregnancy without having to get out of your own bed because you don't fit in it. I felt like an outcast at first...saying goodnight and going to the other bedroom! But since then its been a slow transition. My husband and I put a mattress on the floor of our room, where the boys slept for a while. Just recently, we got new bunk beds for their room. They were really excited about them and surprised us by sleeping there soundly the first night.. Now, they want us to sleep with them in their new beds or vice versa. I think each night they are getting more used to it, and I always remind myself that there will come a day (sooner than I think!) that they won't want to cuddle!
I'd probably just sit them down and explain WHY then lay down the new rules. You're not kicking them out because you don't like them...it's just Mommy and Daddy's space. They're going to have their own space. And it's okay to cuddle during movie time or during prayers, but when it's time for bed, it's to bed they go. The two books that I can think of off the bat that address this sort of thing are:
"Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child", Marc Weissbluth
"How to Get the Best From Your Children", Jo Frost (Supernanny)
Good luck to you!
We have now 4 year old who slept in our room until we moved 2 weeks ago. Although she didnt sleep in our bed (Most nights), her toddler bed was hugged up next to ours. Our martial life did suffer, as obviously you cant exactly do the deed with baby in the room (Unless you want to spend some time in prison for child abuse).
We decided that when we moved that would be it. We let her choose her own room color (Bright Yellow) and big girl bed set. We dont know if this did the trick or not, but we have been in the house for 2 weeks and havent had a night time visitor yet. When she does awaken, we walk her back to her room or go to her bedside.
In getting tips from other people,we have the following suggestions:
1. When they come into the room, get out of bed (I know..AHHH!) and walk them back to thier room. After a few minutes of snuggle bug in thier bed, they should be fast asleep.
2. Let them choose a new nightlight, or redecorate their room, make it a BIG deal.
3. Place a mattress under your bed, such a crib mattress or a foam mattress and tell them if they come into your room, they should sleep on that, rather than in your bed. This works well when they are sick too!
4. Reward, Reward, Reward.....Give them a quarter, penny, nickel, whatever. When they have earned enough "Sleeping in your room" points, reward them with a special activity, such as alone time with you or your husband, a trip to the ice cream store, the park, a bike ride, etc. If one earns the reward before another, this should make the other one want to achieve the prize. Remember, both do not get rewarded for one's actions. Competition can work in your favor sometimes!
Oh I know exactly what your going through! I am secretly glad that I'm not the only one! My kids are 5 and 8 and still come to my room. Rarely can I get them to stay in their own beds. I love hearing all these ideas. We've tried the redecorating the rooms, I've even tried the bribing and it hasn't worked either. Keep those good tips coming
So, we made the chart thing..It worked for about 3 days. THEN.. my kids were playing at their friends house and we had a situation! We had a major regression. The friends they were playing with next door are a year older than my oldest Trae. Come to find out they put on scary movies ("Chuckie's Seed, and Chainsaw "Master"- Massacre- as the kids put it.) So needless to say the 3 days we did well were out the window and even had a hard time for the rest of the week to get them to sleep -even in our bed. My daughter isn't old enough to say to them (or know to say to them), Please turn that off, and my son isn't a very how do you say strong enough in character yet to stick up for himself ( atleast in that situation yet). I mean if he was being hurt or picked on it would be a different story. AHHH! BAck to square one. Needless to say, they have not played at that house since. Another parent of a child that was there also is keeping her daughter from playing there.
What a mess! But I wanted to let you know I appreciate the advice. I am just going to be more intune with little steps coming in my room and actually getting up and walking them back.
Here's what we have tried in the past and has not worked..
Decorating to their desire
charts with end of the week incentives
nice story at bedtime
literally laying there before sleep and having them actually "pick out their dreams"!
benedryl ( just kidding, sorta)
But I will pull out the old crib mattress and see where that leads me. Yeah, you would think that because they are older it would be easier to reason with them, or let them be in there room to "cry it out". I have no problem letting kids and babies crying it out. I have aquired the ability to tune things out, unless it sounds like a necessary or emergent cry. But they have the ability to keep coming out of there rooms over and over. I can't very well lock them in with some water and a toilet...otherwise you will see me on Dr. Phil, lol. And I am not against spanking when necessary, but this is kinda a gray area on whether its appropriate.
Well, sorry about the LONG drawn out story!
Just wanted to let you know what was happening!
I bet if the movies hadn't taken place they'd be doing great with just you putting your foot down. But it is definitely hard to make them stay when you know they are terrified! I remember watching Nightmare on Elm St. when I was 9. My aunt and uncle weren't home and my cousin and I thought we were big stuff. Freddie Krueger was in my closet for the next 2 weeks at least. I never went to my parents' room, I think probably b/c they didn't know we had watched it and we knew we weren't supposed to! LOL But I still dont' like those movies! and I remember how scared I was almost 20 years ago.
I know that's not offering any advice, but good luck to you when you are able to try it again soon!