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A toddler alone in a crib with shadows
It used to take us about an hour to put Eric to bed. At 11 moths old we started to get him to sleep in his own bed and one of us had to stay with him until he fell asleep. Some days it took 20, others 40 minutes.

One day we were out a lot, went to the beach and had a long picnic, so Eric was exhausted. In the evening he wanted to sleep so badly that we couldn’t even give him a bath. Once he was in his PJs, he was ready to sleep.

Rob took him to his room and then he did something I wouldn’t even think of. He put Eric to bed, covered him with a blanked, said “Shhhhhhh”…. closed the door and left. Instead of staying there, listening to Eric whine until he falls asleep.

I was in total shock, thinking “What the heck do you think you’re doing?” and preparing to go there and settle crying Eric, but the room was dead quiet. And it stayed dead quiet until midnight, the time when Eric usually wakes up and needs to be resettled. This time he started whining but soon stopped and went right back to sleep.

I was sure it won’t happen again, but then it repeated the next night, and the night after. And then Eric started to fall asleep alone even in the afternoon. It’s official – he doesn’t need us to stay with him, he’s learned to sleep alone. No mommy or daddy, no bunny, no dummy, no nothing.

After a year and a half of settling my son every night, this came as such a surprise, a dream, really. Every time Rob and I saw in a movie a mom carrying a child of Eric’s age, saying good night and just leaving him in the bedroom, we were looking at each other and giggling: “Yea, right, like that’s gonna happen for us ever :)” – but it did!

If I try to analyze the reasons for this success, they would probably be the following:

1. Eric was used to sleeping in his bed and in his own room, he felt safe there and only needed us to fall asleep.

2. We had a bed time routine and he knew that the sequence story time-bath-warm milk ends with bed.

3. The night when Eric first fell asleep alone, Eric was very tired and couldn’t put up much of a fight.

Right now Rob is my hero for teaching our son to sleep alone and saving us a whole hour we can spend together having some couples’ time.

What are your best tips and tricks to teach your kids to sleep on their own? Do you still struggle or it’s over for you?