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How to teach a child to self-soothe

sleeping baby

How to teach a child to self-soothe

 

After a long day, you are finally able to rest. You feed your baby and put them to sleep, expecting them to fall asleep. If the baby is sleeping, then you can get some sleep too. However, you hear that the baby is crying and get up to check on them. You try your best to get the baby to go back to sleep. After a while, the baby falls asleep, and you go back to bed. You should teach your baby to self-soothe, which will help you and your baby.

What is self-soothing?

“Self-soothing is the process of a child learning how to calm themselves down when they are placed in their crib, or when they wake up in the middle of the night, in order to fall back asleep” (Seven Oaks Sleep Science, 2018). Once the baby knows how to self-soothe, they can fall asleep on their own. They won’t need the help of the caregiver.

When should you start to teach your baby to self-soothe?

Every child is different. One parent can start to notice soothing behavior a couple of months after the baby was born. In contrast, another parent might not see any soothing behavior. According to Crider, “Many parents start noticing their infant demonstrating self-soothing behaviors by 3 to 4 months” (2019). It would be ideal if you start to teach your baby around 5 to 6 months.

Benefits of self-soothing

· Set sleep schedule: The baby will have a set sleep schedule. The baby will automatically know when it’s time to sleep and sleep the required hours.

· More relaxed: Parents won’t have to worry too much about the baby waking up in the middle of the night. They can still keep an eye on the baby to make sure that everything is okay.

· Control over behavior: “A baby who can self-soothe often turns into a toddler who can self-soothe and handle tantrums and moods betters” (Seven Oaks Sleep Science, 2018).

· Less separation anxiety: It’s less likely for the baby to develop separation anxiety. If the baby gets used to sleeping alone in the crib, then the baby will get used to not being around the parents so much.

How to teach your child to self-soothe

· Create a bedtime routine: If you create a bedtime routine, it will be easier for your baby to get accustomed. Your baby will soon develop the habit of sleeping at a particular time and sleeping a certain amount of hours.

· Baby is drowsy but awake: Making sure that the baby is slowly falling asleep to put them to sleep. The baby will associate feeling sleepy with the crib. If the baby is fully awake, it’s less likely that they will fall asleep.

· Always be on the lookout: When teaching your baby to be self-soothe, always very cautious, and be near the baby. You want to make sure that the baby is safe and isn’t in danger.

· Create a safe environment: Making sure that the room where the crib is very calming and dark. The room temperature should be perfect. “When a child is put to sleep in an environment optimally designed for sleeping, they can — not to say they always will — go to sleep quickly without distractions” (Crider, 2019).

Crider, C. (2019). 8 Self-Soothing Techniques to Help Your Baby. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/baby/self-soothing-baby#know-when-to-start

Seven Oaks Sleep Science. (2018). What Is Self-Soothing and Why Is it Beneficial?. Retrieved from https://www.nycsleeptraining.com/what-is-self-soothing-and-why-is-it-beneficial, Retrieved from https://www.nycsleeptraining.com/what-is-self-soothing-and-why-is-it-beneficial

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