Attachment and sleep training for toddlers and what that looks like
Toddlers are a whole different ball game when it comes to sleep training. They aren’t a little baby that is willing to follow a schedule anymore; they’re starting to be more independent and, more importantly, they’re starting to push boundaries. They’re starting to test, “what will mom do for me?” and seeing how far they can take it.
Imagination Gone Wild
You still need to be in tune to their needs and their wants, but their needs are going to be totally different. The toddler imagination is a beautiful thing, but it can also foster fear and anxiety when it gets the best of them, so we as parents need to know how to arm our kids against their own imagination.
We still need to know when they are wanting something and when they are needing something. If it’s a want, you need to hold firm in boundaries. If it’s a need, lovingly respond to their needs and give them the comfort they need.
We’re still doing as much as we need, but we’re also slowly stepping back a little bit.
Using Toddler Imagination As A Tool
Nightmares and fears are one of those things that are important to sooth them and help them when they happen, but we also need to figure out strategies to alleviate that fear. We can use their own imagination to help them with this.
When my oldest got scared and needed me, I found a childhood teddy bear and told her it protected me against monsters so now it will protect her. Now if she ever gets scared at night, she can hug protector bear and she’ll feel a lot better and safer.
When we give them these tools, we can use our mom gut to know when they are in real need and know when they are just playing the system and pushing more boundaries.
Our objective is to be as responsive as possible because these fears their imagination is conjuring up are real to them. But we need to keep these boundaries strong, and they’ll learn to rely on themselves even more.