Why Your Toddler Can’t Fall Asleep Alone
“My toddler won't sleep without me in the room!”
I hear this frustration all the time from moms.
Lots of us fall into the habit of staying with our kids until they fall asleep-- but if you don’t want to lay with your toddler at bedtime until they fall asleep, you shouldn’t have to!
So, say it loud and proud...
“I Don’t Want To Be A Prisoner in My Kids Room Anymore!”
I’m sure you can think of a bizillion things you’d rather be doing – heck, even cleaning the kitchen feels like a better use of your time.
But every time you try to get up and out of the room, your kid gets up too.
She won’t stay in bed without you.
She starts crying every time you try to leave.
And you know once she gets worked up, it takes even longer for her to fall asleep.
So you just stay there. Sometimes she might fall asleep quickly but lots of times it feels like she’s sleeping with one eye open to make sure you’re still in the room.
So you feel like you’re a prisoner in your toddler’s room at bedtime with no other choice but to stay with her until the falls asleep.
Figuring out how to get out of your toddler’s room feels complicated, overwhelming and emotional. But it doesn’t have to be!
Let me make it simple.
Today I’m going to reveal to you one of the core truths about sleep.
When you know and understand this truth, it can be a GAME CHANGER in terms of improving sleep at your house.
It is THE reason why your toddler won't sleep without you in the room.
But you really have to understand it.
And believe it.
And remind yourself of it even in the most difficult of moments.
Sleep can’t be taught. It’s instinctual.
The ONLY way for kids to learn how to
fall sleep alone is to experience it.
If we don’t understand this core belief, then sleep isn’t going to get better.
I’m going to repeat it again.
Sleep can’t be taught. It’s instinctual.
The ONLY way for kids to learn how to fall sleep alone is to experience it.
Sleeping is like walking or chewing.
No one teaches you, you just start doing it when your body is ready.
For most healthy babies, by 5 months old, they are developmentally-able to fall and stay asleep independently – without help from anyone or anything
Now I know what you’re thinking
“5 MONTHS OLD! My 3 year old won't go to sleep alone!”
Well, I said sleep was instinctual... but we as parents can still affect the process.
Let me give you an analogy.
Imagine when your child was 11 or 12 months old and they started to pull up on furniture to stand. What if you picked her up instead?
You were scared she would fall and get hurt so you picked her up.
Like every.single.time she started to pull up on something, you snatched her right up.
She was developmentally ready to start the first steps of learning how to walk, pulling herself to standing, but you stopped her every time by picking her up.
Now imagine her at 1.5 years old.
You’re still picking her up every single time she tries to stand up.
She doesn’t know how to walk yet because she’s never had the chance to try.
But her body is fully capable of walking if she could get some practice.
Let’s bring this back to sleep.
Like I said, after kids are 5 months old they are developmentally-able to fall asleep independently. Meaning, without ANY help from you. Without being rocked to sleep, without being nursed to sleep, without sleeping in your bed.
So fast forward a couple years to the toddlers that you have now and we can agree that they certainly SHOULD be capable of falling asleep alone – from a developmental & maturity standpoint. They may even do it in other places like daycare proving that they can do it.
Back to the baby who was learning how to walk, the one you kept picking up day after day.
Well, one day they got too big to carry around all the time and then you realize that maybe it’s time for them to walk.
You start to encourage it because you know that it’s what they should do.
You might help them a little at first – hold their fingers while they practice. Sit really close to their dad on the floor and let them walk a couple stumbly steps between the two of you.
But ultimately, eventually, even if it’s scary and even if they fall.
You have to let go.
Because, at the end of the day, the only way for her to learn how to walk – something that is no natural and instinctual – is to experience it.
You HAVE to believe that is true for your kid’s sleep, too.
If you are stuck laying in bed with your toddler while they fall asleep.
If you feel hopeless like there is no way you can get out of their room.
Remind yourself of this analogy. It’s like learning how to walk.
It’s instinctual. It’s in there. It just needs some practice.
You have to truly understand and KNOW this sleep truth in order to turn your kiddo into a solo sleeper. You have to realize, to know, to understand that they CAN do it. They just haven’t experienced it ENOUGH to become good at it – like learning how to walk.
Why is this so important to understand?
Because if you don’t believe that you child can fall asleep without you, you’ll give up.
You’ll stay feeling overwhelmed, confused and helpless and you’ll prevent them from maturing into the solo sleepers they should be.
If you're really just fed up, feeling stuck and feeling unsure that anything will actually work for your super stubborn kiddo, let's set up a free Sleep Strategy call to figure out how quickly we can get your kiddo sleeping solo. My personalized coaching service comes with the accountability and daily support that guarantees results. CLICK HERE