Mission: Getting Toddler to Fall Asleep on His Own: Weeks 4 and 5
I can’t believe it has been five weeks since we started our mission to get our toddler, Smarty Pants, to fall asleep on his own. To get the full scoop on how this mission started, check out the intro article to this series here.
In a nutshell, we are trying to get our toddler to fall asleep on his own using a gradual method that we read about in “Supernanny” by Jo Frost. The method works by first sitting on the floor beside the toddler’s bed while he falls asleep, and moving farther from the bed and closer to the door with each successive night. You do this until you are outside of the bedroom door, and bim bala boom, your toddler is falling asleep on his own with you outside of the room.
Everything is still going well for us, but our progress has been slow. We are just past the foot of his bed now, which means we are a little over halfway between the head of Smarty Pants’ bed and his bedroom door. I think we have to start making our approach toward the door a bit quicker, otherwise we will literally be on this mission until next year.
In any case, we are happy with our accomplishments so far…
We can get out of the bed after completing his bedtime ritual and he doesn’t protest. This is a big change from the beginning of this journey, especially Night 3, where we faced huge protests at even the slightest attempt to leave his bed before he fell asleep.
Now, we say “Goodnight” and “I love you,” and we get out of the bed and take a seat on the cold floor at the foot of his bed. He turns to his side and falls asleep.
There have been a couple of odd nights where he tried to hold me back from getting out of the bed. Perhaps he was feeling a bit nostalgic, but I still was able to get out of the bed without any major issues.
One night from the past two weeks that really stands out occurred a couple of nights ago when I had to leave the room to help Love Buns out with Sweet Cheeks. I told Smarty Pants that I had to leave the room, and he was okay with it. He fell asleep on his own with me outside of the room. I don’t think that ever would have happened before this mission started. That night gave me hope that we will one day see the light at the end of this long, dark, tunnel.
One other really nice point worth noting is that Smarty Pants now wakes up less often at night, or maybe he wakes up and falls back asleep on his own without calling us. This is great, as it gives him and us a better nights sleep (except for Love Buns, who is feeding Sweet Cheeks at night, bless her heart). Also, sometimes when he wakes up in the morning, he proudly says, “I slept all by myself.”
So, based on my experiences so far, if you are trying to get your toddler to fall asleep on his own, and you have the time and the patience, I recommend trying out this approach. It is working for us so far, although we are moving slower than a blind nun driving the scenic route on a Sunday.
Stay tuned for additional updates of our progress on this mission.
Flickr photo courtesy of Julie Campbell
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