The Sleep Expert's Secret to Getting Your Child to Sleep in Their Crib

If you've landed here because you're currently bedsharing or room-sharing and don't want to any longer, we're here to help! Chances are you've found yourself in the middle of the ultimate sleep struggle: getting your little one to sleep alone in their own crib. You're definitely not alone in that struggle.

As a fellow parent and sleep enthusiast, I'm here to share some tried-and-true tips to make the transition smoother for both you and your little one.

Create a Familiar Space

First things first, we want to make sure their crib and sleep space are familiar to them and that we create positive associations with them. Hanging out in there during the day for short periods and doing fun things like playing and reading can go a long way in making sure they’re comfortable in that environment.

Set Sleepy Vibes

Next, set up their sleep environment so that it creates those sleepy vibes. Use dim lighting (a salt lamp works great for this) during their routines, hang blackout curtains, and use a soft, cozy sleep sack for naps and overnight sleep.

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Establish a Routine

Before you dive into making changes to your child's sleep, it can be helpful to spend a few days/nights working on establishing a pre-sleep routine before their naps and bedtime.

Consistency is key when it comes to bedtime. A calming bedtime routine will signal to your little one that it's time to wind down. This could include activities like a warm bath, gentle massage, bedtime stories, or lullabies. Stick to the same routine every night to help your child associate these activities with sleep.

Now You're Ready! 

If your child is used to co-sleeping or being rocked to sleep, transitioning to their crib may take time. Start by introducing the crib during nap times or using it for the first part of the night before transitioning to your bed or room. Slowly increase the amount of time they spend in their crib until they're comfortable sleeping there for the entire night.

Allowing your child the opportunity to self-settle is an essential skill for independent sleep. If you can put your child down awake and expose them to the simple practice of falling asleep without being helped to sleep, then it can go a long way in them being able to connect those later sleep cycles. 

(I’m not making that up, there’s research that says, “..infants who were consistently put into the crib awake were more likely to be self-soothers than infants who were consistently put into the crib asleep. Infants who required parental assistance to fall asleep at the beginning of each night were more likely to require parental assistance upon awakening in the middle of the night.”)

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Cry It Out, or Not?

Now, about the Cry It Out method – if it's your jam, cool. Just make sure it clicks with you and your kiddo. It's like finding the right pair of jeans – gotta be a good fit.

If it’s a hard no for you, then you have plenty of other options! And it really boils down to intervening and providing support/soothing until they’re calm and ready to put themselves to sleep. If they get upset again, repeat until they’re calm … over and over, until they’ve fallen asleep independently.

It's normal for your child to feel a bit apprehensive about sleeping in their crib alone. Offer comfort and reassurance by staying with them until they fall asleep, patting their back, or offering soothing words. Gradually decrease your presence over time as they become more comfortable with sleeping independently.

Stay Calm and Confident

Your child picks up on your energy, so stay calm and confident during the transition. Even if you're feeling nervous or anxious, project an aura of calm assurance to help your child feel safe and secure in their new sleep environment.

Overall, remember Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is a solid sleep routine! Be patient and persistent as you work towards helping your child sleep in their own crib. There may be setbacks along the way, but consistency and gentle encouragement will pay off in the long run.

You're not alone on this journey! 

If you're struggling with helping your child sleep in their own crib, don't hesitate to reach out for support. Whether it's from a pediatric sleep consultant, a trusted friend, or an online parenting community, there's help available to guide you through the process.

 

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