Tell me… have you ever been in that moment? Sleep has become hard, things are not going well, no one is sleeping. Your child is over 4 months of age, so you think, ‘Okay. This weekend. We are sleep training.’
You follow a sleep training method for a few nights, and it’s not working. Things are either getting worse or you’re confused as to what you’re supposed to do because the method didn’t mention this or that… So you give up. You think ‘My child is just a bad sleeper’ and you continue as you were before; exhausted, at your wits end, and just in pure survival mode.
Well, I am hoping this blog post can help. In my experience as a Certified Infant and Child Sleep Coach, I have seen many things when it comes to the process of sleep training.
These are my top 5 tips to help you see sleep training success.
Tip #1: Create an Ideal Sleep Environment
You might not even know it, but your child’s sleep environment could be standing in the way of them learning the skill of sleeping independently. So take this checklist and make sure everything is in place.
__ Dark (Think pitch black, cave like, not just dim)
__ Quiet (Use a white noise machine to block out other household sounds)
__ Calming (Use a red light for any overnight wakes for our babies who are still feeing at night)
Tip #2: Implement an Age Appropriate Schedule
Quality and length of daytime sleep can directly effect the quality and length of overnight sleep. There is a reason why ‘sleep begets sleep’ is such a popular phrase. The more sleep your child gets, the more sleep they will crave.
If you’re wondering what an age appropriate schedule looks like for your child, check out last week’s blog all about schedules!
Tip #3: Choose a Method/Plan You Can Stick To
There are so many sleep training methods out there. So many options it can make your head spin!
So when you are looking for a plan, the biggest consideration you must make is- can I remain consistent with this method?
Seriously, sit down, think through the method and what it will entail, and ask yourself- am I all in?
If the answer is no, then it would be worth looking into a different method. The biggest road blocks we see in sleep training is us… the parents… We start out going full out and then we start to question ourselves, question the process, and question what we are doing. So if the plan you have chosen doesn’t sit with you well- find another. It’s okay.
Tip #4: Be Sure Everyone is On Board
When it comes to sleep training, this needs to be a group effort. So whether it’s your parenting partner, grandparents, an older sibling, whoever! We all need to be on the same page.
It can be really challenging when you’ve put all this work into improving your child’s sleep, and then you get a text from Grandma saying ‘Oh, I just picked him up and let him sleep on me…’
Now I’m not saying Grandma can never have baby sleep on her ever again, but during the sleep training process, we just need to all be working towards the same goal, which is independent sleep. Once that independent sleep is in place, then Grandma interfering every once in a while is okay- but honestly, your child will be such a rockstar sleeper, she won’t have to.
So it might take some tough love and some real conversations, but take the time to ensure everyone is on board and understands WHY you are asking them to help with this. If they understand why then they can usually get on board with the how.
Tip #5: STAY CONSISTENT
Every single tip on this list has an undertone of my favorite word when it comes to sleep training: CONSISTENCY.
Our children THRIVE off of structure and schedule- it’s their security blanket- it calms them.
So if you are changing the way you respond to them every single time they protest, then they are going to become another C word- CONFUSED.
If you are letting them work it out at one point and then you go and pick them up at another, that is REALLY confusing.
If you stay consistent with your response to your child, like boringly consistent, then they will get with the program SO much faster. If we change the goal post every day or two, well then, the program will fly out the window.
So staying consistent is ALWAYS my number 1 recommendation to anyone thinking about sleep training.
BONUS TIP: Ask for Help
Let’s say you are following the above to a T, but you are still having trouble. You can’t seem to figure out where you are going wrong… Well, at that point, it’s time to reach out for help.
And you always know where to find it… Right here.
I hope this blog helps you find success with your sleep training process. If you are about to sleep train, let me know, I would love to know how it goes!