I started the Dana Obelman sleep training program and am a bit stuck - the training involves sitting in a chair and every 3?days moving the chair closer to the door until you are finally out of the room and they fall asleep in their own. Even though my daughter is only 2, I have moved her to a big girl bed (long story). Unfortunately due to several circumstances I didn’t start to move the chair away after the 3 days and now it’s been about a month and although she was sleeping on her own without me rocking or holding her hand anymore I am now stuck in her room and need to do this every time she wakes at night. I’m not sure how to restart the process. The other dilemma I’m having that seems even harder to deal with is now she won’t stay in bed and keeps getting up, whereas before I would tell her to stay in bed and she would. I’m also thinking about the fact that she uses a soother to get to sleep and if I should do all these changes at once or do them separately. The last challenge I’m finding is that she is doing things to keep herself awake like kicking the wall, talking to herself etc. If I insist on her staying quiet and still she falls asleep fairly quickly - if I leave her to her own devices it takes up to an hour or more for her to finally get to sleep. I don’t mind her taking long to fall asleep as I can just put her in bed a bit earlier so she can do that but the other issues need to be remediated. Any advice?
If she's falling asleep on her own and staying in her bedroom, I don't see the issue.
If she is getting up, my first thought is that you might want a longer bedtime routine. Ours isn't perfect, but it looks something like this and has worked fairly well for the past two years:
- Bedtime snack
- Floss and brush. She'll do a bit, then I'll actually brush her teeth.
- Three stories. This really helps us wind down.
- Turn on her nightlight (Twilight Turtle FTW), let/help her turn off the lights
- Three songs + "last song", which she usually asks for :)
- Prior to the last song of the night, offer water
For stories, we're currently enjoying Mo Willems "Elephant and Pig" series. For songs, anything you can sing is great. My singing is so bad my wife cringes basically every time, but my daughter doesn't know any better yet. I like to sing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" and "ABC" together since they share the same melody. I also do the same melody for the numbers 1-21. If you're looking for more songs, check out anything by Raffi or Caspar Babypants.
If she won't go to sleep after all of this and we've already had a couple "I want water", "Turn the light on", "I have to go potty for the third time" breaks, I eventually warn her that getting up will result in me putting her back in bed without engaging with her verbally. She enjoys this the first few times, hates it the next few, and eventually gives up and goes to sleep.
It takes quite a while and it's no fun, but I haven't heard any better suggestions that didn't just sound like wishful thinking. We've only had to do this whole sad routine twice though - fingers crossed.
Unfortunately due to several circumstances I didn’t start to move the chair away after the 3 days and now it’s been about a month and although she was sleeping on her own without me rocking or holding her hand anymore I am now stuck in her room and need to do this every time she wakes at night.
If you are there when she falls asleep she will expect you to be there when she wakes up. That's the point of moving the chair, so that she feels you are there, but can't see you, so when she wakes up, she's not surprised you aren't at her bedside.
You need to have her fall asleep when you are not next to her.
The other trick in this vein I've heard is to excuse yourself from her room for short intervals, and keep increasing how long you are out of her room, and eventually, she will fall asleep while you are out.
At my house, we have a music player, and I instruct mine that I can't stay unless she lies quiet, and closes her eyes and listens to the music. (Telling kids what to do is more effective than telling them what not to do) I stay for a song or two, not more. Music might help your kid to not stimulate herself into staying awake.