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Home » Toddler

Mission: Getting Toddler to Fall Asleep on his own – Nights 1 and 2

Submitted by on Wednesday, 22 October 20085 Comments

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.

Night 1:

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.

There will be tears, unfortunately

There will be tears, unfortunately

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

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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  • [...] minute:  Smarty Pants is tired, but not as tired as Nights 1 and 2.  He is still pretty sleepy as I sing him his good night song, but isn’t quite dozing off [...]

  • Neisa Lowry says:

    Good evening,
    After trying unsuccessfully for an hour to get my little man to fall asleep, (in our bed, with me lying next to him which is the same thing I do every night) I decided it’s time to find a way to get him to sleep in his own bed permanently. I admit, it is my fault he depends on falling asleep next to me in our bed because it makes it so I can nurse his baby sister to sleep while making sure he falls asleep too. The only problem is that I usually fall asleep after he does and that makes the bed a bit cramped when my hubby gets home from work and crawls into bed next to the three of us. Weve tried several ways to get him to sleep on his own, in his own bed, but nothing worked. So I’m going to try this. My little man is 19 months old and tonight is night 1… Took 1 1/2 hours, baby girl fell asleep after 1/2 hour of rocking her while sitting on the floor, little man would cry/scream for a bit then play with the wall with his feet, then try to hold my hair (he has an obsession with my hair) then cry/scream when I gently put his hand on his bed and told him “it’s okay, go to sleep,” and then he’d repeat the cycle. (baby girl is starting to get used to sleeping through his screams.) he finally fell asleep though and I was so very happy. It’s gonna be pretty hard to accomplish this task since I am home alone with the kids at bedtime, but I am determined to make it happen… It’ll be nice to have my own bed back. And I pretty much just wrote a novel but in my defense, I’m excited that I finally found something that just might work so I had to tell all.

  • Head Jammer says:

    Hi Neisa, thank you for your comment and story! I wish you the best of luck! Looking back through this series of posts, I definitely ran into some difficult nights, and the beginning was the hardest. I hope this works for you. After it finally worked it was a really great feeling. Good luck!!

  • Liz says:

    Thank you so much for posting this series. We have had these issues with my 2 year old and are expecting our second child in 6 weeks. I want to get our daughter on the path to being able to sleep on her own without being held or snuggled. I cannot do the Feber method and the more attachment style methods just don’t work for her personality. Reading this series gave me hope. I bought the Supernanny book in the same day and applied the techniques that night. We have only gone through night 1 and I would declare a small victory (though the war is far from over) After 40 minutes of me sitting next to the bed, my daughter actually layed calmly and fell asleep. I was stunned! Her nighttime waking only took 15 minutes to get her settled and asleep again. Unfortunately at the 3:30 am visit I was too tired to continue and let her in bed with us. I finally have hope and can see a light at the end of a tunnel. Thanks again for sharing your experience – even if I’m 5 years late to this conversation.

  • Head Jammer says:

    Liz, you’re very welcome! I wish you the best of luck with it!

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