We often hear parents talking about their children wanting them to sleep or lie next to them before they sleep. Many children will often pair that with delay tactics before sleeping to keep their parents around for longer.
Children can behave in that way for a number of reasons, whether it be bad dreams or the worry that their parents are leaving them. This dependency is normal in young children so don’t worry but as they grow older, we want to help you find ways to help them sleep alone.
- Give your child a comfort object whether it be a stuffed toy or a large pillow. Having something that reassures them and makes them feel safe will help.
- Address their needs before they fall asleep. Many children use the delay tactics so you won’t leave whether it be using the bathroom or suddenly getting hungry. Before bed, make sure they have gone to the bathroom, have eaten enough food and have water by their bed.
- Teach them to be independent in their bedroom. Teach them how to use the bathroom light and how to know where everything is in their room. Allow them to pull the curtains so they know nothing is behind them.
- Talking about your child’s worries is great and if you do it often, well done! However, if your child has problems sleeping, try talking to them about worries during the day and not before bed.
- There are a number of relaxation techniques you can use to help your child feel comfortable in their own company from breathing to other self soothing. Keep your eyes peeled for another article on this from us.
- The Graduation Plan. Initially sit on a chair near your child until they fall asleep and gradually move the chair further and further away. In a few weeks, they hopefully should be able to sleep with you outside of the room.
- Leave the bedroom door open and a light on outside if it makes your child sleep better!