Are you exhausted and at your wits’ end from the constant nightly visits of your child or children? Maybe your child just won’t stay in bed when you turn off the lights and say good night. If that is the case, then I am here to assure you that there is hope. You don’t have to endure years or even months or weeks worrying about your toddler’s sleeping habits and wondering when you yourself will be able to get a good night’s sleep. Pediatrician and sleep researcher Marc Weissbluth, MD, teaches a simple but effective strategy for getting young children to sleep in their own bed. When you finish reading this article, you will have the tools to implement this method.
The underlying premise of the Weissbluth method is that unless a young child experiences some other unmet need (such as hunger or pain), the rationale for not staying in bed is because it is more enjoyable or exciting not to be in bed. bed. bed. Children transitioning from crib to bed may be curious about what happens after bedtime. The rest of the house can seem more exciting than your own bedroom. After sleeping together as babies, young children are used to having their parents close by while they sleep. It is more pleasant to be with their parents than to be in their bedroom, so they want to go find their parents instead of staying in bed. The following method will work for getting toddlers to sleep in their own bed in both situations.
The solution to getting young children to sleep in their own bed, then, is to make it boring and unrewarding for the child to get out of bed. Negative consequences are not necessarily necessary, just patience and perseverance on the part of the parents. Dr. Weissbluth calls his method the “silent return to bed.” Explain to your child that from now on he will not be able to get out of bed until morning. Tell him that you love him very much but that if he gets up you will put him back to bed without talking to him or looking at his face. Once the child has been laid down, snuggled, cuddled, and finished any other normally occurring bedtime routine, the parent is positioned outside the bedroom door so that they are close to but not visible to the child. When the child tries to leave the room, the parents calmly pick him up, without saying anything or even looking him in the eye, and return him to bed.
The idea is to stay as quiet and unemotional as possible. For a child seeking parental attention, even negative emotions or disapproval can be an incentive to keep trying, and of course hugs and words of comfort or reassurance are just as strong motivators. You may have to use the “silent return to bed” dozens or even hundreds of times a night for a few nights, but your child will eventually give up and stay in bed. The entire process generally takes less than a week. Getting young children to sleep in their own bed can be a frustrating and exhausting process, but you will be successful if you persevere and remain consistent.