During the day help your child practice waiting, staying calm in your absence, and calming down from other emotions as detailed in the graphic below (click for a bigger version).
For details on emotion management, please see www.practicalresearchparenting.com/emotion2.
For waiting games, you can use songs such as Sleeping Bunnies – Rainbow Songs, or Dingle Dangle Scarecrow – Play School, and encourage your child to pretend to sleep when all the bunnies or cows are sleeping. There are also the classic waiting games such as red-light green-light and musical statues for older kids. For more information on self regulation (including learning to wait) and other waiting games see the most important skill to teach children by Developmental Psychologist, Ashley, from Nurture and Thrive Blog. You can also download “3 skills to practice during the DAY for better SLEEP at NIGHT” here if you have subscribed to Practical Research Parenting, or here if you haven’t subscribed yet.
Please add your experiences with these approaches in the comments below. Please provide the age of your child when you tried it. Let us know how long you tried it it for. If it helped, please share the effects you saw. If it didn’t help, why do you think it didn’t work in your case?
“We have always played waiting games, and she has always woken 3 times at night since 4 months old.” (Mother of 10 month old girl tried this and found it didn’t help)