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Jennifer, School Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 397
Experience:  Collaborative parent consultation on everything from modifying behavior to child development.
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My girlfriend has a seven year old daughter and is expecting

Customer Question

My girlfriend has a seven year old daughter and is expecting a daughter that is mine. She is due in September 2010. Her 7 year old has been sleeping with her for a few years now. We've been together for about 7 months and every time I sleep over it's 3 of us on a queen size bed. For the first few months before she started to increase in size things were tight but doable. Now that she is almost 6 months pregnant it's becoming increasingly difficult for the 3 of us on a bed. How can we get her 7 year old to sleep on her own bed. Every time we try she manipulates the situation by crying and screaming and my girlfriend gives in and lets her sleep on the bed. Now, she sleeps over her friends houses and over her dad's without any crying or screaming issues...What can we do???
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Jennifer replied 7 years ago.
Hello and thanks for using!

What if you tried a rewards system? Perhaps at first the entire night on her own is too scary. Talk to her (excitedly) about a new plan where she'll be able to earn things by staying in her bed for a time before coming to yours. Frame this positively -- She's growing up, so she gets to enjoy her own bed at night. Small rewards for short time periods at first -- An hour the first night, two hours the next, etc. Ask her what small rewards she'd like to work toward to try to get her to buy in. Stickers? A small toy? They don't necessarily need to be anything that you buy... Some great rewards include a special breakfast the next morning (her choice), playing a game together the next day, control of the TV time the next afternoon (with popcorn?) etc... Once she's there for a few hours, she may just fall asleep and be fine on her own. Include a large reward for when she sleeps there the entire night! Be sure to include a consistent bedtime routine and whatever she needs to feel comfortable in her new bed (special blanket, stuffed animal, night light, etc.) Good luck!