Middle-of-the-Night Visitor in your Bed? Part 1

Posted by in No-Cry Sleep

Does your child fall asleep in his own bed, but climb into your bed in the middle of the night? What should you do? Let’s first take a closer look at what’s happening.

Aiden & Daddy

Just like most parenting situations, there is no one right answer to this question, because the answer is different for every family. And in a minute, I’ll help you figure out your right answer. To begin with, rest assured that you are not alone. It’s very common for young children to search out their parents when they wake in the night, and it’s very common for parents to respond by welcoming their little traveler into their bed, or lying with him in his own.


There are many gentle ways to encourage your child to stay in his bed all night, but before I introduce those ideas it’s best if you evaluate your situation. Think about your answers to these questions:

  • Are you, your partner and your child all getting a good night’s sleep?
  • If no one else in the world knew or cared about what you’re doing would you happy with the routine that you have now?
  • Are your child’s visits to your bed interfering with your level of intimacy between the two of you, or are you still finding plenty of time to meet each other’s needs for physical closeness?
  • Are you thinking of making a change because you want a change and because it’s right for your family – or to appease a friend, relative or someone else?


The first step is to take a day or so to ponder these questions and to examine your real feelings about the situation. Often frustration is borne out of not taking the time to identify what you really feel, and not having a clear goal and purpose to your actions.


Don’t send mixed messages

If you’ve shared your bed with your cuddly child, whether from birth, or just recently, I can almost guarantee that that even though you’ve decided to move her out, there is a little part of you that doesn’t want to let her go. This is natural, given the preciousness of the experience of sharing your bed with your child. However, if you really do want your child to sleep in her own bed, you’ll need to keep these emotions in check.


Understand too, that this isn’t an all or nothing state of affairs. It isn’t always necessary to have a 100% rule against children in your bed – you may want to find a compromise that fits your unique family situation, such as allowing morning snuggles, post-nightmare visits, or pajama parties on the weekends.


It is OK to make a change you know!

For those of you who are still with me – those of you who have decided that it’s time to move your little cuddler out of your bed and say goodbye to those nighttime pokes from little elbows and toes – let me reassure you that it’s perfectly fine to make this change. There is no one right age or time or situation to adhere to, it’s just a matter of parental choice: and if you’re ready, you’re ready. Your child is obviously well loved and secure, and those feelings won’t change when you use a sensitive, loving method to keep her sleeping in her own bed all night long.


Next week’s post will provide an overview of ideas from The No-Cry Sleep Solution for Toddlers & Preschoolers.