I have designed these Worry Hearts to be used in various ways and you can decide which method would be most effective with your child.
1) Show your child the special bag of hearts and explain that each one represents your love and each time you check on them during the night, you will leave a heart under their pillow. As soon as they wake in morning, make a big thing out of finding the hearts and counting them together.
2) Just use two hearts for this method. Give your child one before bed to keep under their pillow and keep one yourself. Explain that you both have a piece of the heart and this way you are always connected by love, even when you’re not close at night.
3) Use them in conjunction with a reward system if you feel your child’s waking could also be behavioural. Each night they sleep in their own sleep space for example, they get given a heart. Get them to fill a jar with the hearts or stick them onto a reward chart. The physical act of filling the jar themselves or placing them onto a chart may be more engaging than a standard sticker reward system. Once the jar is filled with hearts, you can buy them a gift or throw them a party to celebrate.
4) Use in conjunction with a Muddle Monster bedtime buddy. These are a perfect companion at bedtime to ease anxiety and their built in pouch is the perfect place for them to keep their heart/hearts safe. You can purchase a Muddle Monster!
Bedtime Buddies are just one of the tools I use with my toddler parents. Buying them a new toy or letting them choose one and making it clear that their new ‘buddy’ will protect them and keep them safe during the night.
Not only this, but I also encourage parents to use the buddy during conversations in the day time. Use my ‘whispering technique’ and talk to the buddy as if your child isn’t there.
Encourage positive sleep behaviours and start simple with small routine tasks that they already do well (this will get them on board). ‘Did you see how well *insert name* put on his pyjamas?’ ‘Did you see how well *insert name* brushed his teeth?’ ‘Thank you for watching over *insert name* last night, we love you very much.’
It may seem silly talking to a toy, but a child’s imagination is a wonderful thing; they also love to be in on any action that they aren’t directly involved in so they will certainly listen in if they hear they are being spoken about.
Let me know how you get on with your Worry Hearts, be sure to tag me in any pictures/videos/success stories as I would love to follow your journey to peaceful sleep.