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How to wean a child to sleep with parents

Together with a child psychologist, we analyze ways to do this without stress and screaming.

When is it time to move the child to a separate bed

A baby's sleep with a nursing mother is consideredJames McKenna. The dream of a child. Safer Nearby good practice, good for the child's mental state. However, this is only true if it is convenient for parents.

Children's sleep specialist Richard Ferber claims in his book that in 25 years of work he has not found any undeniable advantages of sharing or separate sleep. He writes that any mode will be right, as long as it is convenient for you and everything is going well.

But even if you and your child get enough sleep and both partners are satisfied with this state of affairs, sooner or later you will have to move the baby to a separate bed.

Ksenia Nesyutina Child psychologist.

It is better to do this before the crisis of three years – a period of active separation, which begins at about two years and ends at 3–3.5 years. By this time, as a rule, the sucking reflex fades away: children drop their nipples and, if they are still breastfeeding, refuse to breastfeed.

Ksenia says that it is not necessary to delay the resettlement, since joint sleep at a later age can overexcite the child, and in the future negatively affect the ability to learn. In addition, after three years, such a dream can negatively affect the ability to perceive oneself separately from parents, the ability to calm down independently and express emotions not only through the body.

How to choose the best moment for the relocation of a child

Regardless of age, the transition to a separate bed, and even more so a room, is stressful for a child. In order not to increase anxiety, it is worth choosing the most calm time for this, free from other significant changes.

It is desirable that the transition to separate sleep does not coincide with such events:

  • birth siblings;
  • starting kindergarten;
  • moving;
  • departure of a parent.

Ksenia Nesyutina advises to move the child to his bed a few months earlier or later. For example, if an addition is planned in the family, it is better to do this before the arrival of a new member so that the baby has time to adapt. It is also worth considering his physical health and mental state.

Ksenia Nesyutina

If a child is in a very unstable state – every half an hour goes into resistance, screams, cries – it is undesirable to introduce something new.

How to prepare for the transition of the child to a separate bed

To begin, discuss the upcoming events with your partner. If one of you insists on moving the child out, and the other is horrified at the thought of having to sleep separately from the baby, the move is unlikely to go smoothly.

It is important that both parents agree on the decision and support the same position . Therefore, first agree on how you will act, and only then communicate the decision to the child.

After you have talked about the changes, try to involve the baby in the process. For example, choose a bed or bedding with him. This will help him perceive the event in a more positive way, although it does not guarantee that everything will go smoothly.

The baby may look with delight at the new bed in the form of a typewriter or princess castle, but when night falls, flatly refuse to go there move. To do without screams and tears, accustom the child to a new place gradually.

How to help a child adapt to a new place

First of all, it is important to preserve all the rituals that were before the transition to a separate sleep. Changing into pajamas, putting away toys, reading a bedtime story – whatever you do before separation, be sure to repeat it in the same order.

After you have put the child to bed, stay close until you are completely asleep. You can lie down with him, if the size of the bed allows, or settle down nearby, so that in case of anxiety or tears, take your hand, stroke and soothe.

The timing of the adaptation of the child depends on age. Ksenia Nesyutina says that two-year-olds can take several months to get used to a new bed. Older children can settle in earlier – in a few weeks.

When the child gets used to a new place, try to leave him for a while before he falls asleep.

Ksenia Nesyutina

We sat with him for 15 minutes, then say: “That's it, we'll go brush your teeth, while you fall asleep.” After a while, come back and see if he fell asleep or not. If everything went well, gradually increase the intervals of your absence.

The child should be given the opportunity to calm down not due to the real presence of the mother, but thanks to thoughts about her. And gradually the baby will learn to fall asleep on his own.

What problems may arise and how to deal with them

Each case is individual, but there are several common problems that parents often face.

Child cannot fall asleep without body contact

Ksenia Nesyutina says that many parents are not used to calming their child emotionally. If consolation always occurs through bodily contact – breastfeeding, hugging, rocking on the arms – the baby gets used to the physical channel of calm and cannot switch to the emotional one.

And if infants really need touch, then at 3-4 your presence and a soothing voice may be enough for a year.

To teach your baby to cope without his mother’s arms and chest, reconsider your ways of comfort.

If the child is upset, do not rush to grab him in your arms and give a pacifier or bottle. First, try to calm down with words or distract, and only if this does not work, move on to the usual methods.

The child falls asleep for a very long time

Ksenia says that this problem is most often associated with an insufficient number of rituals before bedtime. This is an important part of the regimen, which helps the child to calm down and tune in to sleep.

Here are a few things that can become part of the ritual:

  • Bathe the baby. Some children sleep well after water procedures, others, on the contrary, are excited from playing in the water. Try bathing before bed and see how it affects your baby.
  • Prepare the room. Turn off the lights, and if the darkness scares the baby, buy a night light. You can also turn on soft soothing music or white noise.
  • Change your baby into pajamas.
  • Give a little massage. Light stroking and rubbing can soothe baby.
  • Let baby put toys to bed or just say goodnight.
  • Read a fairy tale. Choose small books so that reading takes a certain period of time. Alternatively, come up with your own stories, this is very exciting.
  • Hug and kiss the child at night.

When choosing rituals, it is important that they are performed regularly and at the same time same time, and also liked by you and the child.

It is also worth taking care of what the baby will be doing in the evening – even before you start preparing him for bed. About an hour before going to bed, exclude outdoor games, tickling, running and other activities. Turn off cartoons and games on your phone.

Better keep your child busy with quiet activities, such as modeling, sorting figures, or putting puzzles together.

Write about your experience of transitioning to separate sleep in the comments.

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