Mango Coco (great name) wrote in concerned about her toddler, who won’t go to sleep on his own. Rather, he wants mommy there! Smart kid!
Mango, you’re dealing with sleep training a toddler. Sleep training doesn’t just apply to newborn babies nor to older babies transitioning to the crib. Kids of all ages can start insisting on sleeping with mom and dad. Many parents are content with that, but for me co-sleeping didn’t work.
Sleep Training Toddler Tips
I lay out my tips for how to sleep train a child this age with this type of issue in today’s video. Check it out for all the bells and whistles, but in short, I say:
- Make the bed a home for your child that he wants to inhabit. Mobile, snuggly blanket, favorite furry friends. Once the fear of SIDS is past and your pediatrician has said that it’s ok to put these things in your child’s crib, go for it. Make the bed a social area. Your child will feel less lonely there and want to hang.
- You say your child is clinging to you at night and wanting you to stick around while he gets himself to sleep. That’s totally normal. Your child might be trying, though, to ensure that he gets bonding time with you. Try to put his fears at ease and give him this bonding time earlier, as part of the bedtime ritual. Spend time reading your kids a bedtime story or playing a game and try to make it a habit. When your child knows he can count on this time, he might be more willing to brave heading off to sleep on his own.
- If the game playing and book reading isn’t enough, and even if it is, consider adding another (short!) ritual that happens every single night. I sing my kids two songs. They are basic, silly songs but my kids have grown up on them. The songs are part of their night routine, and they insist on them! Find some of you own songs and get your vocal cords ready because as soon as you start singing those songs you’re going to be at it during their bedtime routine for a good, long time. You can also try telling old family stories but at the end of the day my creative juices run low so I opt for the songs.
Hope this helps and let me know how it goes.
Thanks for writing in, Mango Coco!