Avery is nearly 3 and a half years old. She has ALWAYS required someone nursing, rocking, or cuddling her to sleep. We’ve loved the quality time we get with her now while we lay with her in her bed till she falls asleep – it’s a time for good conversation and lots of hugs and kisses. But we’ve also been putting the bug in her ear that we’d like her to be able to go to sleep on her own one day, when she feels ready.
We’d tried a couple of times when she thought she was ready, but as soon as we closed her door behind us she would start whimpering and saying there was a ghost, or that she missed us so much… So we’d go back in her room and say we’d try again another night.
Last night she declared that she was ready to go to bed by herself. It was my wife’s turn for bedtime, so she gave her a shower, brushed her teeth, and gave her her nightly medicine. She helped her into her pajamas, and read her a couple of books. Then she said goodnight and left the room. For a few minutes Avery laid by her door and peeked under it to see if we were still there. Then she gathered up a pile of stuffed animals and climbed into bed and went to sleep.
And that was it! Her first night going to sleep on her own was completely painless. She was ready. I don’t know if it’ll keep up every night, but I do think she got a sense of pride from it, so I’m hopeful. I’m also sad to have potentially lost that cuddle time, so we’ll have to make sure to get lots of extra cuddles in before bed and on the weekends… But having a confident child is worth a reduction in cuddles. I suppose it’s a necessary part of raising a child…