Q: My husband and I admit that we give in too easily when our 16-month-old son wakes in the middle of the night, crying for us. We bring him to our bed and often spend the remainder of the night warding off his squirms and kicks. What can we do to get him to settle in alone so that he won't wake in the middle of the night, or if he does, he'll put himself back to sleep?
A: The solution to this problem is never easy. It must begin with a commitment to the rule that your child isn't allowed in your bed. Parents without the problem you've been experiencing can bend the rule (such as for early morning family bed sessions) and eventually you may be able to as well. But for now, you have to make a firm commitment. Next, work on the rest of the day. An overtired child is a one who will have trouble falling asleep and who is more likely to wake more often. Make sure naps are scheduled and preserved. Make sure your child's days are not over filled and hectic. The final step is putting your child to bed in his own bed and then continually returning him to his bed when he objects or gets up. This may take as long as a week, but it'll work if you're persistent. You'll get tired, but in the long run you'll be rewarded with better nights sleeps.
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