Are your child’s irregular sleeping patterns wearing you out? Well, you aren’t alone in this boat. A lot of parents are, and have been in the same place as you are right now and understand exactly how you feel. Here we have prepared a mini-guide to some simple sleep-training methods to help your toddler catch some z’s.
While some parents are blessed with happy little creatures who sleep peacefully during the night, for other parents, making their baby sleep is one of the challenging battles they have to tackle in their early parenthood stages.
Most sleep experts believe that there is no magical time to start sleep training your child or promote independent sleep. The ideal time is determined by taking many factors into consideration, including your baby’s developmental abilities. Having said that, most parents sleep-train their child somewhere between the ages of 4 and 6 months.
When your baby is young, they haven’t had much time to get used to rocking or being nursed to sleep. During these initial stages, babies are developmentally prepared to learn and grasp the most important skill of all: falling asleep on their own.
In order to help kids learn to form regular sleeping patterns, parents often turn to a technique known as sleep training. With an abundance of information available on the Internet nowadays, the process can get quite overwhelming for first-time parents.
Therefore, after conducting the relevant research, we have prepared this guide to help you navigate through this tricky territory and easily train your child so that they, along with you and your spouse can wake up fresh every morning after a good night’s rest!
The Camp-It-Out Method
If you are looking to transfer, your little one from your bed to their own, one approach that you can take is putting your kid in their own bed and spending ample time in their room. Place an air mattress in your child’s room and camp in it for a few nights.
Once you start noticing that your toddler is getting comfortable in their own bed, replace the air mattress with a chair. For a couple of nights, put your baby in bed and wait while sitting in the chair. Leave the room once your baby falls asleep.
If your child wakes up as soon as you leave and gets fussy, let them cry it out for a couple of minutes to see if they fall back asleep. If they don’t, pop your head in the room and give reassurance.
The Fading Method
If your little one is accustomed to being rocked to sleep or being held for a long time, the fading method might be the best way to sleep-train your toddler. Going from being a lap sleeper and enjoying nighttime cuddle sessions to sleeping in their own bed can be a major transition for any child, and oftentimes, it may be more than they can handle.
As the name suggests, the fading methods allows kids to enjoy the hugs and cuddles they are so used to, while gradually helping them adjust to falling asleep in their personal bed. When your kid is awake but feeling drowsy, put them in their bed or crib and exit the room. Remember to close the door behind you.
If your kid starts crying or being fussy, don’t reenter the room immediately. Always wait a couple of minutes before you finally give in. If reentering becomes extremely necessary, rub your toddler’s back and soothe them until they calm down and relax. Then, leave the room again.
If your kid starts throwing tantrums again, calmly repeat the process. Continue this method until your toddler goes to sleep. Now, it is likely for your kid to be quite irritated and annoyed with this major change. However, go on for a few nights and try not to give up. This method enables your kid to self-soothe and eventually fall asleep without any unnecessary fuss.
The Cry-It-Out Method
While this method isn’t a favorite among most parents as no one wants to hear their toddler cry and scream for an hour or so, it is a great alternative to the two methods explained above. With the camp-it-out and fading method, you are supposed to reenter the room when your child remains determined. However, with this method you don’t reenter the room at all.
Entering your kid’s room and giving them reassurance and hugs might be all the attention they require to fuss and cry throughout the night. This is because they know that you are eventually going to give up and sleep with them. With the cry-it-out method, no matter how much your kid cries, the only thing you are allowed to do is pop your head in their room’s doorway and say something like, “You’ll be okay, I love you.”
Remember, when it comes to sleep training your kid, there are no hard and fast rules. You can use variations of every method according to your suitability. Even though reentering the room is highly discouraged, you can return at set intervals and gradually increase the length of time to reassure your child.
Before you start practicing some of the aforementioned sleep training methods, it is important that you follow a regular schedule. Put your child to bed at the exact same time every night. Remember, consistency is the key. Sleep training can be a quite tricky process. Your toddler might resist and even throw a fit, but you need to focus on the fact that this practice will eventually help your kid adopt more consistent sleep patterns and habits!