Family Bed: How to Make It Stop

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For years, my kids shared my bed.

When my oldest was a baby, I was working a graveyard shift, so my wife was alone with the baby at night.    It was easy to keep a couple of bottles in a cooler by the bed and not have to get out of bed to take care of him when he woke up once an hour to drink a full bottle.

Then he got older.  And bigger.  And bigger.

We tried to move him to his own bed a few times, but it never worked well.    He’d scream if we put him in a crib, so we got him a bed at 9 months old.  That just meant he was free to join us whenever he woke up.  Brat.

We finally got him to voluntarily move to his own bed after his sister was born.    Shortly after she was born, I woke up to see him using her as a pillow.   To paint the proper picture, this kid is 5’9″ and wears size 12 shoes.  At 11.  When I woke him up to tell him what he was doing, he decided to sleep in his own bed.

Method #1 to get your kids in their own bed:  Have kid 1 try to crush kid 2 and feel bad about it.

Method #1 isn’t a great solution.

Soon, baby #3 showed up and we had 2 monsters in bed with us again.    Once they started getting bigger, it became difficult for the 4 of us to sleep.   We tried to get them into their own beds.   Unfortunately, even as toddlers, my kids had a stubborn streak almost as big as my own.   Nothing worked.

Eventually, they got big enough that I was crowded right out of the bed.  At least we had a comfortable couch.

Sleeping on a couch gets old.

When the girls got old enough to reason with, we had a choice:  We either had to find a way to convince them they wanted to sleep in their own room, or we had to have a fourth brat for them to attempt to crush at night.

We went with bribery.  Outright, blatant bribery.

We put a chart on the wall with each of their names and 7 boxes.  Every night they slept in their own beds, they got to check a box.   When all of the boxes were checked, they got $5 and a trip to the toy store.

It took 10 days to empty our bed and it’s been peaceful sleeping since.  That’s $5 well-spent.

Have you done a family bed?  How did it work?  How long did it last?

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  • 15 comments

    Comments

    1. When I was newly divorced, I would let my son crawl into bed with me. I think he was about 4 at the time. He didn’t do it every night but was pretty often. It was an eye opener for a bunch of us when he tried crawling into bed with me and my future wife. (thankfully we were just sleeping.

    2. Bribery always works! 🙂 Now if only I could find a similar system that will work with dogs……

    3. I will remember this one when my boy gets older. Funny story, when I was 19 I got an earring on spring break. I walked in the door and pops said “you have your car insurance due how about I pay that + $300 cash and you take that thing out?”

      It came out quickly lol

      • LOL! I got told for years that, if I came home with an earring, it would come out quickly and forcefully. I finally got my ear pierced a couple of weeks before I moved out. After that, I got something new pierced every couple of months. I topped out at 13 holes in my face.

        • I realized that money is much more important than metal through my ear…maybe your parents should have looked into bribing you early lol

    4. The best way to end the family blood is to never start it! Lil’ SPF will sleep in a bassinet until such time he goes to his room and a crib.

    5. Loved the story… haha, I guess bribes don’t fail. 😉

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