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Changing your toddler's sleep routine? Use play to prepare!

If you are planning to make changes to how your toddler falls asleep at night, or how you resettle them in the night (whether this is night weaning, moving towards them sleeping in their own sleep space, or changing other sleep associations which no longer feel sustainable for you), preparation is key.


One lovely way that you can prepare yourself and your little one is by using role play. When the change is imminent, explain to your little one that “soon, we won’t have milk in the night. Instead, we will cuddle and I’ll sing you a song when you need help getting to sleep.” Then suggest playing it out with dolls or teddies, or acting it out together. Act out exactly what will happen when your little one wakes, and the other cuddles and sings to him.


Be led by your little one - they may take this in all kinds of directions. They may play out their feelings through the teddies. They may want to pretend to be the mummy or daddy - this can be a lovely power reversal game. They may not be interested, but pick up the game in their own independent play later on.


Be curious, be open, and give them the opportunity to explore the change and their feelings about it before it actually happens.


If you want more ideas for how to approach changes in sleep gently, get in touch. And do check out my night weaning guide if you're thinking about limiting or ending night feeds for a breastfed baby over 12 months old.



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