Q: My 2½ -year-old soothes himself by playing with my long hair. I don’t mind it when we’re cuddling, but now he won’t fall asleep without me (and my hair) right beside him. How can I get him to bed on his own?
A: Hair twirling is a common soothing method for many children, but when it’s your hair, it can drive you crazy. Tie your hair back so it’s not as accessible. Tell him you will stay to cuddle, and that he hasn’t done anything bad, but your hair is now off limits. Your partner (who probably doesn’t have long hair) could try putting your son to bed every other night, which will encourage other self-soothing tools, such as playing with his own hair or snuggling up to a lovey. Give it three nights — after that he’ll find something else to help him drift off to sleep.