Attachment parenting

Tips for Successfully Transitioning Your Family Out of Co-Sleeping Arrangements

May 11, 2023

Welcome to our guide on tips for successfully transitioning your family out of co-sleeping arrangements. Co-sleeping is a popular choice for many families, but eventually, most parents will face the challenge of transitioning their child to independent sleeping arrangements. While this transition can be challenging and emotional, it’s a necessary step in your child’s development and can lead to better sleep for everyone in the household.

Why Transitioning Out of Co-Sleeping is Important

Co-sleeping has many benefits, such as bonding with your child and promoting breastfeeding. However, as your child grows older, they may begin to develop habits that make it difficult for them to sleep independently. For example, they may become too dependent on you or your partner’s presence to fall asleep or wake up frequently during the night.

Transitioning out of co-sleeping can help your child develop healthy sleep habits and improve their overall quality of sleep. It can also give parents more space and privacy in their own bed, leading to better rest and less fatigue during the day.

When to Transition Out of Co-Sleeping

The best time to transition out of co-sleeping varies from family to family and depends on several factors, such as the child’s age, developmental stage, and readiness for independent sleeping. Generally speaking, most experts recommend transitioning between 6 months and 3 years old.

However, it’s important not to rush the process or force your child into independent sleeping before they’re ready. Signs that your child may be ready for independent sleeping include showing interest in their own bed or room, being able to self-soothe when waking up at night, and demonstrating an understanding of bedtime routines.

Co-Sleeping Alternatives

Before transitioning your child to independent sleeping, you’ll need to consider the various co-sleeping alternatives available. Here are some options to consider:

Separate Sleeping Arrangements

The most common co-sleeping alternative is separate sleeping arrangements, where your child sleeps in their own bed or room. This option allows your child to develop independence while still feeling safe and secure in their own space. You can start by placing a crib or toddler bed in your room before transitioning them to their own room.

Sleep Training

Sleep training involves gradually teaching your child to fall asleep independently by reducing the amount of time you spend with them during bedtime routines and night wakings. There are various sleep training methods available, such as the Ferber method and the cry-it-out method, but it’s important to choose a method that aligns with your parenting style and philosophy.

Tips for Successfully Transitioning Out of Co-Sleeping

Now that you’re familiar with the co-sleeping alternatives available, here are some tips for successfully transitioning out of co-sleeping:

Establish a Bedtime Routine

A consistent bedtime routine can help your child prepare for sleep and feel more secure in their new sleeping arrangement. The routine should be simple and consist of activities such as a bath, reading a story, and singing a lullaby.

Create a Comfortable Sleeping Environment

Your child’s new sleeping environment should be comfortable and inviting. Consider using a nightlight or white noise machine to create a soothing atmosphere. You can also let your child choose a comfort item, such as a stuffed animal or blanket, to help them feel more secure.

Gradually Encourage Independent Sleep Habits

Transitioning out of co-sleeping should be a gradual process. Start by placing your child in their own bed or room for naps and gradually increase the amount of time they spend there at night. You can also encourage independent sleep habits, such as self-soothing and falling asleep without your presence, during bedtime routines.

Be Consistent

Consistency is key when transitioning out of co-sleeping. Stick to your child’s bedtime routine and sleeping schedule as much as possible, even on weekends or holidays. This can help your child develop a sense of security and predictability in their new sleeping arrangement.

Use Gentle Methods

While some sleep training methods involve letting your child cry it out, there are gentler methods available that can still be effective. For example, you can try the fading method, where you gradually reduce the amount of time you spend with your child during bedtime routines and night wakings.

Dealing with Sleep Regression

Sleep regression is common during transitions to independent sleeping arrangements and can be challenging for both parents and children. Your child may experience disrupted sleep patterns, increased night wakings, or difficulty falling asleep on their own.

To help deal with sleep regression, stick to your child’s established bedtime routine as much as possible and provide extra comfort and reassurance during this time. You can also consider using a transitional object, such as a stuffed animal or blanket, to help ease the transition.

The Family Bed

The family bed is another popular co-sleeping arrangement where the entire family sleeps together in one bed. While this arrangement has many benefits, such as bonding with your child and promoting breastfeeding, it may not be sustainable in the long term.

If you’re considering transitioning out of the family bed, it’s important to communicate with your partner and ensure that you’re both on the same page. You can start by gradually reducing the amount of time your child spends in the family bed and encouraging independent sleep habits.


Transitioning out of co-sleeping can be a challenging process, but it’s an important step in your child’s development. By following these tips and being patient and consistent, you can help your child develop healthy sleep habits and improve their overall quality of sleep. Remember to be gentle with yourself and your child during this transition, and seek support from family, friends, or a healthcare provider if needed.