I have an 18 month old son who just won’t go to sleep alone. He was in a good routine and he did go to sleep alone, but this last month or so he just won’t.
We have tried story tapes, music, and reading, everything I can think of. But it takes for me or my partner to lay next to his cot for him to go. We have now put him into a bed as he didn’t like his cot anymore this hasn’t helped either.
Any advice would be greatly received.Baby Help Line:
How To Handle Toddler That Won’t Sleep Alone
For a start, 18 months is a development period and it is very common that even really good sleepers start waking up at night or refuse to go to bed alone all of a sudden. So your son is normal and you haven’t done anything wrong at all. Rather, you seem to be doing a lot of good things to help him!
What is often missing in all those “sleep-through-the-night-miracle-methods” is that the authors fail to inform their readers that just because a baby learns to fall asleep and stay asleep alone, there are no guarantees that this will continue.
Actually, as children go through their development stages, it is more likely than not that they will have periods when their sleep in not so good; they are scared, have nightmares or simply need to test their parent’s limits. Tough but true!
That said, there are still things we parents can do to make these shaky period pass as fast as possible. In your case, my suggestion would be to slowly getting him used to falling asleep further away from you. Continue reading him a bed time story and maybe sing a lullaby. First you move away from his cot just slightly for a couple of days, then you sit up, still close to the bed, then move a little further away from it etc…
Don’t make it into a power struggle, but rather let him get used to the new situation slowly. Within a few weeks, you are likely to sit close to the door, reading a book. Not an awful way to spend 30 minutes… Then you can try to get out of his sight, but make sure he can still hear you.
In my experience, this works much better (and is much quicker!) with older babies than trying to play hard ball.
Try it and remember the reason why he is fussing – his mind is expanding and he really can’t help it. Within a couple of months he will be calmer again and easier to put to bed. (Only to become fussier again later on…)
Good luck, and please let me know how things develop.
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