Helping your child become a more independent sleeper at bedtime will result in many benefits to your child, of course, but you will reap the benefits, too. Let’s review just a few of the reasons.
You and your spouse are likely to have more quality time together
If your child learns to fall asleep quickly and independently, your relationship with your spouse is likely to improve in many ways. You and your spouse will have time to enjoy each other, to spend time on your favorite activities, to catch up on projects, to go out with your friends, or to simply relax and recharge. Needing an hour or two at the end of the day isn’t selfish; it’s essential for you as a couple. Your child will sense that your relationship with your spouse is something that you both treasure and that nurturing it is important to both of you, too. (And one of you won’t end up falling asleep unintentionally in your child’s tiny race car bed every night anymore either.)
Other caregivers are more likely to be able to put your child to sleep
Once your child can fall asleep independently, your child is likely to be able to fall asleep more easily for a babysitter, relative or friend. You and your spouse can then enjoy some much deserved time away as a couple, either for a date night or a few nights away.
Your home will feel much more peaceful in the evening
Teaching your child to fall asleep independently and quickly at bedtime often results in a home with far fewer bedtime battles. Your home is likely to feel much more peaceful and relaxed. (And who wouldn’t sign up for that?)
You will teach your children that your own needs (and the needs of other family members) will be taken into account at bedtime.
Teaching your child to become an independent sleeper helps your child learn that he or she is only one member of your family and that every member of the family has valid needs. Your child will learn that he does not make all of the rules in your home at bedtime (and, therefore, does not make the rules in the classroom, grocery store, movie theater, or restaurant either). This concept can help your child learn that the larger world has boundaries, rules, and routines that often must be followed (and that following these often leads to better social relationships and many other benefits).
You are more likely to be well-rested yourself
You are a better parent when you are rested and it is more difficult to be well rested when your child is not sleeping well. Just as your child does not function well when he or she is sleep deprived, neither will you.
You will send the message that your bedroom is a place for you and your spouse
If you allow your child to separate you and your spouse month after month (or longer…) by sleeping between the two of you, or even allow your child to replace your spouse in the bed (since one spouse often eventually leaves the bedroom to seek better sleep elsewhere), you may not be teaching your child that your bedroom is a special place for the two of you as a couple. If you teach your child how to sleep independently in her own bed, you can reclaim that special space (and lots more real estate in your bed, too!).