Every morning he arrives in our bed
His cuddly toy in one hand, every morning, is your toddler that slips between you to finish his night. However, what’s in his mind? A little alarm clock? Cracking from time to time is fine … however, watch out for bad habits!
It is cute to see your half-asleep child make a small place in your bed and find it there when you wake up. However, in the long run, is it without consequences? The answers and advice of Anne Gatecel, clinical psychologist, and psychotherapist.
Why is it “better” in your bed?
- He needs a presence. Children who continue their nights in their parents’ bed think they need them to get back to sleep. In fact, they want their presence reassuring. They confuse need and envy. To maintain this confusion keeps them in a feeling of omnipotence: they believe they can get everything they covet.
- A hint of jealousy. At the age of 3, a child becomes aware that his parents have a relationship outside him and he has difficulty in admitting it. It enters the period of the compound of Oedipus which consists, schematically, in trying to “seduce” the parent of the opposite sex. He will try to interpose between them!
He arrives in your bed: why do you crack?
- Perhaps you feel guilty about being too little at home if you work. Moreover, to devote more time to it, you succumb easily to the temptation to let it encroach on your couple.
- It makes you happy to see that your toddler still needs you … You feel useful, indispensable, even irreplaceable!
Why not give in?
- Nothing worse than lack of sleep and, it must be admitted some days, you would like to have your quota. The result: you are on the verge of skin, and the quality of your relationships is felt. When you do not just poke your nose in the office …
- It is bad for your couple. Sometimes you would linger alone with his dad in this soft morning shade … it is legitimate.
- There must be limits. For your child, it is essential that you set limits. He must learn to regulate his desires.
How can he not land in your bed?
- Prepare the ground. Your child is an early riser, and every morning at 5:45, he opens his eyes and rushes into your bed? Set up his favorite toys, those that do not pose any danger, and ask him to play in his room until you come to pick him up.
- Give him an explanation. With your own words, tell him, “We have accepted you up to that point in our bed, but we may have been mistaken. From today we will bring you back to yours. To each one his place: you in your room and us in ours. To keep you with us is to consider you as a baby and you are no longer one. “
- Hold on, if he stinks at your refusal. To make him understand that parents and children do not sleep together, ask him, “Is your dad sleeping in his mom’s bed, your grandma?” Do I, your mother, sleep with my daddy? You see that parents and children do not sleep in the same bed! “
- Adopt the same conduct throughout the night. Reinforce him if he has a nightmare, but do not stand against him until he falls asleep. He has the resources to do it alone.
He does not come anymore … however, wakes up anyway
- He had a nightmare, and he called you. Reassure him, but do not stay sleeping with him. His dreams would become threatening if he found that you wanted to protect him by staying at his side.
- He screams and stirs in his bed, seems panicky and does not react to your presence because he is asleep … It is a nocturnal terror. Do not wake him; his confusion would be even greater. Though unconscious, he hears you. Talk to him calmly and, if possible, take him in your arms to soothe him.
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