This looks like a cosy scene! But if co-sleeping isn’t working for you, or if your child has fears or anxieties that come up in a need to be close to you at night, you might want to help them work through those feelings before deciding what sleeping arrangement works for you in the long run.
I’ve blogged about this in detail before in Why I Helped My Daughter Feel Safe To Fall Asleep Alone. Now here is a fun game that I call ‘The Bed Door’ to build closer connections even as you help your child to sleep in their own bed.
You might want to play this with comfy cushions or a mattress on the floor next to your child’s bed.
You might want to snuggle up with your child, and read a few bedtime stories with them in their bed. Start the routine earlier than normal to give you some time to play. Then when it’s time for sleep, tell them that you hope they will stay in their bed, in an inviting playful tone, that actually suggests to them the possibility of getting out of bed.
Then you become the ‘bed door.’ You try to block your chid from getting out of bed, in a playful way. Put up some resistance, but don’t use force and overpower your child. The key is to always let your child win, but feel like it was a bit of a challenge. Go for what brings the giggles. After resisting for a while let your child escape. Act all frustrated and playfully exasperated to get them laughing! And repeat!
Last night we played this and my daughter and I invented all sorts of different powers. I would have the ‘grabber power’ where I would use my hands to grab her, and then she would be so strong that she would escape. Then I would have ‘lock’ power and my arms would lock around her to try and lift her back into the bed. Then the arms would make a ‘mistake’ and accidentally unlock. I would act all annoyed with the arms and say, ”hey! Come on arms, you are meant to lock not unlock!”
My daughter would have ‘strength power’ where she would be strong enough to knock me over. I would have ‘rolling power’ When I would wrap her up in a duvet and try and roll her back in the bed. We had many variations and really got each other laughing with our new power ideas. When you try this, follow where your mind takes you and see what makes your child laugh.
The aim of the game is always to ‘try’ to get your child back into bed in a fun way, and to use resistance but not force. It should be played when you are in a good mood and aren’t feeling time pressed. If you struggle to find the patience, you might need some listening time before trying.
In the end we were too tired to continue and it felt like the right moment to stop. My daughter ‘won’ and fell asleep in my bed. But we have played similar games before which I blogged about here, when she’s then been happy to sleep in her own bed.
I hope you enjoy this game! I’d love to hear how you get on in the comments below.
Have you added giggles to your bedtime routine yet? Here’s why they are key to a good night’s sleep.
For more info about listening time check out How Telling Your Life Story Can Transform Your Parenting
For in-depth help with all your sleep challenges check out Hand in Hand parenting’s self-study online course, Helping Young Children Sleep.