As a child, I do not ever remember not being allowed to sleep in my parents bed. If I wanted to sleep in their bed, I would creep into their bedroom, always approach Dad’s side of the bed as Mum would wake up startled and be a bit scary. But Dad…Dad’s arms were always open and warm and ready to snuggle me back to sleep. I didn’t do it often though and I’m convinced that it’s because I was allowed to at will.
I have heard of parent’s struggling to get their children out of their bed’s at night, indeed, I have a friend who slept in her mother’s bed almost every night of her life and consequently, so does her daughter. Needless to say, neither of them have a love life to write home about but I do believe there is a simple way of dealing with this problem… well, simpler.
My first approach would be the “no big deal”, approach. By this, I mean that I think your children should feel free to come and get a cuddle when they have had a bad dream or they are sick or scared etc. This way, hopefully, the privilege does not get abused too much as it is always around. But what happens when they do abuse it… which, let’s face it, is bound to happen.
I will start by saying that they only reason they get to abuse it is because you have allowed them to do it but we all have those moments when we just concede that it’s easier to give in and that’s when they’ve got you! After about the 5th or 6th night in a row of Jack sleeping in our bed, Chris said gently and firmly that he was to sleep in his own bed and tucked him in there despite his avid protests. He kicked, screamed, hollered and bellowed for about 20 minutes! He cried because he didn’t get his own way, not because he was in pain or lonely. It may not sound like a long time but when you are listening to your child screaming, it’s a lifetime. As difficult as it was to endure, it only lasted 20 minutes and the next night it was if he had never been sleeping in our bed in the first place. Sorted! I can imagine that a more sever case might require you to do this for two or three nights but I do believe that it’s never too late and takes much less time to solve than it did to create.