Countless parents have this same story.
With a tiny baby at home, you are desperate for sleep.
Getting up every few hours feels like torture.
So you do all the things, and when they don’t work, you try different things.
And when those don’t work so you try something that worked for a friend,
something that you read about online,
something the doctor said.
Anything that is available, you try it.
For a long time, my son slept in bed with me.
Eventually, he grew uncomfortable in our bed.
So when he switched to his own bed, he insisted that I sleep with him there.
Instead of fighting, I got myself an extra blanket, and curled into a ball at the foot of his bed each night.
I know other parents set up a mattress on the floor.
It was comfy enough, and I didn’t mind doing it — but then he kept climbing out of bed and wanted to play.
If I ignored, the attention-seeking escalated.
If I was firm or gentle, he would laugh at me and still not go back to bed.
I hadn’t minded him sleeping in my bed, I just wanted to sleep.
So I was at a loss, constantly wondering, What do I do?
He didn’t know how to self-soothe, and I didn’t know how to teach him.
How would he ever sleep independently if he couldn’t get himself to sleep?
The problem with this approach, of jumping in and trying anything and everything, is that it backfires.
And it is simply because the child doesn’t know what to expect.
Consider how child care workers structure their days.
They have a predictable routine.
This reduces decision-fatigue, arguing, and deal-making that can turn into such drama.
It’s a fact:
Predictable patterns develop trust.
When children feel uncertain, they cry.
When certain about what comes next, they can trust that you have their best interests in mind.
If the nighttime routine is always changing, they simply don’t know what to expect.
Let’s develop a routine that supports you and your child.
We can do that today. Honestly. It can take less than an hour.
Less time than you are probably trying to settle your child at night time.