Toddlers and Separation anxiety.
By the time your baby reaches toddler hood, from approximately 12 months of age and they are still not sleeping through the night, it can be extremely frustrating and disheartening as a parent, because up until this point, you have patiently followed your child's lead, hoping they will sleep independently when they are ready.
But when they are still waking multiple times a night, your utterly exhausted and bedtime battles become the norm, it is easy to feel like "traditional sleep training" methods such as controlled crying are the only way you are going to see the light at the end of your Toddlers sleep issues.
However, the honest truth is, that between the age of 12-18 months, your Toddler will go through a stage of emotional developement, where separation anxiety can be rife and so it makes complete sense not to make any drastic and trust breaking changes to how your child currently sleeps and rather approach it with sensitivity, respect and kindness.
It will take support, patience and baby steps.
Meeting their need for security along the way, will encourage independence, however it's important to note that if you push or move through the steps to quickly, you may cause more clingy behaviour and a further regression in sleep.
Taking gentle steps towards independent sleep is recommended during this time. it's important to stay close, cot side if need be and offer hands on settling, with a little pat on the back or a stroke on the head, try not to walk out of the room to soon, otherwise your Toddler will catch on, that, as soon as you put them down you will leave.
If you are succesful in encouraging them to fall asleep with hands on support and they wake up shortly after, go to them sooner than later, this will show them that your nearby and ready to tend to them, should they need you.
Above all else, now is not the time, to shut the door and leave them distressed and screaming.
Use the first week or so to establish some other positive sleep foundations, beyond your usual go to settling methods. such as white noise, music therapy, aromatherapy, a sleep comforter and then slowly phase out your childs usual sleep association.
Going cold turkey on this would be incredibly unfair to your child as its all they've known and up until this point they have loved being put to sleep this way.
Once the other sleep associations/cues are starting to take hold within the routine, its time to phase out your current sleep habits one step at a time, moving a bit further away from them every 4-7 days.
Eventually you will reach the point where you are able to place your child in their cot awake, yet calm and quiet and it's at this stage that you will follow through with hands on settling.
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