There are a lot of parents who allow their child to sleep in the bed with them, and they are perfectly happy with the arrangement. However, many moms and dads just aren’t into ‘co-sleeping’ with their children. They feel a married couple’s bed should belong to them and only them, for sleeping and, well, other things. Being intimate and getting a good night’s sleep are two large parts of a healthy marriage, and let’s face it: if your child is curled up in the bed with you, it’s hard to have either one of those things. So, what is the best way to get your child out of your bed?

This was the question Charlotte Patrick kept asking herself over and over. “My daughter Aiden was three years old, and although I would put her to sleep every night in her bed, she continued to get up and climb into the bed with me and my husband. This was an improvement to us, though, as we had finally taught her to actually fall asleep in her bed. Getting her to stay there was a different story altogether.”

Charlotte tried different methods of getting Aiden out of her parents’ bed, from walking her back to her room to just camping out with her daughter on the twin bed in Aiden’s room. Being frustrated at no positive results with these methods, Charlotte finally sought help.

Child specialist Deborah Woodson suggests taking the following measures to help your child stay in his or her own room all night.

Make your child’s room comfortable to him or her

You want them to love their room, and to want to spend time in there. Let your child help with the design. While this doesn’t seem like much, having their own color choices, bedding, and decorations can really make a child feel more comfortable with their room. If they are having issues with the darkness in their room at night, you may want to add a night light that will provide a soft glow in their room.

Make sure their bed size is appropriate

Some children are not concerned with the size of their bed. However some of them will feel intimidated by a very large bed. This is especially true if they have just been moved from their crib. Rather than placing a twin or full-sized bed, try a toddler bed for a while in order to help them adjust. Then, as they grow more comfortable, you can move up to a twin bed. This may help them feel cozier and safer in their room.

Do not lie down with your child

When your child becomes accustomed to you lying in the bed with them, they can truly start to think they can’t go to sleep without someone in the bed with them. If you do lie down with them, make it short and don’t allow them to fall asleep while you’re in the bed. You want your child to understand that he or she can fall asleep by themselves.

Establish a consistent bedtime routine

Doing the same thing every night, starting at the same time, will help your child understand when it is time to settle down and time to go to sleep. If your child feels he or she must go into your bedroom with you, this is a great method. Start out by getting into pajamas, brushing teeth, and getting cozy. You might then read your child a book and sing a little sleep song. After that, tell your child goodnight and that it’s bedtime. Do not give in to crying, because if you do, your child will cry every night. They will know exactly what gets results!

Finally, if your child comes into your room in the middle of the night…

Calmly tell your child that the rules are for him or her to stay in and sleep in their own bed. Walk them back to their room, help them get cozy, and then go back to your own bed. Do this as many times as you need to. The first couple of nights may be rough, but soon your child will understand that he or she can go to sleep by themselves and that they don’t need you in order to feel comfortable. These tips and methods for getting your child out of your bed work best if they are done consistently. Establishing a routine and sticking to it will help tremendously. Soon, it will be just you and your spouse again!