As parents, the last thing we want is to see our children sad, upset or in pain. In fact, we’ll do anything we can to try to ease their suffering and help them feel safe, happy and loved.
But, as we know, sometimes children need to learn new habits, and it can be a bumpy road until they realize this is just the new, improved way of doing things. That is definitely the case with learning to sleep. For babies who have depended on bottles, breastfeeding and rocking to lull them back to dreamland every time they wake up, it can take a while to learn how to do it themselves.
One of the side effects of sleep training is that babies/children can temporarily protest the crib or their room. It’s no wonder. They associate these things with something they don’t like: Having to go to sleep on their own. This is a pretty common complaint, and many parents experience it when their babies or children start the process to go to sleep on their own. Some even tell me their babies start to cry the minute they walk them into the bedroom.
The good news is that it’s usually very short term. In fact, I often encourage parents to see it as a great thing. It means their child is very smart and has figured out that the bedtime routine now means they are getting close to going to bed. This is not necessarily a happy moment for your child because she doesn’t know how to do this yet and it is not what she’s used to. It’s only natural that she’s a little anxious.
With time and practice, though, your little one will get better and better at his own skills and will go to bed happily. In the meantime, just be patient and use soft, soothing tones when you put your baby to sleep. Remind him that it’s just bedtime and that everything will be okay. It often takes a very short time for babies/children to get over this fear and learn to put themselves to sleep.
Hang in there and soon enough your child will be going to bed without a fuss.