My partner was always the one to put out daughter to bed at night. On the nights she is with me, she always tells me she wants her other mom to put her to sleep and read to her. I try but she covers her ears. Each night she is angry. She’s fine with me the rest of time.
– How do I get her to sleep without the upset?
Dear How do I get her to sleep?
You are in a tough situation. I’m sure this has brought up sad emotions for you too. What you are experiencing with your daughter isn’t that unusual. Don’t take it personally. She is fighting the change in her family.
Have a conversation with her about bedtime when it’s not bedtime. Let her know that the changes in the family have been hard. Reassure her that you and her other mom still love her and will always be there for her. Let her know that you don’t want her to go to bed upset. Ask how together you can make her bedtime more peaceful. Maybe a new night light, or a light that projects stars on the ceiling. If she has favorite calming music, suggest playing that at bedtime. It might comfort her.
Maybe you can suggest that she create a dream catcher with pictures of you and her other mom on it. Hang it so she will be able to view it from the bed. Tell her when she looks at it, she can remind herself how much you both love her. Consider having both parents write her a goodnight/I love you poem. When she is with you, she can read the other parent’s goodnight/I love you poem and visa-versa.
A regular bedtime ritual that she can do with each of her mom’s, a new bedtime ritual, may help as well. It’s important to create a routine that is the same every day. Maybe you can read the story before she goes to bed. Then she can get her PJs on, brush her teeth and head to bed. Turn on the nightlight, or star projector if you opt for these. Once in bed, talk about the good things you did together in your day. Ask her to share the best things in her day. If you decide to try the poem idea, it could be a comforting last step of the ritual, reassuring her that she is loved.
You got this. It may take time, but you solve this for her and for you. My thoughts are with you.