If your toddler won’t sleep, and you’ve tried every trick in the book, then bedtime fading could be the answer to all your problems…
For many parents, putting their kids to bed is the hardest part of their day. If you manage to survive the tantrums and tears, you could still be in for a night of broken sleep and hourly wake-ups, as your toddler resists their basic need for sleep. Researchers at Flinders University, however, have developed a strategy that can help parents manage their child’s sleep regressions and reduce the nightly struggle.
Keeping It Simple
Bedtime fading refers to a process by which parents adjust their child’s bedtime by 15 minutes each night for a few days. Through this parents are able to establish the time where their child falls asleep with the least amount of fuss and is tired enough to remain asleep.
“Select a consistent time (7 days a week) you would like your baby to waking in the morning (eg. 7 am)” the university’s document says. “For a few nights, delay your baby’s bedtime by 15 minutes (eg. from 7 pm to 7:15 pm). After a few nights, if your baby is still taking a while to fall asleep, delay their bedtime by a further 15 mins (eg. 7:30 pm). Continue this process until your baby falls asleep more easily.” Sounds almost too good to be true!
It Actually Works!
A study conducted by Flinders University tested the effectiveness of bedtime fading with 21 children of preschool age. It was found that the process reduced tantrums and improved both the time it took each child to fall asleep and how many times they woke during the night. Not only did bedtime fading have immediate results, but the positive benefits continued, evident in the follow up two years later.
We definitely think bedtime fading is worth a try. It sounds like such a peaceful and mutually beneficial process, and while we know that it isn’t a one size fits all solution, it seems to have great potential!
Have you tried ‘bedtime fading’ with your baby or toddler? Let us know in the comments.