Trying to remove a sleep association from a child 12 months or older, can seem daunting. You may have spent years trying to "wean" something, but with planning, patience and kindness, it usually can be done. Of course not all sleep associations cause issues, but if you would like to remove something, here are a few tips that may help you support your child
First of all be prepared. Do not expect changes overnight, a habit takes at least two weeks to change (and sometimes longer) so be kind to yourself - and to your child. You will get there.
- Make a plan for the best time to begin.
- Avoid illness, teething, or when there is a change of circumstances - these are times when your child needs comfort.
- Also to be avoided are times such as when you have a deadline at work (you will probably be even more tired than usual for a while) if your child is just starting school , or is expected to be up early for nursery.
- School holidays are often a good time (if it works for you)
- Know that it will be hard at first, but you will get there, but only if you are consistent, patient and understanding.
Using other sleep associations to get you over the bumpy first few days may be a way to ease the transition for your child, but only use them as you need them (this is key)
As soon as your child is OK with one step, move onto the next one. Don't rush, but do not linger. E.g you may rock your child initially for 2 to 3 days, but then move onto just holding in your arms for 2-3 days and so on.
Replicate your plan for naps and bedtime as appropriate.
You may need to get creative to think around your child's particular needs. Remember what work's for one child, may not work for another. This is why we design our Child Sleep Packages individually.
Removing a sleep association is a little like turning the volume down on the TV. Spend 2-3 days at one level, before going one "notch" down.
The key is to put a long term plan in place.
You may find after reading this that you would like a supportive sleep plan , or have a question about your current situation. Please feel free to contact us for a confidential chat.
Please note that this article relates broadly to sleep management of children 12 months and older, and does not constitute or replace medical advice. Clients are advised to take treatments, council or therapy from the professionals in the appropriate disciplines.