Co-sleeping with parents is a common practice. The child feels calm and safe. Mom does not need to get up once again to feed him. Time passes, the baby grows and there is a need to “relocate” to his bed. The older the child becomes, the more difficult it is to “evict” him from the parental bed.
It is not worth delaying the separation process, because over time the problem only worsens. Psychotherapists say that children who sleep with their parents for a long time grow up notorious and indecisive.
Why does the child not want to move to the crib
A toddler who is used to sleeping with his parents may throw tantrums and refuse to sleep in the crib. He perceives his parents’ bed as his territory and does not understand why it is necessary to change the familiar atmosphere.
It is important for parents not to change their minds, not to retreat, and not to be hysterical. Be patient and consistent, otherwise, all their efforts will be in vain. There are various reasons why a child refuses to sleep separately. Parents need to find out why the baby refuses to sleep in the crib.
Habit – The child gets used to the fact that his mother is sleeping next to him, and feels her warmth.
Discomfort – uncomfortable pillow, temperature violation, a lot of light.
Fear and anxiety -Near the mother, the child feels safe.
Cold – The baby in the crib opens up and wakes up from the cold.
15 Ways How to put a baby to sleep in a crib
Parents should not hope that the baby slept in bed with them for a long time and one day he will move into his crib. This option is possible, but many parents are faced with tantrums, screaming, frequent nighttime awakenings, and attempts to get back into their bed.
Use a side crib that can be placed next to the parent’s bed. Every day the bed needs to be moved a little. Subsequently, it can be moved to another corner or even to another room.
We offer practical tips that will facilitate the process of “moving” to the crib.
1. Daily regime
The child needs to be put to sleep at the same time, then he will get enough sleep and feel cheerful. In the evening, it is better to limit the time of using gadgets and active games.
Choose to read his favorite fairy tales and quiet games (puzzles, cubes). The actions of the baby should be close to the crib. Maybe a game with the code name “Good night”: a child with mom or dad puts all the toys in place.
Before bed, do not offer your baby new toys or tell new stories.
Parents need to try to keep the regimen even on weekends or while traveling, and the child will quickly get used to it. This method has a drawback: it is not always possible to comply with the selected mode.
2. The ritual of going to bed
Simple but repetitive actions will allow the child to gradually calm down and relieve daytime stress. They will help to feel comfortable and safe where he will sleep. The sleep of the baby will be stronger and the number of night awakenings will be much less.
Rituals that have two or three stages are effective. Maybe a bath in warm water with foam, a relaxing massage, and a quiet time in the crib. Tell a story or sing a lullaby before bed. It is necessary to adhere to the chosen algorithm of actions, and after a few days, you can see that the child has formed a certain association between the evening routine and falling asleep.
3. Temperature and humidity in the children’s room
The optimal temperature in the room where the baby sleeps is 18-21 degrees Celsius. If the baby does not sleep well, often wakes up, and screams – you need to check if he is hot. A child who is constantly warmly dressed is more likely to catch a cold from the slightest draft than one who is accustomed to being in a cool room.
The optimum humidity for a child’s room is between 50-70%. This indicator may change with the change of the season: in summer it is higher and at the beginning of the heating season it is lower. The mucous membrane in the baby’s nose dries up due to low humidity. Crusts form on it, breathing becomes more difficult, and sleep worsens.
4. Appropriate lighting
Melatonin is produced at night. Children fall asleep easily thanks to him. Buy a night light if your child is afraid to fall asleep in the dark. It will light up the room.
Manufacturers offer different lamps and projectors that will make the process calm, comfortable, and interesting. Do not turn on bright lights if the child wakes up at night. So the regime will be violated and it will be more difficult to lay the baby.
5. White noise
Its feature is a combination of sounds of different frequencies and intensities: a lullaby without words, the sound of water, the hiss of a radio, the sounds of nature, the clock.
The baby was in a cozy mother’s belly for nine months but constantly heard sounds from the outside in the background. White noise reminds of this time and helps to relax. The monotony and cyclical repetition of sounds have a calming effect on the child’s nervous system.
Children like monotonous noise without meaningful load. White noise can be turned on after the baby has been put to bed. The sounds should not be very loud so as not to wake the sleeping child. Using white noise can continue sleep if he wakes up frequently.
6. Sleep toy
Just moving the baby to the crib is not the solution to the problem. The child perceives his mother as a protector without whom he does not sleep. The baby needs to be taught that in the crib his sleep will be protected by a toy – a doll, a bear, or a mouse.
It should be washed regularly with a hypoallergenic product because soft toys accumulate dust. You can choose a toy without lint.
The baby should be reminded that he is not alone in the crib. He has a protector who will sleep next to him. Parents will come to visit him when the child wakes up. The toy can also be used for daytime sleep to better prepare the baby for a night without a mom.
7. The mood of the child
You need to put the baby to bed when he is in a good mood. Do not upset and scold him before going to bed. The baby’s crib will be associated with crying and a bad mood in this case.
No need to force the baby to sleep in the crib or scream when he refuses. It is better to prepare the child for “resettlement” gradually. You should not send to the crib as a punishment for bad behavior, because this will provoke the development of negative associations. It is better to explain that moving into a crib is for comfort and safety and that you still love him.
8. Clear rules
It is necessary to establish clear rules and not violate them under any circumstances. They can be discussed with the child on the eve of the first night in his bed. If the child does not feel well or is ill, he can be allowed to lie down in the evening with his parents. But he must sleep in his bed.
Under no circumstances should you break this rule. Take care of clear boundaries between the space of parents and the child from the very beginning.
Falling asleep without a mother is stressful for a baby. Parents should be prepared that after falling asleep the child may wake up, scream, or cry. If they move the child back to their bed, he will get his bearings and use this tactic all the time. It is better to try to calm the baby in the crib and bring him back to sleep.
9. Right moment
Before moving the baby to the crib, it is worth making sure that there are no other major changes in his life. Not a good time when the child is sick or just started going to kindergarten.
You should not “move” the baby to the crib when he is teething or planning to end breastfeeding. All these factors significantly increase the level of stress.
It is not necessary to resettle the eldest child immediately after the birth of a baby in the family. This can provoke jealousy and even affect the relationship between children in the future. The older child will feel lonely and abandoned.
It is better to take care of the resettlement during pregnancy. This must be done gradually and delicately. Ultimatum and threats backfire. The child protests even more.
10. Sleepy state
The first time you can put the baby in the crib when he falls asleep. Do not pull him out of the crib if he wakes up and cries. Parents should not turn on the light and speak in a whisper. Stroke his back and sing a lullaby. The child hears his mother’s voice and quickly calms down.
Feed your baby before bed if he is breastfeeding. Parents should try not to let the baby fall asleep while he is suckling or holding a bottle in his mouth. It is better to put the baby to bed when he is sleepy but still awake. This will help him develop the habit of falling asleep on his own.
11. The smell of mom
Children sleep more peacefully when they smell their mother’s scent. It gives a sense of security and confidence to the baby.
You can go for a little trick: leave on the back of the bed anything that preserves your mother’s smell – a bathrobe, a T-shirt. The aroma, well known to the baby, will convince him that his mother is nearby and help him fall asleep quickly and sleep soundly.
12. Love and support
The child feels safe in the parent’s bed. Hugs only confirm this opinion. He is afraid that he will lose parental love and care with relocation to the crib.
Parents need to try in many ways to show that their attitude has not changed and that they love the child as much as before. The baby can be picked up more often or put on his knees during the day. There are never too many hugs and kisses!
It is better to postpone all affairs in the evening and spend time with the baby. Ask about mood and well-being. This will help the child understand that he is loved no matter how close the parents are.
13. Talk about fear
Parents need to learn the reasons for not sleeping in a crib through casual conversation. A child may categorically refuse to sleep in a crib because of fictional characters, and monsters. This problem is faced by parents who bully children because of bad behavior.
Find out where these images came from: from cartoons, stories, computer games.
Change the image of a monster to a good character with a child. Approach the problem with humor to relax the nervous system. Turn on the lights in the evening and look under the bed together to make sure no one is there. Fear will disappear and the child will sleep peacefully in the crib.
14. Crib for daytime sleep
You can teach your baby to sleep separately thanks to daytime sleep in the crib. The child is not afraid of the darkness outside the window and strange sounds at this time. He may sleep restlessly and wake up at first.
You do not need to immediately pick up the child if he wakes up. It is better to wait a few minutes, stroke his back, sing a lullaby or turn on white noise. This will help him fall asleep quickly again. Allow the baby to lie down in the crib after waking up and carefully examine it.
The process of moving to the crib is stressful for the baby. A sharp change in habit can cause protest and negative emotions. Parents should be consistent and patient to get the desired result.
Do not make fun of the child if he is afraid to sleep alone and use the phrase “Are you a coward?”. Hug, calm and help him return to bed if he woke up in the middle of the night and ran to his parents. You can ask what scared him and set him up for humor and positive. Do not underestimate the fear of the baby. Each child is unique, so there is simply no single recipe that will simplify the process of resettlement.
What is the best age for a baby to sleep in a crib?
How to get baby to sleep in crib and when start? Pediatricians recommend teaching your baby to sleep in a crib after 6 months. The number of nightly feedings and changing clothes at this time is reduced and you can change the baby’s sleep pattern. Children already know how to roll over on their own, without help and risks.
It is important to take into account the age of the child, psychological readiness, and individual character traits. It is easier to teach a baby to a separate sleeping place if the number of nightly feedings is minimized and he can spend 15-20 minutes on his own.
Do not be disappointed if attempts to teach your child to sleep separately have not been successful. Leaving a baby to cry is not an option. Hysteria can lead to sleep disorders. You need to find the way that is right for you.
Psychologists say that a habit takes 21 days to form. It also takes time to consolidate the result. Parents need to be patient to act consistently and with love and everything will work out!