If your toddler is melting down every time you leave the room at bedtime, it's time to bring in some special connection time with them.
When we see separation anxiety start to come into bedtime routine, it's our job as parents to help our children feel safe and secure in their beds.
We can do this through:
2. Routine and predictability
An interactive story
One way was started implementing this special connection time with my son is through an interactive story. I lay with him and tell him a story, and he fills in the details. Below is the story framework I use, and the details my son fills in are in [brackets].
Adapt this to work for you and let your toddler provide the details! Here's how to start:
1. Set the stage:
Once upon a time there was a little boy/girl named [Newt].
2. Describe the setting:
Newt lived in a [teal blue] house in the middle of the forest. She had a beautiful garden full of flowers [teal blue, bright yellow, pink]
3. Create an adventure:
Newt and her best friend [baby] were playing with a [big teal blue ball] when Newt saw something our of the corner of her eye. [White cookies!] It was Newt's mom with a tray of white cookies.
4. Wrap it up
So Baby and Newt ate [5!] white cookies with sprinkles. And soon their tummies started to hurt. They had too many cookies. [1 cookie, not 5]
Want to hear me walk through it? Play the video below!
Why this works
This story provides special 1:1 connection with you and your toddler, gives them that routine and predictability (every night we lay together and tell a Newt story), and it empowers your toddler to make decisions in how the story goes. All three of these things are crucial in your toddler feeling safe and secure not only in their bed, but also throughout their day.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes!
If you need help getting through a nap transition or have any sleep questions, set up a free 15-minute consultation with me to discuss!