I know you’re just SO ready for your child to be able to fall asleep without you.
So ready. Because I was too – but you’re wondering…
What if they cry?
What if they don’t want to?
What am I supposed to say to my child to make this happen?
So let’s take a closer look at each step and how it helps and supports both you and your child on this journey to falling asleep alone…
What are the four steps for getting a kid to go to sleep alone?
My friend Karen had offered to put my kiddo to bed for me – but he was used to someone lying with him and she wasn’t going to do that.
So what would she do instead to get him to sleep without tears?
I heard everything my friend did that evening – our walls are thin – and it wasn’t super different to what we were doing anyway.
But the little changes had a big impact.
#1 Bedtime routine every day
First, she got all the kids ready for bed – her two and my little guy who was a few months younger.
It was just what we were doing already every night.
Pajamas, stories, toothbrushing – the bedtime routine’s super important for getting kids ready to sleep.
Actually, the way the whole day goes is important – and if you have a hard time getting your kid to sleep at night, switching up your daily habits and routines can make a big difference.
Then, once they were ready to get into bed and stories were all done, they had a chat about what bedtime was going to look like.
#2 Discuss bedtime expectations
Yes. Talk to your child about bedtime and what’s gonna happen tonight.
I mean – if you just put them in bed and walk out the door most kids are not gonna be happy about that if lying with them is your normal.
So preparation matters.
It’s not a sit-down meeting – just the way you always talk to your kiddo about new things.
And this is the part you can’t do with a baby – because you’ll actually talk to your child and if it’s going to work they need to be old enough to understand.
This step’s about motivating your child and making them feel like they can DO it.
So my friend told my little guy that he was going to bed by himself and talked him into being okay with that.
#3 Make them feel happy and secure
And then she got him into bed and helped him to feel secure – so he wouldn’t be upset.
It’s a good idea to have your little one feeling happy and relaxed before you leave – because if they’re already anxious then tears are pretty much guaranteed.
If they’re warm and comfy, and they understand what’s going on and where you’ll be, you have a much better chance of success.
And then it was time to leave him alone – but she didn’t go totally away.
(Maybe you’d like to head straight for the sofa, but hold tight – that’s coming very soon once they get used to this new style of bedtimes.)
So for now, let’s talk about how to support your child once they’re in bed and you leave them.
#4 Support them to go to sleep alone
Yes, you’re leaving them alone to go to sleep – but that doesn’t mean you’re not gonna support them.
She didn’t leave him alone.
Well – she left him alone in the room but she was still there outside the door – because he wasn’t ready to fly solo yet and your kid likely won’t be either.
So let your child know where you’ll be – and make it close by. Right outside or the room opposite.
Be ready to give a quick ‘Shush,’ if they start to get upset – often that’s all it takes and it’s way less disturbing than going back into the room. You’re letting them know that you’re there and everything’s okay.
Even go back in after a bit for one more hug.
They have to go to sleep in their room alone but that doesn’t mean you can’t be there for them – just in a different way now because they’re getting bigger.
So what happened next?
He went to sleep in about ten minutes.
I couldn’t believe it, lying next door with my baby daughter. I had worried that he’d cry and I’d have to jump up and leave her and then she’d cry too and…
But nothing. He grumped a little and Karen handled it.
And we never looked back.
I remember how proud I felt that night – and the next night when I did all those steps with him myself and he went to sleep happily again.
The hopeless feeling that I couldn’t make any progress with his bedtimes was gone – and I didn’t have to compromise and do stuff that felt wrong to me.
It sounds super simple
And it is.
Those four steps worked for my little guy – and then my daughter once she got big enough – and lots of other moms and dads and their kids too.
And if you’re thinking you want to start tonight then I’d recommend having a think about those four steps and what you might say and do at each stage.
What do you say to them when you want to motivate them or encourage them to do something new? How can you tap into that to make bedtime changes?
Or if you prefer, I have lots of strategies for every step ready and waiting for you in my ebook guide, Solo Sleepers.
Ready to start? Get the step-by-step fall-asleep-alone guide
Yes, you can do this by yourself – but if you just want someone to tell you what to do and say, check out my Peaceful Evenings Bundle.
This is my step by step guide to teaching your child to fall asleep without you – even if your kid’s the world’s biggest snuggle monster and you can’t imagine what an evening on your own would even look like.
We cover what to say and what to do at each stage, how to make progress, what to do if you need a slower approach – and lots more.
Plus, because all kids (and moms) are different, there are three methods for you to choose from – and a workbook to guide you.
Imagine tucking your little one in and heading for the sofa while they fall asleep happily. How great would that be?
Just be prepared to think of ways to fill those newly-free evenings you’ll be enjoying soon…
Plus there’s a money-off deal for action-takers when you click the button below: