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  1. #1

    getting a stubborn little girl to sleep

    One of my biggest obstacles is getting my three-year-old to sleep at night. We've been co-sleeping for years because when she was still an infant, she always slept better when she has company. It's okay with me to have our child sleep in our bed, but sometimes she takes such a long time and I get impatient especially when I want or need to get out of bed to do something else. She can take an hour (or even two!) just tossing and turning in bed, and I'm left there just waiting! Any tips on getting a toddler to fall sleep quickly?

    Also, I think it would be a good time to teach her to sleep on her own. How can I encourage her to do that?

  2. #2
    Dear maryabonita,

    Thank you for your question. This really is a difficult question for many, many parents and, unfortunately, there are no definitive answers. However, please take hope that there are some gentle techniques that you can use to encourage your little girl to fall asleep quicker and to start to fall asleep on her own.

    It's wonderful that you have been co-sleeping with her for so long. There is evidence that this builds independence socially of the very young and it will have also been an important bonding time.

    Do you have a good bedtime routine? This could include some winding down time in the hour leading up to bedtime and a story, song and cuddles.

    In terms of falling asleep more quickly - do you think she is having enough exercise and socialisation opportunities each day? Does she enjoy outdoor activities and sports? It's also important to make sure screen time is kept to a minimum, particularly in the few hours leading up to bedtime. Does she eat well generally? In particular, too much sugar can stop children from falling asleep.

    You could gradually move away from co-sleeping. So, for example, first say you want to sit by her bed and cuddle her to sleep from there (if you usually cuddle in bed). Then, when she is happy with this, gradually move away from the bed further and further towards the door each night. This method is sometimes called the 'moving chair' method. It depends on your own feelings as to how and when you want to respond to her if she calls out for you during this time. You can take it very slowly and gradually.

    You could also invest in a 'sleep training clock'. For example, a 'gro clock' shows stars at the night time (time period that you set) and a sun in the daytime so they know when to get out of bed/ call to you.

    A comforter in bed with her may help at night too. Does she have a favourite toy that would be safe to have in bed? Some children fall asleep to music.

    Please post back and let us know what you think.
    Warm wishes,
    Last edited by ljmarsden; 29th April 2014 at 07:06 AM.

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