This technique works through reward. It is particularly suitable if your child appears anxious, especially about bedtime.

Method: After putting your child to bed with your special bedtime phrase, kiss him goodnight, promising to return in a minute to give him another kiss. Return almost immediately for the second kiss, then retreat a few steps, before returning for the next kiss. Put something away in his room, then return for the next kiss. Continue to kiss your baby at intervals as long as he remains in bed, with his head on the mattress. If he tries to get up, don't reprimand him - just steer him back under the covers and remind him that he only gets kisses if he stays in bed.

You should find that the number of kisses and the time it takes for your child to fall asleep reduce each night. Most children are sleeping easily within a week of adopting this approach.

Tips for success

  1. - Don't reward your child with anything other than quiet kisses. Cuddles, stories, chat and drinks are all out.
  2. - Although this method is also known as the 'kissing game', do not allow it to degenerate into general bedtime frivolity. Be firm with the rules: your child only gets his reward if he lies quietly in bed.
  3. - This method can take a long time on the first couple of nights, so be prepared. Steel yourself for up to 300 kisses over a three-hour period the first time you put your baby to bed in this way.
  4. - Hold back from kissing your baby again if you think he is drifting off to sleep - you may rouse him unnecessarily.

Possible pitfalls

  • - If you suffer from backache, you may find all the bending down involved in this technique a strain. Try gently patting your baby's hand or head instead.
  • - Many children try to test their parents' resolve on around night five of this method, but if you can make it through this temporary upset you should be on the home straight.