Since my kid is quite young – not even 2 years old yet – he rarely goes to sleep on his own. If I put him in bed he will just move around, play and laugh. How can he fall asleep if he doesn’t stand still for 1 second?
I don’t think he understands WHAT sleep is for. So I get him into my arms and I try to explain it to him every night. You are tired and you need sleep to grow up. You get cranky when you are sleepy. We go to sleep now and continue to play tomorrow. We sleep and tomorrow we go to the daycare where you will meet your friends and your teacher.
I don’t know if it’s because I hold him in my arms – so he can’t move that much or he likes what I tell him so he calms down a bit. I dance with him around the house while I tell him all kinds of stuff. When I get out of ideas I just start singing to him about what different animals sound like. Ok, singing might not be quite the right word – it’s more like talking slowly. And dancing with him is more like moving around with him without tripping. But you get the idea.
After a while he starts yawning and hopefully goes to sleep. There is a chance he wakes up when I put him down in bed. Wifey will then finish the job with a bit of singing or some milk. And I still get some credit for making him sleepy.
I hear some parents teach their kids to dance until the kids have no more energy. Others get into the car and go for the ride. With or without the kids. Reading stories also work. A warm bath can’t hurt.
I once let him awake until he was so tired he fell asleep in his eating chair.
What about you. What are your secrets to get babies to sleep?