Just walk away while they’re a screaming infant? (No, not infants) Believe it or not, there is a ‘method’ called the Ferber Method also known as the ‘cry it out’ method. Are you one of the parents with dark circles under your eyes…the ‘walking zombies’?
You learn to know when something is amiss over time with your crying baby and taking the time to find out what is wrong. Then there’s the baby crying at times during the wee hours of the night because they have been left alone in a crib to go to sleep. You begin to understand the signals between the two of you and see that there are options other than hovering over them constantly.
Sleep is the most common subject that comes up with pediatricians. A child learning to soothe themselves to sleep is a skill children can learn. Yes you still cuddle before bed, rock them in the rocker, nurse them or just hold them close. The point of ‘self soothing’ happens when you lay them down to sleep and they wake up from their sleep through the night. They learn to finish the job of sleeping on their own.
Start when your baby is a few months old and establish a routine:
- Freshen up with a bath
- Jammies on and rubbing their gums or brushing their gums gently
- Favorite book that settles them down
Bedtime is Not Play Time
Set those limits and enforce them. When your baby is sleepy-not asleep, put them to bed. If they start to cry, wait before rushing into the room. When you do go in, don’t rush to pick them up. Talk softly and soothe them with your voice. I know, you’re picturing the screaming and can’t imagine letting them lay there. Ideally, you don’t let it go into screaming and if you’re totally deprived of sleep at night, try this technique during naptime. You’ll be able to be more responsive if you’re fully awake. This is for babies 6 months and older, so don’t leave your infant screaming.
It’s okay if you don’t want to use this method, but I have to say it worked for all three of our children. We also used classical music to soothe them to sleep. Our daughter used her vacuum or white noise to help her children go to sleep.
Imagination Can Stop Sleep for Your Child
Your child has been sleeping through the night when all of a sudden they start waking up with nightmares. From toddler to preschooler, those little guys have fantastic imaginations. Unfortunately, they also have those imaginations appear in their dreams. Limit exposure to scarey items like TV, movies, books and your conversations. Let your child know they are loved and safe if they wake up with nightmares. Show and tell them you are not going away, and again…they are safe.
Sometimes we don’t take those ‘extra pair of ears’ into account when we’re loudly discussing with our spouse or discussing the latest child being kidnapped or exploited. Yes, the walls have ears.