Playroom or sanctuary? Who calls the shots in your bedroom?

What starts out as a restorative night’s sleep can quickly turn into a family affair if you’re lenient about who gets to sleep in your bed. If you want to stop chewing on a toddler’s elbow or dangling over the edge of bed, it’s time to reclaim the sanctuary of your bedroom.

Consistency is key to establishing limits with the kids, so all adults have to commit to a united front over this one. The little ones won’t get the message if one of you softens and you’ll have to start the whole process over again.

Cute family sleeping together in bed

So, how do you regain control over your bedroom? Here is a selection of ideas to get you started:

Stay close

If your child is comfortable sleeping in your bed. For the first few nights in their own bed, be in the room with them as they fall asleep and reassure them that you will check on them during the night. Follow through until they start falling asleep earlier and then move on to the next suggestion.

Walk them back

If they come into your room and be as neutral as possible if they whine. Keep walking them back and don’t give in to tantrums. Tuck them in and go back to bed. Now, at first they may need re-directing many times before the truth sinks in, so be prepared for a some disturbed nights. Whatever you do, don’t lose your temper or give in.

Reward them

For sleeping in their own bed. Depending on their age, this could be as simple as a sticker chart in the kitchen that records their progress. Reward them for the first night and then first four nights and then a week, etc.

Allow for one freebie per night 

They can get you up once in the night for a drink or comfort, but only once. Again, reward them for following this plan.

Make the bedroom yours

By clearing out the toys and cleaning up any mess. Redecorate if it makes sense, so that the space is clearly an adult-only room. Any incursions are immediately dealt with. You may even offer to redecorate the kids’ rooms so that they’re even more comfortable and fun for them. Be unswerving about keeping your space tidy and organized and then it will be easier to have them do the same.

Get a new mattress

That suits you and your partner. Consult the best choices for a mattress to find one that is both snug and supportive. Claim your bed as adult territory and don’t let the children play on the bed or in the room even if they beg. Of course, a new mattress invites trampoline activities as soon as it’s in place – if you can afford it, you could get the kids a new bed to commemorate their progress in staying in their own room.

Bedtime should be your time to recuperate and re-energize for the next day. It’s hard to do this if you’ve spent the night looking after the kids, who will probably nap tomorrow. So, do what you can to instill the idea that your space is your sanctuary, not a playroom.


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