How To Make Your Baby Sleep

How To Make Your Baby Sleep

Climbing Out of Bed

It’s easier to help your cot-bound baby to learn to go to sleep alone because he has to stay where he is. When faced with a new bedtime routine many toddlers protest by getting out of bed and coming to find you.

There are three behavioural ways you can help your child learn to stay in his bed.

Game-Plan 1: Back to Bed

If your child gets out of bed, lead him back straight away and without comment. If you are trying a gradual withdrawal approach or the kissing game, then carry on with the same approach as though nothing had happened. If you are trying a cold turkey or controlled crying approach, leave his bedroom once you’ve put him to bed again and sit outside his door. In this way the back-to-bed routine will be quicker and less frustrating than if you tried to watch television or eat dinner. If you are following the cold turkey plan, continue to sit outside his door until he falls asleep; with the controlled crying plan, return to him only when it is the set time to do so (use the timing charts from page 116). Try to put him back to bed without shouting or forcing him, no matter how tired or frustrated you are. Your child may find these emotional reactions rewarding, and stay awake just to hear you shout some more.

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I recently resolved the bedtime nonsense with Alice (nearly three years old). I told her she was going to learn to go to sleep. I put her in her bed, then sat outside her room. Each time she got up I put her back without a fuss or a row, tucked her in and told her “Goodnight”. The first night it was three hours before she stopped coming out – as she got tired, the visits became more frequent! Within ten days she had stopped coming out and only rarely does so now. It was fairly painless. Things improved when we resolved to improve them and gave ourselves a time limit (two weeks), and stuck to it. This is very hard to do when you are exhausted and worn down. ’

Max, who has a rare antibody deficiency which causes him severe pain, used to wake between eight and 15 times a night. But Catherine and Trevor tried the same approach as Gillian:

The sleep therapist told us that part of Max’s sleep problem had been caused by the pain Max experienced and part was the result of the perfectly understandable things we’d done to help him cope with the pain. She was marvellous, she advised us to wait until Max had a spell of being fit and then tackle the part of the sleeping problems that were to do with us. We put him to bed and then sat outside his door. Every time he came out we put him back to bed. We had to keep a record of how many times it happened. Max broke all the records. The first night he got up 217 times in two hours! (Our sleep therapist was amazed – before that the worst case had only been 84 times.) The next night it was much better – only a hundred and something. Within the week he was staying in bed. ’

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