Whenever I start working with a client, they express concerns- one of the main concerns I see is, if I work to sleep train my child to fall asleep independently- will they still love me?
The main reason this concern comes up is because when we start to discuss sleep training methods, there will always be talk of protesting: this is fussing, whining, crying- or even for toddlers- yelling or saying mean things to their parent. I want to say it to you now, and I will most likely say it to you again: there is no such thing as a 'no cry' sleep solution. Even sleep experts who write books about the gentlest methods of sleep training will admit that there is no situation in which we teach our child to sleep independently and they have absolutely no protesting.
But why is the protesting happening? Having the ability to sleep independently is a learned skill. Learning a new skill can be challenging, even frustrating (remember high school Calculus?!), and the way our child expresses that they are experiencing a challenge or frustration towards learning a new skill is to whine, fuss, cry, yell or even name-call, aka protest. This protesting is a means to an end: a well- rested child.
I have done exhaustive research on the effects of sleep training on children mentally and emotionally, and the consensus is, sleep training results in a well-rested child. Well-rested children exhibit less tantrums, crying fits, emotional outbursts, hyper behavior- I said less, not all, right toddler parents? Sleep training is a short-term process toward the long-term goal of a well-rested child.
So back to the topic at hand, if I sleep train my child- will they feel less loved? Will they not love me anymore? Will they feel like I abandoned them? My answer is a loud and resounding- NO. Once your child starts sleeping well, they will love their crib/bed, they will crave sleep, and they will spend their awake time more happy, joyful, and able to share their love with you.
And do you know what will not have changed about them during this time? They will still love YOU most of all. You are their parent. Their homebase. Their safe place. Their support system. Their trusted caregiver. You may not always be their best friend, but you will always be their Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa... person. It's a beautiful thing. And I can guarantee, if you nurture their sleep in the same way you nurture them as your child- you will see that love grow and expand... because when you feel well-rested, you feel BETTER- right? Well, it's the same for your child- if they feel well-rested, they will feel BETTER, more CAPABLE, and even more LOVED...
We can handle what life throws at us better when we sleep well, it's just that simple.
Now let's get your child some sleep.