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My daughter will only let me put her to bed in the evening and not my wife. In fact she will not respond at all until the morning to her, whether its getting up for a pee or a wander or a drink. It must be daddy take her to the toilet or put her back in her bed. She is always fine with me and will do what shes told and will go back to bed no problem. When my wife gets involved she hides behind me, tells my wife to go away, that she doesnt want her etc. Its really quite hurtful and it has been going on for a year now.

I have a 3 year old girl and a 1 year old boy. When my boy was born (a year ago), my wife had so stay in hospital for a week which left me looking after my daughter for a week. We were not able to visit for several days. After the birth I tended to put my daughter to bed and my wife would deal with my newborn.

We have a simple routine where I read her 3 books, then turn the light off. She asks me to stay with her, which I do and involves sitting for a few minutes before she nods off. I used to lie in the bed and do this but I have not done this for a while, I just sit /lie on the floor for a few mins. I have never minded doing this as I work all day and only get to see her a short time before shes sleeping.

We have tried various methods to try and have mum put her to bed but its always the same outcome. My daughter will get more and more worked up to the point she is severly distressed, shaking and crying.

Does anyone have any advice as to how I can get mummy back into the picture at night and be able to put her daughter to bed?

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    Has there been any occasion where mum was alone to put her to bed? You actually not being in the house? If I'm there my daughter will not let her dad put her to bed. If I'm out there's no problem... – Nimloth Feb 3 at 19:59
  • Yes there has been. Surprisingly few though as I always try to be there because it is so much easier to put them to bed with two of us there. (I have so much respect for single parents!) If I am out she will eventually accept my wife putting her to bed but if she knows i am there then it must be me. – Alan McLean Feb 4 at 17:25
  • I found with my 3 that their allegiance would change sometimes they preferred one then the other - reason for change: absolutely no clue... – Solar Mike Feb 5 at 12:33
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Your daughter may have formed an association between you being present and her sleeping. Eliminate this association gradually (over a week or so) by staying with her progressively less and less time immediately before her going to sleep. Keep the rest of the routine (brushing, bathtime, reading, etc) the same, as you see fit.

She asks me to stay with her, which I do and involves sitting for a few minutes before she nods off. I used to lie in the bed and do this but I have not done this for a while, I just sit /lie on the floor for a few mins.

Richard Ferber warns about forming associations in the child's brain between falling asleep and the parent being in the room (Ferber (2006)). This likely includes the parent sitting or lying in the child's room, as is the case here. When the child wakes up in the middle of the night, they want the familiar association back in order to fall asleep. So they demand the parent - in your case, the same parent who was there to put them to sleep in the first place. By contrast, if the child learns to soothe themselves to sleep, parents (including any specific parent) are not required during the night awakenings in order to get back to sleep.

That is, solve the more general problem of anyone else (other than the child themselves) soothing the child to sleep, and your more specific problem of the child requiring the father instead of the mother will be solved too.

REFERENCE:

Richard Ferber (2006) Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems. Fireside, New York.

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    Thank you for replying. I will try this and get back to you inabout a weeks time to let you know how I got on. – Alan McLean Feb 4 at 17:22
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I hope this isn't too blunt, but you have answered your own question:

I have never minded doing this as I work all day and only get to see her a short time before shes sleeping.

Night-Night time is Daddy time. That has become a fixed association for her. If this is upsetting to your wife, then you need to explain it to her. For starters, little girls always have a special relationship with their Daddy. You are her hero and protector. (enjoy it while its lasts, before you know it she'll be whinging to her mother about how old and uncool you are :-)) But more than this, children always miss the parent that is absent the most. Sadly for you, but happily for your wife, "missing" doesn't equate to bonding.

Personally I see noting wrong with it, but if for some reason you want to break the association, then you must give her other time that is daddy-time.

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