Posted by Rowena on October 05, 2003 at 17:47:08:
In Reply to: sleeping posted by diane on October 04, 2003 at 20:20:12:
Illness or holidays often result is a change in sleep habits that continue once the child has recovered or once you are home. What often happens is during the illness (or holiday)is parents understandably assist their child to fall asleep in some way. This then becomes a sleep association for that child. Even when he is well, he continues to want this sleep association because he has now learned to depend on it. When the child wakes at night, (which is perfectly normal, we all wake during the night), he wants his sleep association provided for him so he can return to sleep.
The secret to changing your child's sleep habits is to no longer provide his sleep association and encourage him to learn to fall asleep independently in his crib. That way when he wakes during the night he will be able to return to sleep independently, without disturbing your sleep.
It would take from 3 days to 2 weeks for him to learn to achieve this, depending on which type of approach you use to encourage this. (Without this encouragement from you, he will have no incentive to change what he does). There are various different methods you can use. Some involve crying, some don't. The ones that involve some crying (and there are a number of different ones) are much quicker and require less work on the part of exhausted parents. To use this approach parents need to be prepared to hold out longer than the child or nothing will change. The are also no-cry options, which although gentler on the child require a good deal of dedication and work on the part of parents. (Many sleep deprived parents find the amount of work involved in this approach difficult). Any approach you use needs to be planned to provide the best chance of success.
Consistency in what you do (which shows him what you want him to do) and patience while he learns is also essential to success. It would be very confusing if you provided his sleep association sometimes because it was convenient ie. during the day or evening, but not other times when it was not convenient i.e. overnight. Patience is needed because he doesn't want to change what he is now dependant on and so will resist your efforts initially.