My goddaughter, who just turned 3, sleeps in the same room as her mother. This is due to simple logistics, they don't have any more bedrooms available to put the child into yet so there is no where else for her to sleep except with mom or on the living room couch. My goddaughters grandmother ended up having to move in with them and 'gaga' is now using the room originally intended for the girls bedroom.

My friend is now struggling with the fact that my goddaughter believes she has to go to sleep with mom, and won't go to sleep on her own if mom isn't with her. When her mom is with her my goddaughter goes to sleep without much difficulty. She doesn't generally fight sleep, in fact she is very good about telling us when she is tired and needs to sleep and seek out somewhere to lie down. However, she thinks she needs mom (or gaga, or me, some adult) with her to sleep, which is a problem since if her mom isn't ready for bed when my goddaughter is my goddaughter will try to stay up until mom is ready, even when tired. She will even ask her mom to come to bed so she can sleep when really tired. Of course he mom would prefer being able to stay up after her daughter goes to bed so she can do things without toddlers getting in the way.

I'm looking for ways she can be transitioned to putting herself to sleep without her mom being present. If she had her own room this would be easier, but the need to share the bed with the daughter makes it harder to set up reliable bedtime routines, especially since my goddaughter knows if she holds out long enough mom will end up in bed with her.

My goddaughter also has a 2 year old sister that goes to sleep before her and has a crib in Mom's room. This means they can't try the cry it out approach without the 3 year old waking the 2 year old up.

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    My 2 y.o. needs me to fall asleep, like you describe. After she is asleep, I get up and go about my own things for a while longer.
    – iulia
    Dec 8, 2018 at 15:55

1 Answer 1


but the need to share the bed with the daughter makes it harder...

Does she need to share the bed?

This may not be possible, but if space is available, have the child sleep somewhere other than the bed. This actually works out better for both parties.

The "family bedroom" idea is that in many cultures, families share one bedroom (if not one bed, but that too, when necessary or desired.) Adults can keep their schedules, and kids theirs.

My suggestion is to have Mom buy a length of high quality foam (this is available at fabric stores; make sure it's formaldehyde free/etc.) or a child sized mattress. Place it on the floor in an out of the way place in the room (i.e. not right by the bed.) The foot of the bed is fine, but further is better.

Then follow all the usual bedtime routines, whatever they are: bath time, tooth-brushing time, puts child in bed, sits next to her for story time, lullaby time whatever. Then mom tucks her in, kisses child goodnight, and leaves.

The child will probably have a problem with this initially, but it does work for many people. The upsides are many, and the downsides are few.

  • I think the bedroom is cluttered enough that they probably couldn't fit another bed in there. Not without removing a bit of furniture that I doubt they will be willing to remove.
    – dsollen
    Dec 6, 2018 at 22:28
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    One has to make the right choices based on needs. If it's not possible, it's not possible. In that case, I have no wisdom to offer. Dec 6, 2018 at 22:29
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    Would they be able to rearrange the furniture? Or, could the two children share the bed and instead of having a crib, switch that (temporarily) to an inflatable twin for "Mom" to crash on?
    – elbrant
    Dec 7, 2018 at 3:00

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