My 3.5yo dd won't go to sleep on her own but wants one or us to stay with her. She went to sleep on her own a few times a couple of weeks ago (to get a sticker on her chart) but now it's worse than ever again and she literally begs me to stay "for a really long time". After I stay til she falls asleep she often wakes in the night and cries for us until one of us goes in, it can happen multiple times if we try to come back to our bed.
Even when we stay it can take her ages to relax and drop off though this got a bit better when we recently started to put her to bed earlier and to be more consistent with the bath/bed routine.
She is quite a timid child and started nursery school 5 mornings a week a couple of weeks ago. We also had our second daughter 3 months ago. Things were difficult with bedtime and sleep before that though.
When I have tried the tough approach ie. Refusing to stay or ignoring her in the night its been a nightmare with loads of screaming.
Currently I am going along with it in the hope that she"ll feel more secure soon and her behaviour will change but I wonder if I'm just strengthening th sleep dependence? I am also trying to leave for 5 minutes and then come back to her to build trust and then thought I could gradually increase the intervals but even me going for this short time causes her great anxiety at the moment. It's so tough as dd2 is only 13wks and is not quite sleeping through so I'm pretty tired. Most of all I want a happy secure child and for bedtime to take less than 1.5hrs!