As a parent, I appreciate the struggle that is that late night horrific discovery we sometimes make just before sliding into that long-delayed bliss that is bedtime at last. I’m speaking of the realization that your kid is asleep in your bed and you have to transfer them to their own bed before you can get some sleep.
I’ve received so many nuggets of advice from other parents that have helped me navigate my way through the challenges of parenthood that I want to do my part and give back through my unique position of being able to offer my expertise in body mechanics and how to apply it to parenthood. I want to share with you because the struggle is real. We parents must help each other survive :)
I mostly jest. I actually feel so lucky and warm in my heart that I have the two kids I have, to hold and cuddle and be silly with. But I know that we all have those moments when we are so exhausted from the ever-challenging job of being a parent we just...want...to go...to sleep. Then we make it to bed only to find that the end is still out of reach!
Now that that is all said, I will give you my recommendation of how to properly and safely transfer a sleeping child from one bed to another. When I say safely I mean safely for both parent and child.
Watch this video on how to hip hinge:
Ignore the bit about osteoporosis. This is good for everyone. Keep this hip hinge in mind throughout all these steps. Remember also to engage your core. Do this by replicating the pelvic muscle contraction you naturally perform when you have to use the bathroom and you’re trying to hold it :). While holding this contraction, pull the front of your pelvis upward. Visualize your belly button moving up toward your head and in toward your spine. Now your core is engaged. Most of us do not do this. It takes conscious practice. Do it, it’s worth it!
Go to your kid’s room and clear a path to the bed (you know what I mean). All the proper form in the world will be wrecked with one foot interfacing with a Lego. Fold his/her bedding back so all you have to do is make a landing. Make sure you have enough lighting.
Back to your room. Stand at the side of the bed and completely uncover your kid. Pull the pillow out and away gently. Next, slide your child toward you. Pull them at their armpits, waist, or by the legs. Be mindful to keep their neck in a neutral position and avoid pulling by their arms as there is (an albeit small) chance of injury to the elbow or shoulder joints if you pull purely by their arms — especially while they cannot stabilize these joints due to being asleep. A good strategy is to slide them in stages alternating the top and bottom halves.
The hardest step. Get down low and use your hip hinge. Slide one of your arms under their arms. Slide the other under their knees. Get close, so that their side is up against your chest. Is your core engaged? Now would be a great time for that.
Crux move: Get down low as your legs will allow, ideally so that your head is at the same level as your child’s. With a nice burly biceps curl roll him/her toward your body so they are sideways and almost completely chest to chest with you. This keeps as little weight as possible out away from your body and uses physics to your advantage. Now hip hinge up (core engaged).
Keeping your core engaged, walk carefully to their bed. Get up to the side of the bed with the child oriented correctly to the pillow. (Note: you may have to rotate your poor kid 180 degrees in your bed before performing Step 4 if their bed faces the opposite direction to yours)
Hip hinge down so that your knees form a gentle slide from your body to the bed, then let your child slowly slide down your arms into your legs until they are parallel to the bed. Now gently roll them onto their bed.
Cover and kiss!
There, now I’ve given back. Pun intended.