It’s absolutely inevitable. There will be nights in your child’s life when you will not be sleeping in the same home. Maybe you won’t even be in the same city or state. And as much as it seems to break your child’s heart (or yours!), you both will survive. With any luck, you’ll both get a great night’s sleep, too! How? With help from us, of course! Here’s how to help your child sleep when you’re not together.
First of all, depending on how old your child is, talk about it with him in advance. Try to introduce the idea with neutral emotions and just state the fact that you’ll be leaving for a night (or two or three or whatever it is). Don’t act like it’s a huge deal or expect that your child will have a meltdown, because kids reflect their parents emotions. Try to keep cool, so they keep cool.
Secondly, prepare in advance. If your child is old enough, talk about what he might like to make bedtime special when you’re gone. Maybe it would help soothe him to have your favorite pillow or to wear one of your t-shirts to bed. How about putting a framed picture of you on his bedside table? Be flexible and imaginative.
Finally, do what you can to still be a part of bedtime from wherever you are. Call and ask about his day, read a bedtime story, sing a lullaby, whatever reflects your typical bedtime routine. Better yet, video chat – this works far better for young toddlers and even older babies. Can’t call or video chat at bedtime? Record yourself in advance, so your child can still listen to and see you.
Have more tips? Please share them in the comments! How do you help your child sleep when you’re not together?