Your Room or Mine? Getting My Son To Sleep in His Bed
For almost six months now, my three-and-a-half-year-old son has been sleeping in a sleeping bag by my bed, and sometimes winding up in my bed. It's an issue that happens to most parents and children at one time or another, but our family has got to "make the break." My child must learn to sleep in his bed.
Unlike most children, our reasons for letting Tyler in our bedroom are rooted in trauma that he has experienced, and neurological issues. It wasn't always like this though. Tyler started sleeping through the night at four months old, even when he was sick! I was the envy of all of my girlfriends struggling through sleepless nights. But when Tyler was two-years-old, my husband and I had a sudden family emergency where we had to travel, and taking Tyler with us was just not possible. My aunt and uncle were kind enough to allow him to stay three nights with them. I had grown up with them and Tyler had met them a few times, but basically they were strangers to him.
When Tyler came back home, the sleeping through the nights quickly ended. I had a harder and harder time getting him to sleep, and he would wake up two or three times a night with nightmares. When we switched him over to his toddler bed, getting him to even stay in his bed was impossible. A few months later, Tyler became the victim of being bullied by another child in his daycare, forcing us to switch schools.
And then came the verbal and motor tics
. They were worse at night, and he couldn't even settle down due to the tics. Sleeping near me or in my bed was the only way he could sleep.
And so we are, six months later. A neurologist has diagnosed Tyler with Tourette's Syndrome and severe Separation Anxiety and says that although children do not have memories at two, what happened to Tyler due to suddenly being away from us is "imprinted" in his brain. It's as if he knows something is terrifying about sleeping alone, but he doesn't know why.
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Therapists have told us that ideas like The Ferber Method
would be like torture to Tyler. So our plan is to move an air mattress into his room and sleep with him with the hope of gradually getting out of there and his being able to sleep on his own without fear or nightmares. We've bought Spiderman and the Cars sheets to get him excited and are going to work on a reward basis for when he starts sleeping alone at night.