Avoid Stimulai When Kids Are In Bed
This may sound like a no brainer, but when you tuck your kids in and turn out the light try to avoid any kind of stimulai thereafter, such as singing lullabies, touching them, talking to them, etc. This will only prolong the sleep process.
When my children would have trouble going down, or call out to us in the middle of the night, I would walk into their room and simply stand there in the dark near the bed. This gave them comfort, knowing that I was there. If they whined, reached out for a hug, asked me a question or tried to engage me in conversation, I would not respond - because doing so would teach them that bedtime was a time for something other than sleeping. Eventually they began to realize that their efforts were futile, and they began to fall asleep faster, with less intervention from me.
Conversely, when my wife would go into the room, she would sit on the bed, give back rubs. sing a lullaby, talk to them, try to soothe them, etc. And as soon as she would stop and try to leave, they would start whining again. She would spend an average of an hour or more a night doing this, and sometimes have to repeat the process, whereas I spent 15 to 20 minutes - tops. I told her my system, but she didn't think it felt right. And on some level, I would agree - I wanted to comfort my child, but I knew where that would lead. All said and done, on the nights when I put the kids to bed, my system got the children to go down faster and stay down, whereas my wife's system resulted in long wind-downs and more frequent wake-ups.