Separation Anxiety and Sleep

Separation anxiety at night is a thing. Keep reading for more tips.

Have you had a nice day with your little one, bonding and laughing and cuddling together and thinking you’re on a win for smooth bedtime?

Then all of a sudden….baby goes into bed for nighttime, you’re about to say goodnight and your baby just whimpers and it escalates to full blown tears and screaming?

Yep? I’ve been there too, and it’s tough. You’re not alone.

This is separation anxiety creeping in at bedtime, and although it can occur as early as 6 months, it often coincides when your baby is beginning to understand people and things exist even when they can’t be seen at around 10-18 months. This is perfectly normal and good for us as parents to know they are understanding more of their complex little world.

But HOW do we help them get through it?

  • Consistent routine before bedtime

If you're not already doing a bedtime routine, start. Babies and toddlers love routine, and they're great at giving them cues for what's to come. Keep it consistent, keep each step in the same order, but remember it doesn't need to be perfect. I always recommend avoiding screen time for at least 1 hour before bed.

  • Say goodnight before leaving the room

Don't try to sneak out the room without saying goodbye or goodnight; chances are that when your baby notices you're gone, they are going to lose it and it'll be even harder to calm them down. Saying goodnight or goodbye will help build trust between your baby and you. Say it lovingly but firmly before you leave the room.

  • Check their daily schedule

Is your baby or toddler having enough or ample sleep in the day? Sleep needs change so much in their first few years that you could be adding an overtired or undertired baby to the mix and hey presto, you've got a baby that's even more difficult to leave at night now. So be sure to check in on their age appropriate sleep needs from time to time. Remember that all babies are different and will go through sleep need changes at different times to other babies.

  • Offer extra comfort if needed

It's OK to give your little one extra comfort if they need it. But be sure to do this without falling back into any old habits, or creating new habits of sleep you don't want. No judgement here if you do, I've been there myself and fallen back into sleep habits I didn't intend to. It just took me a little bit longer to get myself out of them. But remember to remain consistent with whichever comfort or response you give, so your little one is clear of boundaries set.

If you need or are looking for 1:1 help then get in touch and book a free discovery call with me now.

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