How to Get a 1-Year-Old Child to Sleep in His Own Bed

portrait of a baby boy in a crib
Your child can sleep contentedly in her own bed. (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Many parents sleep with their infants. Nearly half of the infants in a study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development shared a bed with their parents at least twice a week. It simplifies nighttime feedings and allows you to bond with your child. If your baby sleeps with you, but you are concerned about dangers, such as suffocation or simply crave a little more space, you can teach your child to sleep alone.

Step 1

Promote daytime activity and bonding,states the AskDr.Sears website, which is a website that Dr. William Sears runs. Dr. Sears is the author of more than 30 childcare-related books, and he states that a child who is held frequently and actively engaged with his parent or caregiver during the day will sleep better at night. Spend as much one-on-one time with your child as you can. Although 1-year-olds are quite active, find opportunities to snuggle and cuddle with him throughout the day.

Step 2

Set a consistent nap and meal schedule. Not only will a routine help your child feel safe and secure, it will also help him sleep more soundly. When your baby is overtired or has napped too much, he may fight going to bed. In addition, a child who had a late supper or is feeling hungry may not sleep well.

Step 3

Wind down early. The 1-year-old will struggle with going to bed immediately after a playful day. Give him time to relax and calm down. An hour or so before bedtime, incorporate evening activities that are quiet and peaceful. Reading books or rocking in a chair are good options.

Step 4

Create an enjoyable and relaxing bedtime routine. Your child loves having your complete attention. When his bedtime routine consists of a warm bubble bath, being dressed in comfy pajamas and snuggling with you as you sing his favorite lullabies, he will begin looking forward to sleeping in his own bed.

Step 5

Help your child learn to soothe himself and feel safe in his own bed. Initially, try putting your child in his bed while he is still awake but quite drowsy. Parenting expert Dr. Laura Markham suggests that you walk quietly around the room, putting away toys or laundry to promote a sense of security. You may also wish to play soft music or a white noise machine such as ocean sounds. Some children self-soothe using a pacifier, a favorite toy or a soft blanket. Above all, be patient with your child and yourself. It may take time, but you can teach your child to sleep alone.

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