Separating Siblings: How to Help Your Child Sleep Alone

Siblings often share bedrooms in early childhood or until their parents can afford a larger house. Children of different sexes may want to have their own rooms as they grow older, but separating siblings can be challenging. Children who are accustomed to sleeping with someone else are used to having a built-in playmate and companion. Many children are afraid to sleep alone. Nightmares, fear of the dark and the monster under the bed are all very real obstacles for young children transitioning to their own rooms. Moving your child into his or her own room is typically a process that must occur over several weeks, so avoid rushing into it and be patient. I hope you find sleep tips useful in helping your child sleep alone.

Tips for Helping Your Child Sleep Alone

help child sleep alone

Talk About the Transition
Give your children some advanced warning about the transition to the new room. Simply announcing one night, “It’s time to sleep in your own room!” can make your child feel insecure, which increases her likelihood of being afraid to sleep alone. If you talk about the transition well in advance, you’ll have an opportunity to gauge potential problems and listen to any concerns your child might have.

Give Your Child Control
Allow your child plenty of freedom to determine how his room will be set up. Many children, for example, feel afraid if their backs are to the door or window, so ask your child where he’d like to place his bed. When children have control over their environments, they’re less likely to feel afraid, so it stands to reason that it’s important to give your child some say in the structure of his room, especially if you’re worried he might have trouble sleeping alone.

Avoid Sources of Fear
If there are several rooms in your house that could serve as your child’s new room, choose the room that is most likely to cause fear. Select a room that is close to your bedroom, that has little noise from outside traffic and that has few creaks and bumps in the night. This decreases your child’s likelihood of having nightmares and running into your room or her sibling’s room for comfort.

It’s also important to think about how your child’s room will look at night. Are there creepy shadows? Weird shapes that look like faces? Sleep in your child’s room by yourself before he does it, and if you notice any potential sources of fear, move lighting or cover walls if necessary. You should also ensure that your child has ready access to a light from a flashlight or night light from his bed. This can be a helpful tool if your child has nightmares or wakes up afraid.

Avoid Unnecessary Rules
Many parents think that their children need to be able to sleep without night lights, radios or stuffed animals. The truth is that it’s much more important to get your child accustomed to sleeping in her own room. Especially if she’s used to sleeping with a sibling, allow her to sleep in a way that feels most comfortable to her. If this means leaving all the lights on, surrounding her bed in stuffed animals or leaving the radio on, let her do it. You can always help her transition away from these security blankets later. However, it is good to establish a good sleeping routine.

Plan for an Adjustment Period
In the first few weeks after your child moves to her new room, she might run into your room or her sibling’s room in the middle of the night. This is perfectly normal. Rather than expecting her to sleep through the night by herself immediately, work on slowly transitioning her to independent sleeping.

Beds with trundles can be especially useful in this regard. If your child has a nightmare, you can pull out the trundle bed and sleep with her for an hour or two. This keeps her in her own room but gives her a substantial sense of security that you can slowly wean her off of as she becomes more comfortable.

I hope you found these tips for separating siblings into their own rooms and helping your child sleep alone helpful.  Did you kids share a room?  Did you have any problems separating them and helping them sleep alone?

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