Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Relearning "Self Quieting" - a true story

Often when children are having problems, it's the parent(s) that need to change their behavior first. One frazzled young couple were sleep deprived. Their child had been a colicky baby with frequent ear infections as an infant. Some bad habits had developed. Literally both parents had gone through more then 2 years of waking up 2-3 times a night. Each time their child would need rocking and soothing to go back to sleep. Bedtime consisted of 30 minutes of rocking and then a frustrating process of laying the little one down carefully with out waking him or the whole routine had to start all over.

You might already see what they didn't... their child had become dependent on them for "quieting." After seeing a special on television they came up with a new bed time plan and worked together to retrain both themselves AND the little one.
  • Rule 1. A good routine at the same time every night. Bath, bed, story, 5 minutes of rocking because both Mom and Dad loved this time. Then place the little one in the crib.
  • Rule: 2 Allow him to learn "self quieting." When the little guy objected to being placed in his crib, cried, and reached for a parent to be rocked the parent calmly got him to lay down, covered him, giving him his stuffed dog, and sang "It's okay." Then they walked out of the room.
  • Rule 3: Wait to return in increasing intervals. They did not allow themselves to enter the room again for a longer period each time... 1 minute, then 3 minutes then 5 then 10 etc. Each time one of them did enter it was with a calm reminder to lay down, handing him the dog, a recover and a quick "It's okay" exit.
  • Rule 4: Under no circumstances remove the child from the crib. They did not allow themselves to pick him up.
  • Rule 5. Give the plan time to work. The first night took almost 2 hours before he was asleep. (And 2 very frazzled parents who never the less stuck to their plan.) The next night was less then an hour, night 3 was a "one return" night and by night four he could quiet himself when they left the room.

The problem was solved because everybody was now retrained and two very empowered parents had learned they could change a problem behavior.

This may sound like something from Nanny 911 but it a little knowledge was they key to self intervention here.

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