"Help, My Child Can't Sleep!"... Bed Tents May Just Be The Answer You Are Looking For

Bed tents are not only cool and fun, but they may be the ultimate key to getting your toddler to sleep!

The transition from crib to bed is not always an easy one! Infants and
babies feel comfortable and safe in an "enclosed" space (including their
crib). It's all they've known, from womb until now.

This move to a regular bed, brings with it unique changes and a new found freedom. For some children, this sudden sense of freedom can be a real issue. It doesn't take them long (within minutes for many) to realize they can get in and out of their new bed as many times as they want.

This, of course, quickly turns into a parenting issue. The more "authoritative" parent may succeed getting their child to stay in bed after only a few tear-filled nights and "laying-down-the-law" words as well as actions. Loving concern (or "tough love" as they like to call it) may very well win if it is purely a behavioral issue. The toddler will adjust and finally fall asleep on his own, without battles, in his new bed.

For the more "permissive" parent, OR the parent of a child with Sensory Processing Disorders, the tear-filled battles may be too difficult, and inconsistency or "giving in" may result... just so everyone can get a little rest!

Either the parent ends up in the child's room until they fall asleep, or the child ends up in the parents bed. Believe me, I know this experience well. My daughter absolutely could not soothe herself to sleep without my help, no matter what we tried!

There should be no judgment here... there are also endless in-between scenarios that could play out as well. My point is, transitions are not always easy! And, depending on how difficult the new sense of freedom and the lack of a safe, non-stimulating, "enclosed" space is for the child, will determine how challenging the situation becomes for both parent and child.

But, this is certainly not an article focused on parenting or behavior problems. It is, rather, an article focused on ONE possible solution!

It is easy to see how ANY child would enjoy having a bed tent for their own private sleeping sanctuary...drifting off to sleep in a peaceful, imaginary world. But, my focus is on how a bed tent can be an ideal solution for bedtime battles with children who have Sensory Processing / Sensory Integration issues.

Specifically, bed tents have a positive affect on children who:

  • have difficulty modulating their arousal level

  • become easily over stimulated (especially visually)

  • have major difficulties with transitions

Here's what I would suggest, if I may. Pick out your child's favorite color,
theme, character, or design. Make a BIG deal out of setting it up and how
lucky he/she is to be able to "camp" in his/her own room!

Give him a flashlight if he needs it for a "night light" or for nighttime
bathroom trips. Let him sleep in a sleeping bag or under a weighted blanket.

Fill the bed tent with his favorite stuffed animals, or stuff the animals
into his sleeping bag for a nice tight "squeeze" (i.e., for calming, deep
pressure input). Use a nature sound machine to provide whatever
sound is most soothing. Or, use a white noise machine to calm, soothe and
drown out other household sounds.

Fill his head with self-confidence, let him know you understand it is harder
for him, praise him (and/or reward him) for sleeping by himself because he
is a "big boy" now, talk to him about the fantasies he can dream up in his
new tent, and give him complete ownership of his new space!

I hope these bed tents will help end, or prevent, some of those nighttime
battles for you! Pleasant dreams to you all.

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Related Resources and Further Reading

Helping Baby Sleep - You don't want to miss these strategies for soothing your fussy baby!

Click Here For More Information On Sensory Processing Disorders / Sensory Integration Dysfunction

Click Here For Help With Baby / Infant Sleep

Click Here For Some Unique Children's Sleeping Bags

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