When should children start sleeping on their own? Here are some tips for sleep training and room preparation.

2021.06.11

Although it is common in Japanese families for small children to sleep with their parents, in many countries children sleep alone from the age of 0. Since children develop at different rates, the best time for your child to sleep alone will differ. However, to encourage his/her independence, it is a good idea to have your child practice sleeping alone when you feel he/she is ready. In this article, we will introduce some tips for encouraging your child to sleep alone.

子どもが一人で寝るのはいつから? 一人寝の練習方法や部屋作りのコツ

What are the benefits of sleeping alone for young children?

Co-sleeping is common is many homes. Sleeping together is an important way to develop skin ship between parents and children.
However, in many Western countries, parents prepare children’s rooms and encourage children to sleep on their own from a young age.
According to a study by Pennsylvania State University, sleeping alone improves children’s sleep quality. For example, the average sleep time of a baby who slept alone from about 4 months old was 627 minutes, but the average sleep time of a baby who slept with a parent and child after 9 months of age is shortened to 587 minutes.
Some parents are worried that letting their children lie alone may make them lonely. However, if you get used to sleeping alone, your child will get a good night’s sleep, so don’t worry too much.

When will your child become able to sleep on his/her own?

The best time for a child to start sleeping alone will vary. Some families, even in Japan, encourage their child to sleep alone from the age of 0. However, other families choose to sleep together until their child enters the upper grades of elementary school. In Japan, it is most common to have your child start sleeping alone from when they enter elementary school. Some families prepare their child’s room when they enter elementary school and get their child in the habit of sleeping alone from the first day of school. Other families, encourage their child to start sleeping alone on their 6th birthday. When your child starts sleeping alone will also depend on your housing situation. In some families it occurs when they realize there is limited space in the family bedroom or when the family can create a separate bedroom in their apartment or house.

How can parents support their child when they start sleeping alone?

It is important that parents support their child and help them prepare to sleep on their own. A good way to start is to sleep together in your child’s room and help him/her get used to sleeping in their own room first. Please let your child choose their bedding and make sure to have favorite blankets and/or stuffed animals available. This will make your child more likely to want to sleep on his/her own.

Parents should determine the best time for their child to try sleeping alone based on their child’s personality and development. Participating in mommy & me classes and preschools will help your child gain his/her independence while learning about the world around them. Please check out an infant/toddler class around you.

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