Get Back to Bed

How often has your child gotten out of his or her bed claiming to be afraid of the dark?  In their early toddler years, children begin to develop much more vivid fears and insecurities.  Most of this stems from the anxiety of not wanting to be separated from his or her parents.   At the end of a long day of activities, a child already has enough trouble winding down.  Then when placed in a dark room – alone! – it is no wonder that a child becomes a bit anxious at the thought that they are being left by themselves and that their parent may never return. 

At this stage, a lot of reassurance will go a long way.  But how exactly should this play out and where?  Many insist that children should sleep in their own beds so that they may master separating from their parents.  On the flip side, there are others who believe that children should sleep with their parents so that they may feel reassured and safe.

Regardless of your philosophy, there will come a point in time when your child should definitely sleep through the night in his or her own bed.  You can begin preparing your child for this event by discussing it with him or her and arranging it together.  Your child should be involved in planning this event, since it will be an important milestone that shows that he or she is a big boy or girl.   You can read special books together on this topic and plan to have comforting stuffed animals or blankets nearby.  When the big day (or night!) comes, make sure that you consistently reassure your little one that you are nearby.  Even if they get out of bed, simply lead them back, tuck them in again and reassure them that you are close by.  Doing this consistently while remaining firm and reassuring is the key to getting your child to go back to bed and stay there.

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