Understanding how to self-soothe is important for babies and helps them grow into children who aren’t always reliant on you for comfort. Sometimes we need to calm ourselves down, and once your little one begins going to school and on playdates, they won’t have you there to calm them down. Make teaching this easier with a few tips for teaching your baby to self-soothe.
Start at the Right Time
A big part of encouraging this behavior is starting at the right time. From birth, babies rely on their parents for all their needs, so you can’t expect them to calm themselves down before the 3-month mark. Most babies can begin learning to calm themselves down and regulate emotions by this point.
Waiting too long to teach your little one that they can calm themselves down can make the process harder for both of you. For instance, if you wait until they’re a year old, they’ve grown more accustomed to you running to the rescue anytime they cry. The sudden change of things can confuse their young mind and make them wonder why this happened.
Keep a Routine
The next tip for teaching your baby to self-soothe is maintaining a schedule. Change is hard at any age, and when you’re still grasping the basics of life it can be a bigger challenge. Many parents begin self-soothing at night to encourage their baby to get a full night of sleep; you shouldn’t rush to the crib if they wake up in the middle of the night.
By keeping the rest of your daily routine fairly consistent, your baby knows what to expect. Take sleep, for example. You should maintain a clear bedtime and morning routine during this period. This also helps your baby better understand why you may be less bubbly if you have to comfort them in the middle of the night.
Give Them the Right Tools
Coping tools help us calm ourselves down; what works best is different for everyone. Most adults have tangible and intangible things in that metaphorical toolbox. You may do deep breathing and positive self-talk, but you may also have a special shirt or necklace you wear during those stressful times.
Babies don’t understand deep breathing and other complex coping skills yet, but they like various comfort objects. If your little one has a particular blanket or stuffed animal, leave it in the crib with them. Likewise, parents should have pacifier clips to keep the paci attached to their baby during the day. This makes it easier for your infant to grab their soother whenever needed.
Know When To Jump In
Like all milestones, this is a process, and your baby needs you to help guide them through it, so don’t be too hands-on or hands-off. If your baby cries for longer than five minutes, they’ll need some comfort from you. Remind them that they’re okay and that you’ll always be there to help them.