Five tips to successfully transition from co-sleeping to crib sleeping

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[April 18, 2014]  WINNIPEG, Canada Co-sleeping. It's a concept sometimes loaded with controversy. However, many families choose to do it whether it is preplanned and intentional, or reactive and out of desperation. Regardless of the reason, if you are at the point where you are ready to transition your child from co-sleeping (bed-sharing) with you to sleeping in their own space, you might be feeling a bit nervous. A thousand questions can pop into your mind. How do I get from bed to crib as painlessly as possible?

Joleen Dilk-Salyn, a certified child sleep consultant and founder of Baby Sleep 101, has helped many parents successfully navigate through this transition from co-sleeping to crib.

"Although it can seem daunting at the start, having a plan in place will help ease your hesitations and see success," she says.

Here are five tips to assist with the transition from co-sleeping to the crib:

Rest up for success

Begin with ensuring that your child is well-rested. This one step is critical for a smooth transition, yet many parents fail to do it. An overtired child is going to resist sleeping in a new location a lot more, AND have more night wakings, than a well-rested child. To prevent this, maintain a regular nap routine and keep bedtime early.

Agree on the time

Next, talk with your partner and determine a date for when you would like your child in their own space. Having a goal will help you put your plan into action.

Create positive associations

Before making the switch to the new sleeping location, allow your child to spend some playtime in their crib every day. At first, when it is new to them, stay close and play games of peek-a-boo, or let them hang out with their favorite toy. As their confidence grows, leave the room for a few seconds to a few minutes to allow your child to get accustomed to being in that space independently.

Relocate

The next step is to move with your child into their room. Take a mattress to the floor of your child's room and co-sleep in there for one to three nights. Move a little farther away from your child each night during this phase.

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Into the crib

The final step is to put your child to sleep for the night in their crib. Once you do this, it is important to be consistent with it. Like any skill we teach our children, we can only expect them to be as consistent as we are. Taking them out after their first night waking and returning to co-sleeping is unfair to your child, as it's confusing. Have confidence in your child and trust that they can learn new skills.

Transitioning from co-sleeping to crib can seem challenging at first, but if you follow these tips, everyone will be sleeping happily in their own bed before you know it!

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Joleen Dilk Salyn is a pediatric sleep consultant certified through the Family Sleep Institute and founder of Baby Sleep 101 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She helps tired parents get their children sleeping through the night by working with the science of sleep and healthy sleep best practices. She is a member of the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants and in addition to her certification as a sleep consultant, also holds a bachelor's degree and postbaccalaureate in education. She is a mother to two wonderful children.

[Text from Family Sleep Institute news release received from MyPRGenie]

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