Family

Restless toddlers

Diane Levy joins us to provide expert answers to your parenting queries. Send your questions to: [email protected]. Diane can't answer individual queries, but we will endeavour to publish a representative sample on this page. Diane's parenting books are available in bookshops.

Dear Diane

oy toddler is three and a half and still not sleeping through the night. That’s bad enough, but we have a new baby due in July and I won’t be able to cope if both are waking regularly. This is an age-old problem and everyone seems to have a different suggestion – my mother is very old school and says to leave him to cry himself out, but he’s very determined and can go on for hours! We’ve read all the Baby Whisperer and Supernanny books, but none of their suggestions have worked either. Do you think stopping his afternoon nap at daycare might help?

Bronwyn C===Dear Bronwyn

Stopping him having his nap at daycare won’t teach him how to settle himself at night when he wakes up. There’s a gentle way of teaching a child to sleep on their own. It takes patience and time, but it doesn’t involve leaving them to cry. When he wakes, wrap yourself in a duvet, pull up a chair next to his bed, put an arm on his back and whisper, “oummy’s here,” – or, “Daddy’s here,” if you’re lucky! – a few times and stay next to him until he’s asleep.

once he’s asleep, wait at least 10 minutes before leaving the room. Do this as often as he wakes. After he’s going back to sleep easily – in about a week – move your chair a good distance so you’re near but out of reach. once that’s established, move your chair to nearer the door, but still in sight. Then move your chair where he can only see you if he sits up. Soon you’ll have a child who doesn’t need his parents’ help to get back to sleep.

Diane Levy joins us to provide expert answers to your parenting queries. Send your questions to: [email protected]. Diane can’t answer individual queries, but we will endeavour to publish a representative sample on this page. Diane’s parenting books are available in bookshops.

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