We have a very intense and persistent 3 year old who has always been a challenge in the sleep department. We have gotten to a point where once she is asleep, she will generally sleep pretty solidly though the night most nights. She has her own bed in our room (transitioned there when she was about 2.5 years old and she loves it). Previous to that we co-slept - side-carred crib. I am currently 31 weeks pregnant with twins.
The challenge lately is getting her to sleep. We've always laid with her (well once we were done nursing, around the same time as we transitioned her to a big bed) until she falls asleep. This has been great until a couple weeks ago when it feels as if my presence beside her at bedtime actually keeps her from falling asleep. She will talk to me incessantly about anything and everything and is very persistent about getting a response back. She has on the rare occasion fallen asleep on her own, so I know she can. I really want to transition her to being able to fall asleep without me (or dad) there. I'm starting to resent the time it takes for her to fall asleep and I really feel as if the constant talking and demanding a response from me is a game to her to keep herself awake (she does this boundary pushing a lot during the daytime in other areas as well).
DH is not totally sold on the idea of doing this transition, but I think would go along with it if I could come up with a solid plan. So far, the last 2 nights I've laid beside her for about 5 minutes, cuddling and talking, and then moved to my bed in the same room.... so she could get used to falling asleep without me physically there but with the comfort of knowing that I was still in the room. Once I felt she was comfortable with that, I was planning to do the same 5 minutes or so of cuddling and then go downstairs. Last night this worked fine but tonight not so much. She just sat up in bed and continued the same incessant chatter and insisting that I respond back. I felt again like my presence in the room just allowed her to distract herself from falling asleep (she's yawning all the time that she's talking to me). So I told her that I was going to go downstairs because she was having trouble not talking (I gave her a couple warnings). I came downstairs and she kept calling to me to come back up. She sounded a little upset but not too over the top distressed at all to me. DH went up, because I think he's not comfortable with her wanting someone and one of us not being there. I'm not sure where I stand. I think she's old enough that, unless she's obviously really distressed, she can handle a little disappointment in being separated from us at bedtime.
What are your thoughts? How did you transition your child to being able to fall asleep on their own? How long did it take? How old were they?