Alternatives to Crying It Out
How to deal with one child waking up the other? You have to strictly engage in sleep training for the 18-month-old. I am talking about early bedtimes and either check and console, graduated extinction or extinction (from the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child). You are doing this for the benefit of the entire family. Otherwise you go down the path of sleep deprivation and the consequences of not enough quality sleep.
During the sleep training, the 18-month-old is placed in her room by herself and temporary arrangements are made for the two older children. They might share a room or share your bedroom. They need reassurance that if there is crying it out at night from the 18-month-old, there is no harm and soon everyone will be sleeping better. When the 18-month-old is sleeping better because you have allowed her to learn more self-soothing at night (you have stop reinforcing a night waking habit), then the old sleeping arrangements can be reestablished. Always remember that there is a direct connection between your actions and how your child behaves.
Watch for drowsy signals in the 18-month-old because she might have to have a bedtime that is earlier than her sister.
More from Dr. Weissbluth:
- When toddlers climb out of their cribs
- Twin sleep issues
- Sleeping for colicky babies
- Getting babies to fall asleep earlier
- Sleeping through the night
- Getting kids to stay in bed
- Crying at bedtime
- Keeping kids in their own rooms
- Teaching kids to fall asleep on their own
- Naps for fussy babies
- Crying it out
- Putting kids back to bed