The little one has arrived at your house and has settled in. He spends most of his nights spoiling yours, but you still want to sleep with him! Then one day you think it’s better for him, and for you, to let him sleep alone. But this change cannot be improvised! For everything to go well, you will have to teach your baby to change his habits and go to sleep alone.
Preparing your child to sleep alone
It is preferable to introduce a “sleeping alone” routine from the age of 3 to 4 months. Before that, your child will experience a stressful feeling of abandonment. But of course, it also depends on the little one in question. Some may ’emancipate’ earlier, others later.
The child needs to understand that even if he is alone, he is safe. The feeling of insecurity is strong in toddlers. It is therefore necessary to set up a sleeping ritual that will reassure them and to go there gradually.
The “sleeping alone” adventure
For your baby to fall asleep, he needs to feel good. You can reassure him by telling him a gentle story. Your tone of voice should be soft and calm. It’s as if you wanted to hypnotise your baby without overdoing it!
You also need to work on yourself. If you are afraid to let your child sleep alone, he won’t feel well and won’t understand why you are afraid. You need to be reassured to let your baby sleep alone.
A cosy corner
Ideally, baby should have his own room, but this is not always the case. If he or she has to share with a sibling, create a secluded space where he or she is king. A comfortable bed, a mild temperature (19°) and total darkness are all important considerations. If baby is alone in his room, his favourite toys should be close to him. Even if he can’t see them, he knows they are there.
Go to bed, baby!
Once the psychological preparations have been made, it’s time to put your child to bed alone.
Your child needs a strong relationship with his parents. And to fall asleep too. Don’t hesitate to spend long minutes cuddling and bonding with him before going to bed. Be completely with him and not with one eye on the tablet and the other on the TV. Your child will feel more relaxed and serene. This will make it less stressful for them to sleep alone.
Devising a sleeping routine to help baby
A young child needs habits. You will therefore need to integrate a new ritual into his “schedule”. For example, you can bathe him (the bath helps to relax baby), cuddle him and then put him to bed and tell him a story. Gentle activities will help him understand that it is time to move from wakefulness to sleep. Do these activities every day. Your baby will eventually associate them with the sleep stage. When your baby starts to fall asleep, leave the room slowly. You can leave a nightlight on if it reassures your child.
It is also useful for the child to find exactly what he saw before he fell asleep as soon as he opens his eyes during his night-time micro-awakenings. Did he have a nightlight? It should always be on. Were you there? You must still be there! So remember to leave before your child falls asleep, otherwise he will call out for you, and what better way to do that than to scream?
And a cuddly toy!
His favourite cuddly toy is also a very useful accessory to help baby feel good and therefore fall asleep better. He will feel less lonely when he hugs his favourite soft toy. When he wakes up in the middle of the night, he will be able to caress it and find his companion. He will then be reassured and will be able to fall back asleep more easily.