Case Study: James
Synopsis – 30 Month Old Toddler Sleep Problems
James has never being a good sleep and suffered from colic as a baby. He may on occasion sleep two nights in a row but most nights he wakes up every hour. His parents had tried the controlled crying method but James got sick from crying each time they tried and his toddler sleep problems continued. They also tried gold stars but this did not work either. When James went to bed one of his parents stayed in the room with him until he fell asleep. He fell off to sleep quickly, within 5 to 10 minutes. When James woke during the night he may either cry from his room or enter his parents’ room. The only way his parents could settle him back was by staying in the room with him until he fell to sleep or they took him into their bed.
James ate well during the day and drank two bottles, one in the morning and one at bedtime.
It would appear that James has made a negative sleep association, a very normal toddler sleep problem. Effectively one of his parents must be in his room for him to go asleep – no parent in the room, no going to sleep. When he goes into a light sleep he wakes looking for his parents as he believes he won’t be able to go back to sleep without them.
When a child wakes during the night they expect everything to be the same when they wake up. If they wake and something isn’t as it was when they fell asleep they get very upset. This is an extremely common toddler sleep issue.
Outcome of Consultation
I created a step-by-step sleep training plan to reassure James that his parents are always there for him, even if they are not in his room. Initially before introducing the plan, lots of role play was carried out with James so he could understand what should happen at bedtime. The bedtime routine was also explained to James along with a suitable reward system. Before anything was changed James had a full understanding of what was going to happen.
When James’ parents felt the time was right and everything was in place, they introduced the new routine along with the rewards for successful nights. As James’ parents were so enthusiastic with James and about the new plan, after only 3 night’s James was sleeping through the night. Now, on a rare occasions James may go to check on his parents during the night and they give him a kiss. He then happily goes back to his bed and falls asleep. A simple and common toddler sleep problem resolved with a kind and gentle approach!*
* The testimonials appearing on this site were actually received via e-mail submission. They are individual experiences, reflecting real life experiences of those who have used our services. They are individual results and results do vary. We do not claim that they are typical results. Testimonial Disclaimer