I'm looking for feedback on a possible strategy for getting my 3 yo DD to become more independent going to sleep. She starts out the night in her own bed (cosleeps with us for about 1/2 the night), so after the usual routine (book/song/story) either my husband or I will stay with her until she falls asleep, which can take up to an hour and a half.
It's starting to affect my marriage, since DH and I have begun to fight over who has to spend the 90 mins in her room (we both have ipods and use the time as wisely as we can, but it still feels like you're stuck in there). Also, we're expecting #2 in November, so anything we can do now to encourage DD's independence seems like a good thing. I feel like she's ready to make the shift, but I'm not sure I can wait for it to happen organically.
This kind of reward as motivator is not something I'd considered before (big fan of Alfie Kohn) but I'm getting a little desperate. Plus, this summer I did use a reward to help her get over her fear of doing something she wanted to do but was really nervous about (get into the pool for a lesson without me). It seemed to help shift things for her.
Pros and cons of sticker charts for this kind of behavior shift? Any other strategies?
Thanks in advance for any feedback!
Mama to DD1 (5/09) and happy crawler DD2 (11/12) and wife to DH
So, I was in almost the same situation as you (2nd baby due 11/10). My almost 4 year old did the same thing as your daughter up until August 1 of this year. Before that, I would lie down with him until he fell asleep and it was very frustrating since it usually took an hour to an hour and a half. And much of the time, I would fall asleep too so not go down to my bed until the middle of the night.
Anyway, in anticipation of baby, I decided on July 1 that I would tell him every night for the rest of July as we were snuggling, that starting in "X" days, he would be falling asleep by himself. That I would still lay down with him, read him a story and snuggle for a few minutes (5-10 approximately) and then I would go downstairs and he would go to sleep himself. I also told him that he could come down if he woke up in the middle of the night, or had a bad dream, got scared, etc.
I repeated this conversation literally every night for the month of July. When August came, I stuck to my guns and after 10 minutes of snuggling, I went downstairs. He cried for a minute or so the first few days, but then didn't cry anymore. It did have the negative result of him going to sleep later, since I wasn't with him to remind him to be still, stop playing, etc. But it worked and I got my evenings back! Except for when I fall asleep even in that short amount of time. =)
Now, I have the problem of him coming down around 3-4 AM each night and crawling into bed with us, but that's nothing new. I'm trying a sticker chart for that with a toy after 10 but it's not really working. I'm trying "you can have 2 hershey kisses in the morning if you stay in your own bed" now to see if it works better. So far, no luck. =) But I don't have the heart to tell him he can't come down and snuggle with us at all. So, I'll just see how this goes for a while.
Anyway, good luck! Hope this helps!