My son is 2 years old and he sleeps with us in our bed. We have tried every possible way of getting him to leave our bed at night, and I'm getting nervous about him growing out of it. My wife and I no longer embrace before sleep, have sex problems, and we have no privacy in our bed.

He sleeps in between us and I'm usually leaning against the wall to give him more space since he likes to sleep with his feet towards me and his head towards my wife. We've tried placing him into his bed after he falls asleep but he wakes up a couple minutes (hours) later and comes to our bed to sleep and he does that every time we put him into his bed after he's fallen asleep. Looks like he somehow feels our absence... We've tried laying in his bed with him but he refuses to fall asleep in it, and even goes so far as to fight his sleepiness.

We've tried moving to the floor to see if he will sleep on our bed alone (which he does), but we don't want to sleep on the floor. His bed is fine for a child his age, and has photos and images of animals and other stuff around it.

How can we get our son to stop sleeping in our bed?

Edit: We have only one room that is 14 square meters and is divided by a big wardrobe. So his bed is in our room or maybe our bed is in his room, not sure whose room it is anymore.

  • 2
    Related: parenting.stackexchange.com/questions/21623/… – A E Dec 28 '16 at 17:56
  • Maybe his bed is cold? If you are in your bed and warming it up, then that's more appealing than climbing into his own cold bed. Does he sleep in your bed when you're not there? What's the climate like where you live? – user19750 Dec 29 '16 at 12:29
  • @stanri It isn't. I've slept in it. Yes he does sleep in our bed when we aren't beside him but only after he's fallen asleep. The climate is great. It's Krasnodar.. now in winter it's -5 outside and ~+26-30 in the room. – SovereignSun Dec 29 '16 at 12:51
  • He still doesn't want to sleep apart! – SovereignSun Jan 18 '17 at 9:36
  • Not for OP, but for future readers - if the child never sleeps in your bed, this isn't a problem. My children always slept in their own room, from the night they were brought home from the hospital, so occasionally sleeping in our bed was for when they were especially sad or as as special treat, – pojo-guy Mar 23 '17 at 2:22
up vote 44 down vote accepted

Children have all kinds of reasons for feeling more comfortable in the presence of their parents at night. I can respect that. But you need your sleep and your time with your wife.

One option people rarely mention is putting the kid to bed in their parents' room. After months of struggling with our (2.5 year old) second child, I bought a thick foam rubber pad at a fabric store, covered it with sheets, blankets and a pillow and put it on the floor of our bedroom against a wall. That stopped a world of pain and suffering on all of our parts. No more crying in the middle of the night, trying to settle them back into their beds just to start the whole process again. And no sleeping in our bed.

Bedtime routine was in the big bed. Reading, cuddling, etc. then time to move to their beds. No muss, no fuss, no cajoling, no asking for water, etc,

Sex? There were other empty bedrooms; never in front of the kids. But cuddling and talking in a low voice- or even reading, for that matter - was not a problem.

Sometimes we had two mattresses on the floor depending on the ages of the children. But eventually they all preferred to move into their own bedrooms. If they had a bad dream or other reason (e.g. bad thunderstorm), there was usually a spare on the floor.

We called it the family bedroom. As I said, I haven't seen it proposed here before. But it was so much easier for everyone involved at our house.

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    I like this idea very much. My brother tried it and it did not work at all with his daughter, but four years later, it did with their son. The daughter decided all on her own and it was pretty much the time that her baby brother woke her for feeding time! – WRX Dec 28 '16 at 17:54
  • Unfortunately we tried that too and he would sleep with us only. He somehow feels uncomfy if we aren't beside him. – SovereignSun Dec 29 '16 at 6:02
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    @SoverignSun - "We've tried moving to the floor to see if he will sleep on our bed alone (which he does), but we don't want to sleep on the floor." From your answer, it seems that the child can sleep without you. If this is true, I'd give it another shot. – anongoodnurse Dec 29 '16 at 17:36
  • @anongoodnurse He does sleep alone but only in our bed and nowhere else. By the way when we sleep at our parents' houses he sleeps only with us and only in the bed we sleep in. – SovereignSun Dec 31 '16 at 8:17

Many people around the world sleep with their children. I am not saying you should, but that children are not as disturbed as you are by sex. They seem to ignore it or sleep through it. The point is to wait until they are asleep, and perhaps don't go out of your way to be noisy.

However, the problem you want to solve is to get your child to sleep in his own bed. There are dozens of books on sleep and as it is a personal preference, you might try going to the library and reading expert opinions, until you find something you are comfortable with doing. Then go buy that book and follow it.

There are also books for kids that help them to fall asleep. here's one

At two it is still difficult to reason with your child. He doesn't understand. You need to sleep as I assume that one or both of you work. Don't start anything on any night where sleep is important to you. Once you start making a demand you have to follow through, even if that means no sleep for you.

I think I might try putting the child in his own bed, reading with him and sleeping in the same room while the other parent sleeps in their own room. Take turns with your spouse but make sure you both follow the exact same routine. The child never leaves his room and one of you stays until the routine that he sleeps in that room is established. He might crawl into sleep with you, that is not the first issue. On a weekend or holiday when you do not have to sleep, keep returning him to his bed and stay quiet and calm. "This is where you sleep. I am right here. I love you." You may have to repeat this for many days or weeks. Once you feel the place to sleep is established and when you do not need sleep, move the floor mattress into the hallway outside of his room. You are still there. But not in his room. If he falls asleep on the floor -- it's fine, it will not harm him. If he opens the door, you calmly and quietly put him to bed. "This is where you sleep. I am right here. I love you." As he ages and finds that you are right there, I think he will start to prefer his own room. Once both parents have returned to your bed, if your child arrives, you must say something like, "This is where Mother and Father sleep. This is our bed." Gently carry him to his own bed. "This is where you sleep. I am right here. I love you."

You could consider once there has been a successful night of him staying in his room, giving your child a reward for staying in his own bed. This is a time or activity reward, no food or toys or anything that costs money. Use praise not anger. It is not a terrible thing that your child wants to be close to you. You will train him to be more independent, but not by forcing the issue. Gentle loving with a firm hand is the best recipe, imo.

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    Sleeping in the same bed with a small child has its caveats that people should be aware of though. – Daerdemandt Dec 29 '16 at 1:36

Our daughter is three years old now and has slept in our bed for about two and a half years. Even now, when she wakes up in the middle of the night, she continues her night at our bed. And like yours, she likes to lay with her head at here mom's and her feet in my back.. (terrible ;) )

We moved her to her own room and bed about a year ago. Telling her that she is growing up and needs to sleep in her own bed. Usually that meant lying with her, in her own bed until she slept. And then in the middle of the night she woke up, crying and then we had to get her. That changed slowly. Sometimes she slept a whole night, sometimes she woke up crying, somethings we could put her back to sleep in her own bed and sometimes we woke up in the morning to find her sleeping between us. She was even proud that she did that without waking us up.

One day we decided that she had to put herself to sleep. Laying with her until she slept usually meant that we fell asleep as well.. and waking up halfway during the evening is not good for your own bedtime (and for everything you want to do in the evening). That took a couple of weeks of her crying, getting out of bed etc etc. But slowly she realized this was then new deal. Now most of the times she sleeps very fast, on her own, in her own bed. Yes, sometimes she wakes up and comes to our bedroom in the middle of the night, but that doesn't matter.

Point is, tell him what you expect from him and why. And keep telling him that. It will take some time, but if you persist you will get your kid to sleep in his own bed. As others have written, your bed is his secure place and he needs to learn that his bed and your entire house is secure as well. We told our daughter that even though she could not sleep in our bed anymore, we are still close. We do still love her and we come to her when she needs us and she can come to us when something is wrong. We proved it by responding to the babyphone asap and even by testing it with her. And we made exceptions. Once a week she could sleep in our bed and her mom would stay with her until she slept.

I hope you find your method of creating this big change in your son's live.

Our first son had a mattress on the floor in his room. We would do bedtime routines in his room, and when he was asleep, we went to our bedroom. This gave us the privacy we needed. At some point in the night, he would wake up and come to our bed. He was still doing this when he was almost 5 yrs. old and his brother was born. So then, both boys shared a bedroom. The same routines were done in their room at night, and then eventually, both boys ended up in our bed during the night. Each boy pretty much grew out of it at about 6 years old. I believe having their needs met when they were little helped them feel secure, and they have grown into very loving, well-adjusted adults today.

Two years is no age to get afraid of not being able to weaning your child out of your bed.

Me and my wife no longer embrace before sleep, have sex problems, and we have no privacy in our bed.

Embracing should be possible even with the child in the same bed. Privacy? Frankly, what do you need to keep private from your two year old child? You can pretty much include him in everything aside from sex, no?

You can't have sex with him there, true. But you said he sleeps without you, so put him to bed and then go outside of the room for some more adventurous positions...

Looks like he somehow feels are absence

It sure does look that way!

His bed is fine for a child his age, and has photos and images of animals and other stuff around it.

Maybe they frighten him. Maybe he needs a companion in bed (stuffed animal, puppet etc.). Maybe it's the sounds/lightning in the room. Maybe it's a memory of being put to bed once when he was afraid and you leaving the room. Maybe he simply needs you.

In my opinion, giving your child trust that you are always there for him is more important at that age then him being able to sleep alone. If this creates a problem for him, then I would err on the side of the first.

Read The Ferber Book cover to cover. It not only solved my son's sleep problems, if solved my sleep problems too. Many parents focus entirely on the "cry it out advice" which isn't quite fair; it is just a few pages in a full length book. The idea is to develop good sleep habits for a lifetime.

In the book, he discusses the importance of teaching children to sleep on their own; it is a skill that must be learned.

The important idea is that all of us awaken regularly all night long; most of us are able to put ourselves back asleep without recalling it. He speaks at length about both adult and child sleep cycles, and about how to build healthy sleep habits.

I suggest that it is critically important that your son acquires the skill to sleep on his own; he will be using it literally everyday for the next ~80 years.

It has been quite a while since I read it; but there is a chapter on scheduling as a tool to teach good sleep habits, and about what to expect for each age, a chapter about diet and sleeping, and sleeping independently. There is information about teenager sleeping too, and development.

Because we focused heavily on getting our son to sleep on his own when he was 8 months old, I clearly remember Ferber's advice for an infant. The parts about older children are a bit more foggy, unfortunately.

What worked for me :

Tell him 10 days in advance that in 10 days, he will sleep in his own bed. Each day, remind him the number of days left.

Day 1 : in 10 days Day 2 : in 9 days ... Day 9 : tomorrow Day 10 : he went to sleep in his bed with no fuss as he had plenty of time to prepare mentally for it.

In my opinion first of all talk to the child, two years old child can already understand enough. Explain to him that now he grew up so as an adult, he has his own bed and own room. Ask him why he likes parents bed? and how to make him comfortable in the new bed?. For example: do you like because we are there all night? - Yes/no. Maybe you're afraid of monsters who live in the dark? - Yes/no. Maybe you get cold at night? - Yes/no. May be your are thinking that is your bed? May be your are thinking that people can sleep only here? - Find reason. Then offer solutions: If we put your bed in our room to let you get used to it, and then put it in your room will it be alright? - Yes/no. If we sit with you until you fall asleep, you'll be able to get used to? - Yes/no. If the ideas will end ask the child: Kolya - well, I don't know what to do, to grow up and to become like mom and dad, you have to start sleeping in that bed, help us, what to do?

Also in around 3 years the period called "i can do it by my self" will start, it might help you. Usually process of separation starts around 2,5 years old. (it dosnt meen he will stop sleeping with you by his own)

But any way, talk to your child - try to understand him, and explain to him, and find the solution of problem together with him.

Pretty plain and simple since YOU are the parent.

Hey kid, this is my bed. Over there, is your bed. End of story, good night now.

Yes I do have kids.

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    The OP stated he fights sleep when put in his own bed, so the situation clearly isn't quite that simple. Without followup advice on how "end of story" works, this is a pretty unhelpful answer. – Acire Dec 30 '16 at 18:24
  • You really think that's that simple? – SovereignSun Dec 31 '16 at 8:13
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    Stop giving kids too many options and alternatives. Be a parent. Your bed, their bed. Yes it's that simple. It may have to be done multiple times in a night, or even over multiple nights. But it's that simple. Or you can let your kid decide... I guess that's up to the parent. – blaze_125 Jan 1 '17 at 18:59
  • "End of story" implies the kid is Sent back to his/her bed immediately, with no further discussion nor argumentation. – blaze_125 Jan 1 '17 at 19:06

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