Help me plan for independent bedtime for 3.8 year old

(2 Posts)
Zenzie Mon 19-Sep-16 22:12:04

My DS will be four in December. He's a good sleeper and up until age 2.5 went down happily in the cot himself, playing a bit before nodding off.

At that stage he became quite unwell and we spent a fair amount of time in hospital over the next nine months. A time of a lot of upheaval for all of us. He's doing much better now and we don't need to spend any nights in hospital, just occasional (ie two monthly) visits.

During the illness I spent nights in hospital with him and he got used to having someone while he fell asleep. We've kept up this habit of someone staying as it hadn't been a priority for us to fix. But now that life is more normal and with a sibling coming in the new year, we'd like to gently start leaving him to fall asleep alone.

Any ideas for how to start? He's in a big bed and generally falls asleep within ten to fifteen minutes.

FATEdestiny Wed 21-Sep-16 18:41:24

Gradual withdrawal would work. The basics of this are

- always give enough comfort to not cause distress
- build the trust that you will stay until child is asleep
- make a small change towards him falling asleep on his own.
- once he's used to that change, make another change.

So for example, your steps might be

● Sitting next to bed with hand on chest until asleep.
● Just sitting next to bed. Hand on chest only if distressed and removed when settled. Stay until asleep
● Just sitting next to bed until asleep
● Sitting facing right angle to bed (not directly facing child). Stay until asleep.
● Standing next to bed. Stay until asleep.
● Standing next to bed, facing at right angle to child. Stay until asleep.
● Standing next to bed facing away from child. Stay until asleep.
● Standing a few steps away from bed facing away from child. Stay until asleep.
● Standing in doorway facing into room. Stay until asleep.
● Standing in doorway facing out if room. Stay until asleep
● Pop away from doorway as going to sleep, but keep going back to doorway to check. Agree to stay watching until fully asleep.
● Agree to stay upstairs while going to sleep.

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