The fifth night went pretty much the same as the fourth night. I put her down on her cot and prayed for her. She still cried the moment I ended the prayer, but she did not clinch to me and refuse to lie down like the previous few nights. She cried at my leaving but she remained lying down. I think it is already a big improvement. It means she has received the message we are telling her through our words and action now - that she is supposed to lie down and sleep on her own. It also says that her crying at bedtime is not a deliberate disobedience that we need to seriously look into and discipline. She may be crying because she is frightened by noise or darkness, or she plainly wants to be with Daddy/Mommy more. These can be tackled by showing her more love and praying for her more. If she is deliberately being defiant, the action required will be different and more challenging.
Just like the fourth night, she stopped crying immediately when I left the room. And she did not make a single sound after that. 15 minutes later I went in to check on her, she was already fast asleep.
Last night was the sixth night. And I am happy to tell you that she didn't cry at all! We even put her down to bed half an hour earlier than usual because we were expecting visitors for a gathering. After I prayed for her, she said "Amen" without me prompting. And when I said "Goodnight" to her, she returned "Goodnight Mommy!" and then turned to the other side of the cot. I left the room quickly and she did not cry.
And a child who happily sleeps on her own and sleeps early wakes up a happy child in the morning. This morning the moment I got up from my bed, I received a cheerful "Good Morning Mommy!" greeting from her. She was already awake in her cot but she did not make any noise to wake us up.
|A happy child in the morning|
I am not sharing this to brag about what a good girl Kah Yen is or how good we are at training her, but rather, I hope this serves as an encouragement to other parents who are also going through some struggles at bedtime with their toddlers, whether your child refuses to sleep on his/her own, or only goes to bed at the wee hours.
It is not easy. I had my low moments in the past two weeks. And this is not the only time we have to re-train her. It happened a few times before. But, take heart, it can be done. It requires firstly discipline from us parents, to be consistent and stick to the same schedule and routine for our children; and then we need to be tough, to dare to discipline when our children disobey. But most importantly, we need to have the conviction that it is something good for our children and worth the effort to do. A healthy sleep is critical to their growth and development, it can't be emphasized more.