Ferberizing James

Ferberizing JamesAs near perfect as James is, until recently he wasn't the world's greatest sleeper. When bedtime approached, he wanted two things: a bottle of milk and daddy to lie with him while he drifted away. Then, at any time between 3 and 5 in the morning, he would get out of his bed and jump into mommy and daddy's bed. It was rare that he would sleep the entire night in his own room.

At twenty-two months of age, we decided that enough was enough. James should be able to go to sleep without the bottle and without daddy giving up 15 minutes of his night to lie with him. More importantly, it was time James learned how to stay in his own bed until morning. Taryn had read about the Ferber method, and about the philosophies of Dr. Richard Ferber on teaching your baby how to sleep. We bought his book "Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems" and began "Ferberizing" James.

The gyst is this. At bedtime mommy or daddy puts James to bed, tell him in a loving, reassuring voice that it's bedtime and that we love him, and tuck him in. That's it. No bottle and no hanging around. At this point, we leave the room but leave his door ajar. When James inevitably got out of bed and tried to join the party, one of us picked him up, put him to bed again and closed the door for exactly one minute. While the door is closed, we reassure him that the door will open when he gets back into his bed. This continues with the minute growing to 2, 3, 4 and finally 5 minutes. Each day this time period expands exponentially until it reaches a half hour. The bottom line is James caught on pretty quick that he has to stay in his bed at bedtime. When James wakes up in the middle of the night, it's the same deal. We just started this stategy a couple of nights ago, and it's definitely working. Last night James only needed the door closed one time before he remembered the deal. When he woke up in the middle of the night, he hardly made a fuss when he was put back to bed and told to stay there until morning. Typically on weekends James would awake at any time between 7:30 and 8 but this morning I awoke at 9:30 to find him sitting in his bed. Now this is parenting!

There is some controversy attached to the Ferber method, but we're comfortable with it enough to stick it out. According to Ferber's book, in less than two weeks James will simply go to sleep in his bed when we tuck him in at bedtime and he'll stay there until the morning. After only two nights the difference in James' sleeping habits are dramatic. I only wish we had Ferberized him sooner.


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