How to Help Children Learn to Go to Sleep on Their Own: 6 Steps
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Provide your child with something cuddly to keep him safe and secure at night.

Nothing is more beautiful than rocking a newborn baby to sleep. Fast forward a few years and your beautiful, serene infant has transformed into a crying, pleading creature of habit. Children develop sleep habits, and your toddler or preschooler’s might include having Mommy or Daddy rock or cuddle him to sleep. Much like picking his nose or eating the treasures found inside, it’s possible to break your child’s unwanted sleeping habits and teach him how to enter dreamland without your assistance.


  1. 1
    Wear your child out as much as possible throughout the day. If you’re home together, make it a point to run him ragged in the backyard or the park. After preschool or daycare, take him for a walk or play a game of tag outdoors. Run and play out that extra energy to make it easier for your child to fall asleep.
  2. 2
    Design a bedroom that’s ideal for sleeping, and let your child help. Allow him to pick out his own “Avengers” sheet set, complete with a giant “Incredible Hulk” toy to snuggle with. Install heavy curtains or shades on the windows to block out any light from street lamps or cars and, most importantly, take out the TV. The bright lights and noise of a television can excite, frighten and generally rile your sleepy child back up.
  3. 3
    Create a bedtime routine. recommends following the “4 B’s of Bedtime”: bath, brushing, book and bedtime. About one hour before your child’s bedtime, give him a soothing bath, brush your teeth together, read him his favorite story and tuck him in for the night. Maintaining this soothing, calming routine will help your child wind down before bed.
  4. 4
    Tuck your child in, kiss him goodnight and remind him that you are right down the hall. Put your child in bed while he’s really drowsy but still awake. If your child begins to cry or expects you to remain at his bedside, quietly remind him that he’s a big boy before handing him a comfort item, such as a favorite stuffed toy or blanket, and walking out of the room.
  5. 5
    Resist the urge to climb into bed with your child. This might have been your sure-fire way of getting him to fall asleep in the past, but this won’t help teach him how to put himself to sleep. Instead, the Mayo Clinic recommends telling your child that you will check up on him every 10 minutes until he falls asleep. When you check in, don’t climb into bed or hug the child, instead tell your child you’re proud of how he’s staying in bed and keeping quiet.
  6. 6
    Praise and hug your child every morning that he is able to fall asleep on his own. Once he gets out of bed, give him a big hug and kiss and cook a special “big boy” breakfast, complete with his favorite chocolate chip pancakes.

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Categories: Education and Communications

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