We finally decided that the time is right to sleep train the Munchkin. He is still largely parented all the way to sleep, with a good wind down routine followed by me or hubby sitting by his bed, holding his hand (at his insistence) until he falls asleep. Previous attempts to leave the room with him still awake have resulted in meltdowns, or at the very least a shout of “No!”
With a new baby on the way, we can’t possibly spend 2 hours every evening putting our nearly 3 year old to sleep, so he is going to have to learn to do some of it on his own. Up until lights off point, nothing has changed, but the method of sleep training we have embarked upon is that of Controlled Giggling (sadly not covered in the book, pictured left).
It’s very simple. The light goes off, his night light goes on. He gets cuddles and kisses from us both and we leave the room. When he giggles we ignore him for increasing increments of time, then go in, settle him back down and then leave again. It hasn’t yet got to the five minute mark as he comes running out into the hall grinning and laughing long before then, so one of us escorts him back to bed and does the above.
The first two nights of this, he only emerged from his room, red faced from laughing so hard, twice before going quiet and going to sleep. Last night, however, he regressed somewhat and it took a good 7 or 8 attempts to resettle him before he gave up and went to sleep. I hear that this is normal and that our approach should remain unchanged. If, however, he takes to deliberately laughing so hard he vomits, in order to manipulate us, we should start lining his bed with towels, so that we can clean up as quickly as possible without looking at him. He currently has a 2.5 tog child’s duvet, but we are considering upping this to 14 tog for the winter, as per the very excellent advice available from reputable sleep trainers online.
Now I just need to find an appropriate sleep training method for myself, as I’m currently up and writing this at 3.40am, having tossed and turned for an hour and a half due to terrible back ache. I wonder if the more aggressive sleep training method, Giggle it Out, would be effective in my case? I’ll have to talk to hubby about it as he would have to completely ignore me no matter how hard I laugh or for how long. It’s a lot of pressure on him.