We have had a breakthrough with sleep this past week. Charlotte normally nurses to sleep or the odd time just falls asleep eating dinner or driving around in the car when she is really tired. We implemented a 20 minute "rest" time in the afternoons when she would go into her room and basically play and keep coming out until the 20 minutes was up. Then one day... all was quiet in her bedroom and I was somewhat shocked to discover that she was curled up in her bed sound asleep. Then she put herself to sleep the next afternoon, and then the next. I'm not sure what prompted this change, but I can think of a few things that might be contributing factors. One is independence. Charlotte is becoming much more independent as she often dresses herself (now she can handle socks, shirts and pants that are legging-like). She also dresses for outdoors, only getting help with her boot zippers, coat zipper and both mittens. She is helping to set the table, and I'm trying to be consistent with asking her to feed Ava and keep her water dish full. She discovered that she can put herself to sleep independently and so I think that is just another step in the process. Another factor is security. We have never let Charlotte "cry it out" and she is always comforted if she wakes up. She knows that sleep and bed are not negative things and I guess she decided that she felt secure enough to snuggle down in her bed all by herself.
I am not counting on this lasting forever, but I am thankful that for the time being, she is taking a step in the process for independently putting herself to sleep.