March 28th, 2022
Our most important need as human mammals, (not just children) is attachment. This instinct to feel connected is stronger than anything else we experience. You know those super cute, and kinda confusing calendars with pictures of “unlikely animal friends”? Ya know – the tiger and the duck, the cat and the bird, the dog and the deer… these unnatural relationships trump other instincts because the need to attach is so strong. So strong that it can override the instinct to kill, or the fear of being killed! Crazy, huh?
Ok ok, back to kiddos… If connection and attachment is most important to us – on the flip side, separation is the most dreaded human experience.
Bedtime for children can mean terrifying separation. Monsters under the bed… hunger and thirst at the last minute… one more hug = efforts to stop or at least procrastinate the separation.
Simply acknowledging how threatening separation is to your child is a game changer.
Important note before we get to the tips! If you and your family enjoy bedsharing or room sharing, here’s your NO RSVP needed, gold embossed invitation to DO IT. This is how human families slept for centuries, and how most of the world’s families still sleep today. You simply cannot offer too much contact and closeness to your child. It’s from DEEP dependence roots that the fruit of independence blooms!
If you have a young baby and aren’t sure how to bedshare safely, please visit the freebie section of my website to find this free download – Safe Bedsharing and Breastsleeping.
Here are 10 attachment-focused ways to bridge the separation at bedtime via the senses (the most fundamental form of attachment).
- Sleep on their sheets before you put them on their bed, or give them a shirt you have already worn for them to sleep with.
- Spray the bed with your perfume or other non-toxic scent that reminds them of you. You can even spill a little bit of breastmilk on the sheets if you’re a breastfeeding mama.
- Cut out hearts with your child or by yourself. Tell them at bedtime you will check on them every few minutes and put one of the hearts on their nightstand – so they will know you were there.. If you leave the room before they fall asleep – follow through and bring them a heart every 5-10 minutes. Before you go to bed, place a stack of hearts on their nightstand, symbolizing how many times you checked on them throughout the night
- Place a book under their pillow and tell them to bring it to you in the morning for you to read together.
- Take a selfie of yourself with them after they fall asleep and show them in the morning. Creepy? Yes. Effective? Also, yes.
- Leave a love letter or drawing under their pillow for them to see in the morning.
- Tie invisible or real strings from your bed to theirs. The book, The Invisible String by Patrice Karst, is a beautiful book about how we are always connected.
- Tell them to listen for the sounds you make around the house as they fall asleep.
- Tell them you will meet them in their dreams, and talk about what you will do together.
- In the morning tell them details about when you checked on them… what position they were in, if you tucked them in again, and how many times you kissed them.
So there you have it – 10 ideas to get your juices flowing about ideas to connect with your kiddo at night. There’s magic in embracing the fact that the number one thing your child will always need from you is connection. It’s easy to get caught up in our culture’s OBSESSION with independence, especially around bedtime, but – they simply cannot be too attached.
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