Many parents (and there are exceptions) don’t plan on their children ending up in bed with them. It’s usually the result of a spur-of-the-moment decision when parents think it’s the best way for them to get a good night’s sleep. But they are fooling themselves! If you can teach your children from the start that the safest and the best place for them to sleep is in their own beds, you will all sleep better in the long run. Consider the following:

1. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that the safest place for a baby to sleep is in his or her own crib. Most adult beds are not suitable sleeping environments for children-they’re too soft and they have blankets and pillows. Not to mention grownups who can roll over on them. It’s tempting to bring your bundle of joy into bed with you , but I recommend you resist the urge and save the snuggling for daytime hours. The nighttime is for safe sleeping.

2. Your bedroom is yours and that’s sacred. Isn’t that how your child got here in the fist place?

3. A child should feel empowered knowing that she can sleep a while night in her own room. Allow her to enjoy that sense of accomplishment and can-do spirit.

4. It’s your job as a parent to guide your child toward independence. Remember that when your hear the pitter-patter of footsteps at 2 a.m. and you are inclined to just scoop them in with you!