- Jessica Berk
Why SOLO Sleep is SO Important
Tell me if this sounds familiar?
Your kiddo used to sleep great in their crib… but THEN you put them in a big kid bed and everything went to shit. Did I nail it?
Now they’re popping up after lights out asking for a million things – sips of water, hugs, different stuffed animals, a potty break, new PJs because theirs just don’t feel good anymore.
After considering “maybe she really is thirsty?”, “maybe she really does need to go pee for a third time?” and inevitably realizing that none of these things are actually true, you start the cycle of begging... then pleading... then maybe yelling if you’re feeling really impatient.
So, out of desperation, you finally just lay down in her bed so she will go to sleep.
You probably don't want to do it. Or you have a vague idea that it's probably not the best decision. But we’ve all been there. Yes, even me. When my youngest moved to her big girl bed she transformed into a sleep-rebelling, fearful, mommy-attached child… it turned out I needed my husband to temporarily transform into a sleep coach so I could see my way out - but that’s a story for another day.
Anyway, back to my point…
While laying with your kiddo to fall asleep may feel like the easiest way to get them to sleep, it can be a slippery slope.
When kids naturally shift around during the night, they are going to look for the same conditions to be met as when they initially fell asleep. This is where you enter the picture.
If you’re laying with them while they fall asleep, they are going to start needing you to get back to sleep if they wake up overnight.
That’s when you start hearing “mommy, mommy” in the middle of the night and it doesn’t stop until you lay back down with them. Or, worse yet, you feel a tiny human crawling into your bed in the middle of the night. And then somehow shape shifting to take up an entire King size bed.
This is why your kiddo needs to become a SOLO Sleeper. Falling asleep alone at bedtime is KEY to restful sleep all night long with no wake ups. When your child falls asleep alone, they don’t need anyone else to help them get back to sleep if they wake overnight.
Now that I’ve drilled the importance of solo sleep into your head, how do you achieve it?
In order for your kid to get used to falling asleep alone, they have to experience it. Consistently.
So, slowly remove yourself from their process of falling asleep. Try sitting on the floor of their room instead of laying in the bed? Try excusing yourself to go to the bathroom instead of laying there the whole time? Once they fall asleep alone once, use over-the-top praise in the morning to reinforce it. Then repeat it the next night. Try to move farther away from the bed or stay gone a little longer when you excuse yourself.
If you can gradually remove yourself from the bed, you’re setting yourself up for some major benefits: more free time for yourself in the evening, improved sleep quality for your kid, less night wake ups and no more tiny shape shifting humans sneaking into your bed overnight!