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  • Annika Brindley

Are You the Only Parent Who Can Put Your Baby or Child to Sleep?



Do you feel that you are the only parent who can put your child to sleep?


Your daughter won’t let you do bedtime routine and if you try, bedtime is a complete mess, and then the other parents ends up doing it anyway. You may wonder why this happens. First let's pause and think about taking a shower.


How do you take a shower every day? I know it is a funny question, but it is an excellent place to start. Next time you are in the shower, pay attention. I'd put money down that you shower the same way every time. Maybe you start by wetting your hair; you grab the body wash and maybe wash under your arms and so on. Pay attention to how you dry yourself off with your towel. You will quickly see that you do these daily tasks, in the same way, every single time. You have a system, and it is so ingrained that it is now a habit.


Habits form when we do things the same way over and over again. We have systematic ways we do things throughout our day. We have habitual thoughts, as well. As impressive as our brain is, it's a quite predictable. Pathways form, and that allows you to learn and do things over and over, so we do not have to re-learn how to shower every day!


Your child has learned that Dad puts her to sleep. It is a habit now. It is what happens every night, and that pattern that way has formed a pathway in her brain. It's called learning! You and your partner need to decide:


a.) Does it work as it is now?

b.) Do you both want to be able to put your daughter to sleep?

c.) Is it her choice who puts her to sleep?


My advice is that whoever puts her to bed each night is not her choice. It may seem rigid, but you will set yourself and her up to fail and make bedtime even harder. If she gets to choose, then it sets up the "No. I want mom!" or, the last minute, "No, I want Dad!" yo-yo power struggle at bedtime. Come up with a plan. Maybe do bedtime every other night, or perhaps you do Saturday and Sunday?


Yes, the first few days will be hard, but remember, things do get hard and challenging when you make a change. Most people quit by day two because they did not see a difference, or they feel uncomfortable with the push-back, tears, or the fun bedtime tantrum. The key is for you and your partner to make the decision and stick to it. If you do not think you can stick to it, pause until you can. A flimsy plan with holes is no change at all. It also leaves your kid wondering, "Who is in charge of this whole parenting gig, anyway?" Sticking to your plan creates a feeling of safety and trust for your child. Perhaps have your partner go for a walk the first few times you go for it, or have him be out of sight and it will be a bit easier at first.


Remember that this is a habit. A habit you guys created! Your daughter thinks, "Only Dad can do it," which becomes "I only want dad to do it."

Stick to it and do it.