The idea with this technique is that you give your toddler all the reassurance and company they need at bedtime to fall asleep. Perfect for kids who like mum or dad with them at bedtime, like to visit during the night or who are prone to getting out of bed repeatedly.
Then over a few nights, you will SLOWLY wean your toddler off needing you there as they fall asleep. Done slowly at the pace your toddler is comfortable with, this is an extremely effective technique.
Please note this doesn't work if you try to rush your child or you don't stay with them when you said you would...build your child's confidence that they can sleep independently but don't undermine their trust in you following through with what you said (i.e. no trying to sneak out before they are asleep if you said you would stay).
If your child wakes crying or comes in to visit you, then continue with the technique the same as you would at bedtime. It won't work if you let your child into your bed sometimes.....
Start your bedtime routine by reading your toddler 3 stories. It can help to use one with a bedtime theme. My favourites are ‘The Sleep Book’ by Dr Seuss, ‘Kiss Goodnight Sam’ and ‘Go to Sleep Doodlehead’.
Make the self-settling process easier for you and your toddler by using some effective sleep tools. A night-light, relaxing bedtime music and a comfort item such as a blankie can all assist your toddler to sleep easier and don’t require you during the night.
If your toddler uses a dummy, give them several and tell them you won’t be putting the dummy in for them or finding it during the night
On the first night start by reassuring your child that you will stay with them until they fall asleep. This will help your child relax and they are more likely to stay in bed if they know you really will stay with them.
Then either lie in bed with your toddler or sit next to them until they fall asleep. Continue with step 4 for the next couple of nights before moving to sitting on the end of the bed or on a chair next to the bed.
Over the next week, gradually move the chair further away from your toddler and stay in the room as they fall asleep. By now you will notice they are settling down easier and falling asleep faster.
Kiss your toddler good night at bedtime, leave their sleep music on repeat and leave them to use their new self-settling skills to fall asleep without your presence.