When babies are around a year old, or maybe even younger, they may begin to experience separation anxiety and resistance to go to bed. They want to continue being with you or playing with you; they don’t like that the day is over and don’t want to be separated from you. If this is your case, don’t worry! Separation anxiety is a perfectly normal reaction and it means he’s forming a healthy attachment with you. However, this reaction can affect his sleep and yours too! If you are tired, even worried and frustrated, try the following tips:
• Continue strengthening the night routine to help your baby relax and let him know that it’s bedtime. This routine will give your baby security because it provides consistency and predictability.
• Check that his bedroom temperature is comfortable, neither too hot or too cold.
• Try not to let him stay up late, as it will be harder to put him to sleep. Similarly, don’t put him to him sleep very early; try to identify his biological rhythm and take him to bed at the right moment.
• Stay relaxed and confident. Despite feeling anxious yourself, or even somewhat frustrated, show him that there is no reason to be upset or afraid. If you act confident around your baby, he will be calm.
• Continue placing him in his crib while he’s drowsy but still awake and say good night. You can give him a kiss, rub his back and tell him you love him very much to give him even more security.
• During the day, play hide and seek and invite him to search for his stuffed animals to teach your little one that although he can’t see you, you will appear again.
• Comfort your baby if he wakes up upset and can’t get back to sleep, but try to not to overstimulate him by making it a short visit.