Getting a toddler to sleep alone requires quite an effort. If your toddler is refusing to sleep alone and you are not doing your bit to develop the habit of making him sleeping alone from a young age, then be prepared to deal with some stubbornness as he grows up.
Each and every child has a sleep buddy. While some kids may ask for a particular blanket, pillow, or their favourite toy to fall asleep, other children may prefer to have a parent close to them. As cute and lovely this sounds in the initial days, it can get problematic for your kid as he grows up. He might fail to sleep or get cranky in scenarios where you may not be present or if you are travelling somewhere. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to teach your child to sleep alone.
When a child is too young, he is extremely attached to his parents, so it may not be wrong for him to want to sleep next to you. However, as he grows, he will have to sleep alone someday. Besides, there are certain reasons why making a child sleep alone has its benefits.
It is important to teach a child to sleep alone at the right age. If you do it too soon, it could cause separation anxiety or a sense of detachment in the kid. If done later, it can get extremely difficult to break that dependency. So, doing it on time is necessary. Once your child is around 2 to 3 years old, it is a good time to try to make him sleep by himself. It might take anywhere from a few months to an entire year before he is able to fall and stay asleep on his own.
Here are a few tips that can work as a great starting point to get your kid to start sleeping by himself, gradually developing into a lifelong habit.
Do not make your child sleep alone all of a sudden. Start slow; set one or two days of the week when he will be sleeping alone, see how he reacts. As he gets into the habit of sleeping alone, you can increase the days eventually. Soon, he will like the idea of going to bed by himself and will prefer sleeping alone.
Kids generally face a problem while falling asleep; once they doze off there is nothing to worry about. The presence of a parent allows them to fall asleep quicker than doing so by themselves. Try to set in a ritual of sorts that your kid needs to follow before he sleeps. This can start by brushing teeth, changing into pyjamas, dimming the lights, saying a goodnight prayer or reading a story, and so on. And soonm he will get into this habit and sleep alone.
If your child is too attached to you, don’t ignore him. Some children are often triggered to feel safe when they sense their parents either by their voice or even by a specific shirt or blanket. You could try doing that by exchanging your blankets or pillows or giving your child your old sweater to hold while he sleeps.
Just when you feel that your child is finally learning to sleep alone, he may show up to your room crying, asking you to sleep in his room. Be gentle and guide him back to his room. It may not always be possible, but make sure you don’t sleep in his room. If necessary, stand by the door of his room for a few minutes till he falls asleep.
When your child does end up sleeping a night successfully by himself, do let him know you are proud of him. Give him a celebratory snack or a breakfast treat. This can provide an incentive for doing it again until it becomes a habit. You can also tell him that he is brave and he will sleep alone again feeling proud of himself.
The presence of electronic devices can make sleeping a difficult task than it already is. Make sure you put a curfew on the time limit for playing games on the phone or watching television. Also, don’t keep any gadgets or electronic devices in your child’s bedroom.
Some parents might use sleep as a way of punishing their child when he has done something wrong. This forms a bad relationship with the concept of sleep and can cause other issues like insomnia to crop up early in life.
If things are too difficult at the start, you can opt to sleep on the floor on a separate mattress instead of the same bed. That physical separation can break the first barrier and make things easier later on.
Once you know how to make your child sleep in his own bed, the later progress is pretty much a cakewalk. Sleeping alone does not just give him confidence but it will help him to become strong and independent in future too. So, develop this habit in your child soon.
Also Read: Sleep Terror in Toddlers & Kids
This post was last modified on December 24, 2021 8:50 pm
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