Please watch my video below on how to deal with your child’s bedtime shenanigans.
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To ask a question about your child’s sleep, just leave it in the ‘Comments’ section below! I’ll choose one and create a new video answer each week!View the Video Transcript
Hi! I’m Dana Obleman, creator of The Sleep Sense Program. If you’d rather read than watch, I’ve transcribed the text of this video below.
This week’s question comes from Heidi:
“I have a son who is almost 2-year-old. He recently began tossing his beloved blankie out of the crib and then screams hysterically until I come in to retrieve it. This happens during nap times and at all hours during the night. Is this a ploy to get my attention and how can I stop this behavior? I know my son will not go to sleep without his blankie.”
That is a great question Heidi. This is really quite common for a 2-year-old. Many 2-year-olds will toss out whatever is beloved and then want you to come in and get it for them. Usually when people go in, you go in and say, “Please don’t do that again, mommy’s going to take blankie, or you can go into a big explanation about why he can’t do that. It becomes a game in a way.
Even if you’re getting angry when you go in and scold him, it is still attention. Especially with 2-year-olds and up, even negative attention is still attention. If he does this five or six times a night, to get attention for the last hour you go back and forth with the blankie out and the blankie in, it is a game and a ploy to get your attention.
This is the trickiest part. I’ve had people who say, “Well, I tell him I’m going to take the blankie away for the whole night but then I cave in and I give it back to him because I know he can’t sleep without it.” You know, why deprive him of his blankie? I agree with you. If I sleep with a pillow, I do not know how well I would sleep without it. Whatever we are attached to needs to be present while we sleep.
How do you handle this without going there and taking it away all night? The best way to handle it is to go in, do not say anything, which will be hard, but don’t say anything. Don’t make eye contact, just walk over to the blankie, pick it up, and toss it back into the crib. Don’t pass it to him and quietly leave.
When he throws it out again, you walk in, you don’t say anything, you don’t make eye contact, you throw that blankie back in the crib and out you go. This is a really boring game. He is not getting a rise out of you. He is not getting you to talk to him. He is not even getting eye contact. It’s a game that ends quickly because there is no reward; it is really boring. It will go on a few nights and you will have to go in and out a few times. The fastest way to squash this is o make it a very boring game, one that you won’t participate in apart from tossing the blankie back in and it’s gone.
However, you can be sure, especially with this age, that things may be great for a few months and then he might try again. At one point in time, throwing his blankie out actually worked and he got a lot of attention, so he will probably try it again. If so, you respond exactly the same way making it a boring game and it will be over.
That is a good way to handle the situation. I appreciate your question. Thank you and sleep well.
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