Mission: Getting Toddler to Fall Asleep on his own – Nights 1 and 2
Note, please read the introduction to this Series at “Mission: Getting Toddler to Fall Asleep on his own – the Chronicles Begin” if you haven’t already – it will help you understand this article better.
t=0 minutes: Just finished the good-night ritual and Smarty Pants is pretty sleepy. He is on the verge of falling asleep. Gotta quickly get out of the bed so he doesn’t fall asleep with me in the bed.
t+1 minute: I am sitting beside the bed on the floor. I explained to Smarty Pants that he is going to be a big boy and fall asleep with me outside the bed. He is sitting upright and crying a bit, asking me to come back into the bed. My response: “Just sleep, its okay, I’m right here.”
t+2 minutes: Still some more demands for me to come into the bed. He is still sitting upright. Me, periodically: “Just sleep.”
t+3 minutes: Smarty Pants lies down, in the middle of the bed, looking at me. Crying subsides. He asks me one more time if I can come into the bed beside him. He seems to be dozing off. Me: “Sleep, its okay.”
t+4 minutes: Smarty Pants appears to be asleep now. Eyes closed. Breathing softly. The sweet smell of success is entering my nostrils. I wait and try not to make any sudden moves that might destroy this moment of tranquility.
t+5 minutes: Smarty Pants is still asleep. I am still not moving. Better to err on the side of caution.
t+6 minutes: I decide he is sleeping deeply enough for me to justify a movement. I slowly get up and leave the room.
Night 1 was a success, but I was partly aided by Smarty Pants’ exhaustion. Nevertheless, I am satisfied with the results so far. He fell asleep quickly and with minimal crying or complaining, and no strong cries or screams.
For Night 2 I will try the same again, but sitting slightly farther from the bed. I am curious to see how it will go…
Night 2 was not quite as easy as Night 1….
t-1 minute: Smarty Pants is really exhausted. He is almost dozing off as I lie in bed with him, singing him his bedtime song. I don’t want him to fall asleep while I am lying in his bed though. So, I finish up the song, say “I love you” and “Goodnight” and exit the bed.
t=0 minutes: Sitting beside the bed now, slightly farther away than Night 1. Smarty Pants sits up immediately.
t+1 minute: Smarty Pants is lying reversed in the bed. Feet by his pillow, head at the edge of the bed, as close to me as possible. He is crying and asking me to come to bed.
t+3 minutes: I have been repeating the word “Sleep” intermittently for the past 2 minutes. Situation still the same.
t+4 minutes: Smarty Pants has now turned back around, head by the pillow again. Still crying. Doubts are running through my head as I sit half-naked on the cold floor. It is really tempting to just crawl into the warm bed under the covers and just lie with him for a couple of minutes while he falls asleep.
t+5 minutes: I wonder if he thinks I am rejecting him, or if this will have a negative impact on our relationship. I do not want him to think I am abandoning him.
t+7 minutes: After several more requests for me to come into the bed, and several more responses from me of “Sleep” and “Its okay,” the crying starts to subside.
t+8 minutes: He’s asleep. I slowly get up and leave the room. Thinking: “This is going to be a bit harder than I thought.”
Little do I know what I am in for….
What do you think? Have you tried something similar before, and was it successful?
Stay tuned for more of this series, coming soon to the Dad Jam!
**Flickr photo courtesy of “bethography – melting mama”
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