Walk Back In Approach

This means every time your child gets out of bed, you immediately walk or carry your child back in.  I don’t recommend this approach if:

  • Your child gets genuinely distressed about being in bed alone.
  • Your child begins to treat getting walked back in as a game.
  • Your child only comes out due to genuine needs.

I do recommend this approach if your child is just testing the boundaries.

I would first make sure that the new approach is communicated very clearly, so that you can prepare your child, and help them work through any emotions and make any reasonable negotiations during the day. See the page on Modelling for details.

Before you decide on whether to use this approach, watch the video below. If you think your child is likely to react this way, even after making your expectations clear, you need to seriously consider whether you would be willing to follow through.

The walk back in approach clearly enforces the boundaries. It may be appropriate when a child is comfortable sleeping in bed, but has started to test the boundaries by coming out numerous times before sleep. To use it to transition from sleeping with a parent to sleeping alone, I would not go straight to the walk back in approach without first communicating your expectations and new rules clearly to your child.

Please add your experiences with this approach in the comments below. Please provide the age of your child when you tried it, and how long you tried 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?

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