January 27, 2010

Sleep training an almost 3 year old

Last night. I decided that enough is enough. K has been waking up too many times at night and too dependent on my helper to help him to sleep. I told myself that it is time to do whatever I can to get K to learn to sleep on his own.

When K was about 8 months old, I attempted sleep training but failed miserably, as I just was not determined enough. After that I decided to drop sleep training and hope that one day K will just grow out of it. Unfortunately, I soon realised that bad habits that are formed will never be grown out of.

I knew that I have to nip this problem in the bud and address it now, before it gets even harder as he grows older.

In the evening, I told K that I will be helping him to learn how to sleep by himself. I told him that learning to sleep by himself is like learning how to feed himself, dress himself or riding the bicycle. All he has to do is to close his eyes, be quiet, not think about anything and go to sleep, I further added that only babies need to be pat to sleep.

We started at 10.00 p.m. After reading through 4 books together, I turned off the lights, said our prayers and tuck him into bed. I sat at the end of the bed, and did not respond to him when he talked to me. He started with, “Want to pang sai,” then went on to “Thirsty, want water.” Then continued with several other excuses. When he realised that he was not going to get any response from me, the bawling started. Then came frustrated ‘arghhs’, along with coughing and mock vomiting for the next half an hour. He then decided to sleep half an hour later.

It took a total of 1 hour last night. I think I had it easy last night as he was tired out by a whole host of activities earlier that evening; a short game of tennis with grand-dad, he rode his bicycle with Uncle Nick and even went to catch frogs with grand-dad.

I do hope things get better the next few nights. Although I am prepared that things do sometimes get worse before it gets better. All K needs to know is that I. will. not. budge.


the little prince said...

Keep it up!!

I wonder when can I train Kyle since he still want my 'human pacifier' to sleep!! 'sigh'

Kristie said...

I guess whenever u want to start something new, u have to stick to it otherwise the child may think he/she can get away with it :)

Gd luck!

Tin said...

I thought K is trained to self-soothe to sleep long ago? You are not the only one facing this. I am still struggling with the same problem with Kai. But somehow, he can sleep on his own during afternoon naps but not at night? sigh!

Ann* said...

good luck! you'll need loads of it.. and patience too!!!

Rachel said...

the little prince - I learnt that it is good to start early. According to some articles, 2 n a half is a good age...cos @ that age they start to understand that separation at bedtime does not mean that u are leaving or neglecting them.

Kristie - so true. Need to stick with it to the end, no matter how tough it gets.

Tin - I finally admit that this is a problem I have been procrastinating for too long :) Will share my experience n maybe u can also try some methods to see if it works on Kai.

Ann - Thanks Ann. Will need lots of determination to follow it through despite the tiredness.

Cathy said...

I’ve tried all sorts of coughing syrups, believe me, but none of them helps. Even though Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa www.geocities.jp/ninjiom_hong_kong/index_e.htm does not eliminates the cough I like to stick to this chinese syrup I’ve been taking since I was a kid: Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa. My grandfather is chinese, so I guess my mom got the advice from him. I was really surprised when I found that chinese market selling it here in Belgium. It does have a refreshing, soothing, sweetening effect…as long as it lasts…then back to coughing mode.