Steps to help your child self sootheFollowing on from my post on the importance of self-soothing, here are my top practical steps to help babies and older children. It’s essential not to rush when you want to start to help your baby or child; take one action at a time.

Step 1. Set the scene

When we initiate anything new in our lives, it’s always essential to create the best conditions before starting. I like to plan, plan, plan. I find this helps you and your child feel safe using our higher/rational mind. So think when it may be an excellent time to start, don’t start on holiday as this usually fails. Talk to your baby and if you have an older child, say something like, you know it may be time to start thinking about sleep; let’s think of something positive.

Step 2. Positive Attitude

Notice your intention and attitude. Do you feel positive, or does it induce many negative thoughts such as ” we tried this before, and it won’t work? A basic premise of cognitive behavioural therapy works on challenging our beliefs and replacing them with positive ones. Click on the link for some ideas at Ensure you talk about sleep positively; this is to your baby or child whatever age they are. Babies are very connected to how we feel.

Step 3. A safe, quiet, calm and dark environment to sleep in.

When we feel comfortable, safe and secure, we sleep well. In addition, there is lots of evidence to show that the room, whether the cot is in your room or you co-sleep, has space and is free of screens, bright lights, and noise. This is especially important for older children too. Blue light from screens and bright eco lights effect. The chemical melatonin. This chemical regulates our 24-hour cycle. Ensure the room is cool and not too hot.

It’s essential to think that you always place your baby on their back, and if you co-sleep, ensure that the bed is safe for your baby/child. When you know, and they know the environment is safe, paradoxically, it will help them to sleep.

Step 4. Manage separation anxiety/ nighttime fears.

For babies, play games such as peek-a-boo; they can then become used to you being there or not. Separation anxiety is normal and part of a developmental process. So in the daytime, spend time with your baby and child and play with them; this will help them feel safe, do not creep away if you need to say goodbye; tell them you are going and you will return. It’s just as important to help older children with their fears. They will not be able to feel safe and let go to sleep if this is not attended to first. Manage the separation by helping them to attach to a transitional object. Give them something of yours to take with them. Record your voice, so they can hear you when you are not in the room. When they wake up, praise them lots for sleeping.

Step 5. Be consistent and have a routineSteps to help your child self- soothe

Babies and children thrive on routine, and it’s essential to have consistent nap times and bedtimes that do not go on for longer than 35 minutes. Be consistent, which the research shows works in the long term.

I hope this helps, and if you cannot do this on your own, seek help. Remember, everyone deserves a good night’s sleep. With Love Catherine


No Tears Self-Soothing.Effective, gentle techniques for settling and staying asleep Heidi Holvoet (author)

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