Try quitting cold turkey
Sometimes the best option is to simply tell your child you love her and wish her a good night of sleep, then leave, closing the door and ignoring any shouts. Give her a few minutes to cry it out and see if she falls asleep on her own. This isn’t easy to do, and it won’t be effictive if she simply works herself into hysteria or climbs out of bed and chases you down the hallway. For those situations, try some of the following suggestions.
- Make your own sleep soundtrack
If your child is soothed by the sound of your voice and it helps her fall asleep, rather than spending 15 (or 20, or 30) minutes in the room singing to her, try making a soundtrack of your voice as you sing lullabies or otherwise soothe her before bed. Tell her you’ll read her a story or sing to her for 10 minutes, but then you have to leave. If she’s good and doesn’t fuss, however, you’ll put on the soundtrack so that she can continue to listen to you as she nods off. It should help your child fall asleep, and it frees you from a cumbersome bedtime ritual. Many kids who fuss when a parent leaves respond well to this compromise.
- Fade away
Create a bedtime ritual where you slowly fade away. Start by reading her a story or singing to her by her bedside. Then tuck her in, give her kisses, and go sing to her by the door as opposed to by her bed. Then after a similar period of time, blow her a kiss and tell her goodnight, then leave, whether she’s asleep or not. It may sound basic, but this often works because it isn’t such a shock to a child’s system. When you’re right there and then suddenly you’re not, it’s easy for panic to set in. Adding this tansitionary phase can alleviate that. Many kids will fall asleep with you by the door and it’s easier to sneak away, even if they don’t fall asleep, it’s not as big of a change to have you leave when you’re not right there in front of them, so they’re apt to handle the transition better.