Please watch my video below on whether or not you should have anyone other than you put your baby to sleep at night.
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 Jessica. She asks:
“My eleven-month-old daughter has been thriving on the Sleep Sense Program for four months now and is doing excellent. But my husband and I are considering going away for a weekend, and I’m unsure if anyone else is going to be able to put her to bed the same way. Is there anything we can do to prepare?”
That’s a good question, Jessica. I always suggest when people are starting the Sleep Sense Program that they clear their schedules for about two weeks. Try to be home for naps, try to be home for bedtime. Make sure that everything’s really consistent so that you’ve laid a really good foundation for your child, and then you can start experimenting with some variables. On the other side of that, I always encourage parents to not be too rigid, because if you’re always home, and it’s always you putting him down in the crib, then six months down the road you might find that when you try to introduce someone new, your child won’t have any part of it. So you want to be a bit flexible as well.
I think you’ve had enough time. She’s been doing great for four months and you really have a foundation, so it’s going to be fine to go ahead and try a weekend away or even let her nap at somebody else’s house. I would just outline what you do, so if it’s a sitter or it’s Grandma who’s taking over, you have her schedule outlined as far as when her nap times and bedtime are and what you do to lead up to do that—what’s the routine. Your expectations should be the same for her, even with Grandma or the babysitter.
And normally children do really well when it’s a sitter or somebody who’s not the primary caregiver. She’s not going to know how to read that person as well as she can you. So my guess is she’s not going to put up a big fuss for the sitter or whoever is taking over. I wouldn’t worry about it too much.
It’s a good idea to prepare the sitter for what ifs. For example, if the sitter puts her down and she starts to cry, what would you like the sitter to do in that case? And again, I think it’s better to just follow the norm. So if she were to cry a bit on a night when you’re home, my I guess is you probably just leave her for five or 10 minutes to see what happens. Go in and remind her it’s sleepy time. Give her a pat or two and leave the room again and do that strategy. So if that were the case, that would be a good thing to arm your sitter with, so she knows what to do.
But again, like I said, I think you’ll find that it goes fine and things tend to go better for the sitter. It depends on how old she is—she’s only 11 months old, so you might want to experiment with the sitter for one night before you go away for an entire weekend, just to get her used to the idea that somebody else is capable of putting her down. Even between parents, I always encourage parents to take turns because you want your child to know that rules are rules no matter who puts them to bed. I find they can transition to other people a little easier than if it’s always Mom and then you introduce someone new.
So my best advice would be to experiment with a sitter over one night or two before you go away, and then go away. And the great news in all of this is when you have a child who sleeps well, you can go away with peace because you know as long as that person follows your schedule and does the things that you do, they’re going to have a good time with child and your child is going to get all the sleep that she needs. I always say to people, it’s very freeing to know that your child sleeps well for anyone, so you can enjoy your weekend away.
Thanks a lot for your question. Sleep well!
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