Children can learn to go to sleep independently

Q: My two-year-old wants me to sit in his room until he falls asleep, before his nap and at nighttime. What can I do to change this habit? A: When you’re feeling emotionally ready to endure the inevitable upset that happens when children practice new sleep time habits, have a little chat with your son earlier that day. Tell him that tonight's going to be different by saying something like, “After your bath tonight, I’m going to read you a story, help you into your crib, give you a kiss and go in the living room (or whatever room is nearby). I'll come check on you after you're asleep." Talking like this will not only let your son know that tonight will be different but will reinforce the plan for you and help to release any tension you may be feeling around changing this habit.  When a parent demonstrates confidence in a plan, that confidence sends an important “You can do this/It's going to be alright” message to the child.  That night, after you’ve finished the pre-bedtime routine, follow through with your plan: “You look sleepy. It's time to get in your crib so you can have a lovely rest. I’ll come check on [...]