How To Make Babies Go To Sleep
Fiona, mother of Phoebe
Even more rare and more worrying still is the baby who passes out when he cries. In both cases it’s a good idea to visit your GP once again to rule out physical causes for these reactions (or see Post 10 on alternative help). If you still want to try a behavioural approach, try a more gradual one, so that your baby doesn’t become so upset.
Making it Work Charts: One for Both of You
Many parents find it helpful to carry on charting their progress, while using a behavioural programme. The sleep diary is a good way to do this. It can be reassuring for you if you’re finding the programme difficult, and it can help you to see where the weak points are in your strategy when you feel like giving in. It can also be useful to discuss your chart with the professional or friend who is supporting you.
Your toddler may find star charts exciting. Copy the one below or make your own.
How To Make Babies Go To Sleep Photo Gallery
Either buy some stickers or draw on a star for each night your child achieves the goal you set. Some children like to put up their own sticker, or choose which colour pen you use to draw the star.
Do it as soon as your toddler wakes and make a point of praising him at the same time. If you have had a bad night just ignore the star chart. Don’t underline his failure by drawing attention to it and don’t give a sticker just to make him feel better – giving a free one diminishes his effort in gaining the others.
You may find that the sticker alone is motivation enough for your child. But some children lose interest after three or four stickers so it may be worth building in a small present or a treat once you are sure that the star chart is beginning to work. However, don’t mention the treat before you see which way the wind blows because failing to get a star is one thing, but failing to get a present is another. When you are convinced that your child will make progress with this scheme, offer him a present if he keeps up the good work for just three or four more days. In this way the star chart acts as a motivator and a reward.
Try not to use the star chart to threaten your child at night. If he is finding the programme hard work, it will not make it any easier for him to do it if you say: Right then, you’ve got up again, there’s no star for you in the morning. This will only leave him with a double anxiety – that he must go to sleep alone and yet not get a star. Whatever you do in the morning, you then lose. If you give him a star he may think he can get up each night; if you don’t give him one he will believe that he went to sleep on his own for nothing.
It’s better to avoid talking about the star chart altogether unless you can do it in a positive way. For example: Which sticker are you going to choose tomorrow – a rainbow or a Mickey Mouse? Or Can you remember what you get in the morning when you go to sleep nicely? Or You only have to get one more sticker and then we can go swimming/buy that toy/have your friend to play. ’
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