Anyone who has had children knows how hard it can be getting little ones off to sleep.
If you think the baby stage is tough, it can be just as hard to get older children to sleep, with separation anxiety at night considered one of the top causes of toddler sleep regression.
Thankfully, an infant sleep consultant has shared a simple way to battle the problem — and it is taking the internet by storm. Best of all, you can try it at home with just some colored paper and a pair of scissors.
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Michelle is a certified infant sleep consultant and mother-of-two who offers online resources and services to help families with sleep issues.
Her business, Goodnight Charley, was inspired by the problems she had getting her daughter Charley off to sleep, and she shares her tips on the websiteInstagram and TikTok account of the same name.
A video she uploaded this week suggests using cute cutout hearts to help toddlers cope with bedtime anxiety.
The video starts with Michelle using scissors to cut paper hearts out of colored paper.
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“Tip for toddler separation anxiety at bedtime,” is written across the scene. “Cut out a whole bunch of hearts. Tell your toddler that you’ll come and check on them in the night, and each time you’ll leave a heart.
“When you say goodnight, give your toddler one of these hearts. Once they are asleep, sneak into their room and place the rest of the hearts in there.
“In the morning when they wake up, there will be a bunch of hearts. Count them with your toddler, and tell them that’s how many times you were in their room to check on them and keep them safe.
“The goal is to help them feel safe and that they aren’t alone at night.”
She uploaded the video with the comment, “Toddler sleep comes with a whole new set of challenges than baby sleep, and while separation anxiety has some peaks with babies as well, it hits different with toddlers because of increased imagination and the overall realization of how fun it is to be awake.
“It’s not uncommon at many toddler ages to experience this, but particularly age three we see a peak in separation anxiety.
“I have many families come to me saying their child is requesting they stay with them until they fall asleep, have more nightmares, want cuddles in the night, and much more!
“Now, there is nothing wrong with cuddling your child, laying with them, and helping them feel safe. I do this with Charley often. BUT why not try other tools to help them feel safe and secure. Especially, if this goes on long term and you want to find some ways to get your sleep back!”
She uploaded the video with the hashtags #babysleep, #toddlersleep, #momlife, #Momtok #selfsoothing #sleeptraining #sleepconsulting.
It has so far been viewed more than 180,000 times and received almost 30,000 likes.
Many commenters loved the idea. “Saving this for sure. Clever way to let them know they’re safe and loved,” wrote one. “I can’t wait to do this! Gorgeous idea,” said another.
“This is the sweetest depiction of love,” wrote another. “My son is eight and he still wants me to check on him. I love this idea. He will literally ask me as he’s falling asleep if I’m still going to check on him.”
But others were not sold on the idea.
“My daughter would stay awake to wait for me to come,” wrote one.
“If I went in my daughter’s room I guarantee I would wake her up,” said another.
Predictably, others thought it was a form of lying.
“Cute but I’m not gonna lie to her,” said one, to which Michelle responded, “If you’re here to comment and assume this is lying to your child, then don’t. This creates a visual for toddlers to understand you are checking on them. Because I do check on her through the monitor, enter her room, etc. Multiple times.”
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