60 Sleep Count Tactic for Newborns / Toddlers

Putting kids to bed is a daily psychological test, and let’s be honest, it’s really f#@$ing hard. Typical parents are tired and running on fumes at the end of the day, and a sleeping child represents a finish line to the day. But before you can pop the victory champagne, you must get your kid to sleep!

Here is how the 60 Count Sleep Tactic Works:

When in the same room as your sleeping child, once you think they may be asleep, start counting to 60 in your head. If your kid doesn’t move while you count for the entire 60 seconds you can assume they are asleep and it is safe to leave the room.

In my early days of dadhood I kept making the same mistake. After spending 15 minutes getting my newborn to sleep I would be eager to leave the room at the first glimpse of my daughter appearing to be asleep. Then I would leave the room and hear cries, super frustrating. Then I would have to restart the 15 minute go to sleep routine.

After failing the first time, this second attempt to put my daughter to sleep had a better success rate. The success rates were about 60% with first try and 90% with the second try. Why was try #2 more successful?

The difference was how long I waited before leaving the room. After investing 30 minutes of my time putting my daughter to sleep with two 15 minute routines, it made sense to wait an extra minute to confirm she was asleep before leaving the room.

I took this theory of counting to 60 before leaving with each nap and bedtime and it worked. My first bedtime attempt was successful more than 90% of the time.

For the past four years, I have used this technique with my two daughters with great success so I figured I should share it. Here are a few more details…

What are the criteria to restart counting?

If your kid rolls over, moves an arm, or scratches their head, farts, makes any noise, or moves at all then you need to restart your count to 60.

Scenarios for 90 and 120 Counts

In some situations, I do count to 90 or 120 instead of 60. If my daughters have been hyper or we had a stimulating day, I do an extended count. Or if we are staying at a hotel and she is in a new environment, I extend the count.

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Forest Fox

Forest Fox

Stoic philosopher, cybersecurity architect, and explorer of life.