Roughhousing Inspiration To Help Your Child Sleep In Their Own Bed


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

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Diary of an imperfect mum

14 thoughts on “Roughhousing Inspiration To Help Your Child Sleep In Their Own Bed

  1. This is such a great idea. My little guy is obviously only small and still in his cot but this looks like a good way to have some fun before bed as well as trying to encourage them to stay in their own bed. I always think bedtime is a nice time of day with kids (if you can avoid it being stressful!) to really connect with them. #BloggerClubUK

    1. yes, they get really giggly before bed, and it’s actually nature’s way of helping them sleep. I used to do all sorts of fun chase games with my daughter at bedtime when she was little. thanks for reading 🙂

  2. My little man is still a little young to play this but he has got a bit more playful at bed time recently, I’ve been letting him have a play before trying to get him to sleep, it’s been a bit more successful. Thanks for linking to #abrandnewday

    1. That’s great. When my daughter as little I literally giggled her to sleep one night! I wish I remembered what we did but it involved some chase games and eventually she just got so tired she closed her eyes! Not sustainable every night but fun once in a while.

      1. That sound cute! I’ve had him falling asleep over lunch a few times 😀

    1. yes it’s perfect for excess energy! Laughter contains melatonin a hormone that helps us fall asleep, so it actually helps kids sleep.

  3. This is a great idea! I’m nervous for when we go to a toddler bed. But I will have to try this if it goes poorly. We’ve been trying to get into more of a routine lately to help. Thanks for sharing! #abrandnewday

    1. Hi Sarah, it’s a great game for doing when he moves to a toddler bed. After kids get lots of time playing getting out of the bed, the novelty wears off, and they feel safe and connected enough to sleep well. Good luck!

  4. I love your posts! Always so helpful! My children are older now but my son at 12 still struggles with sleeping on his own – I wish I’d played more fun games like this. I don’t ever make it an issue as I can see he is generally scared of going to sleep on his own – I think as I’m writing this I need to google sleep problems in 12 year old boys – we keep thinking he will just grow out of it – and of course he will but I didn’t know it would take this long. Thank you for sharing #ablogginggoodtime

  5. Hi Justsayingum, thanks for your lovely comment! You can play this game with a 12 year old. It might look a little different though. Lots of the Hand in Hand parenting approach works with older kids too. If you need any tips feel free to message me. My daughter is also not so keen to fall asleep on her own, but I wrote this piece about helping her and listening to her feelings.

  6. We love a bit of roughhousing before bed, my 1 year old always sleeps better if he’s had a good giggle at bedtime! #ablogginggoodtime

  7. This is a great idea for a game, we have been really lucky with Monkey and he’s pretty good at staying in his own bed. Kipper has his Moses basket but at 6 weeks co sleeping while feeding is sometimes easier … 😉 thanks for sharing this with #BloggerClubUK hope to see you again this week X

  8. I found this really interesting. My daughter is 10 months and I am a single parent. I couldnt bear the cries so I do infact rock her to sleep which I am sure people will say is terrible but hey ho. I also find a calm atmosphere does not really help her before… instead we tend to roll round the room (her current chosen mode of transport) laughing and giggling then head off to have our loud splashy bath, relaxing massage and a few tickles too. Im sure im doing it all wrong – but its whatever works for you isnt it?

    Thanks for linking to #ablogginggoodtime

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