Hi, I’m Kim West, the Sleep Lady. Today, I’m going to answer Eric’s question:
“My son is 2 1/2 years old and I’ve been trying to get him to sleep without his mom for two and a half years. She can’t stand to hear him cry and now, he is just so set on us being with him in his bed. I don’t know how to fix this. Tonight is the first night my wife agreed to let him cry and he is freaking out. I need help. How do I get a strong little boy and an even more protective mom to help my toddler sleep in his own bed and stay there through the night? -Eric.”
The most important thing is that you and your wife are united, especially with a 2 1/2 year old. I don’t want you to start a sleep plan and not be able to follow through or have your wife come in and change the plan. What happens is that you end up trying to sleep coach every other night and it will create a lot of crying (not to mention creating stress between you and your wife).
It’s much better for you and your wife to say, “All right, things need to change and there is something we can do besides cry it out, especially with a 2 1/2 year old.” If one day you let him cry it out, and the next you’re rocking him to sleep he will of course, have a tantrum. He won’t understand why you’ve changed the routine. It’s very important that:
1. You’re united, and
2. That you know that there’s a middle-of-the-road approach.
I think that using The Shuffle is going to be perfect in your situation. Some things to remember:
• Start out the night after a good day of naps
• Have a reasonable bedtime
• Talk to him for a few days before you start saying how (blame it on me) you talked to the Sleep Lady, “We’re going to teach you how to put yourself to sleep in your own bed and everybody is going to sleep in our own cozy beds at night. And we’re going to stay with you while you learn how to do that.”
• Follow through all of the recommendations in Good Night, Sleep Tight for this age group as you slowly move out of the room.
The key to success for you is that your wife and you have to be a united front . You have to be willing to be consistent for long enough because at 2 1/2 years old, it might take two weeks to get him to completely sleep through the night.
I hope that helps, Eric.
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