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The Kissing game technique

This is a strategy for a gentle sleep training technique for helping your toddler or older child to get used to going to sleep without you in the room with them. It is similar to the gradual retreat strategy. This strategy is for children aged one years and older.

  • Have a consistent, positive bedtime routine. 
  • Put your child to bed when they are drowsy but awake and kiss them goodnight. 
  • Promise to return in a few moments to give them another kiss. 
  • Return almost immediately to give a kiss. 
  • Take a few steps to the door, then return immediately to give a kiss. 
  • Promise to return in a few moments to give them another kiss. 
  • Put something away or do something in the room then give them a kiss. 
  • If your child stays in bed, keep returning to give more kisses. 
  • Do something outside their room and return to give kisses. 
  • If your child gets out of bed or stands up say “back into bed and I’ll give you a kiss”. 
  • Keep returning frequently to give kisses until they are asleep. 
  • Repeat this every time your child wakes during the night.
  • Do be prepared for this to take a long time when you first start – it may take three hours and 300 kisses until your child falls asleep. 
  • Do substitute strokes and pats for kisses if your child sleeps in a cot and you can’t reach in to kiss them.