For some parents the idea of starting to sleep coach/train is somewhat daunting. For other parents it is only after they have tried many different methods and they cannot think of anything else to try that they will start searching for help. The best way to help your child is to establish a healthy sleep environment and great sleep habits from the get go.
Here are some of the telltale signs that may be present when something has to change for everyone to be sleeping better:
A) Mom and/or Dad are unhappy with the current sleeping arrangements.
If you want things to change you NEED to take the steps to make it happen. Sometimes all it takes is a few minor changes to see a world of difference. Changing unhealthy sleep habits (at any age) can be helpful for everyone.
B) Bedtime has become a battle ground.
When bedtime is something that you become to “dread” this is a sign that a deeper look into the situation is needed. Spending hours to try and get your child to sleep and staying asleep is not what you pictured when you envisioned your happy family. It can become exhausting and sleep deprivation can set in for both parents and children.
C) Using sleep crutches to fall asleep.
Are the children needing to be rocked or bounced to sleep? Are they waking up minutes after being placed in their crib? Self-soothing skills need to be taught and there are MANY GENTLE ways this can be accomplished when done correctly.
I find the easiest way to explain this to parents is to give them a scenario:
Let’s picture you falling asleep in your warm cozy bed with all the pillows, blankets, everything that helps you to stay asleep and have a great night’s rest. Then suddenly you find yourself awake on the cold kitchen floor with no blankets or pillows! Ask yourself how easy it would be for you to fall back to sleep on the kitchen floor? No very easy right? Well, this is what is happening with your child. They are USED to falling asleep a certain way with sleep associations or sleep crutches, so when the wake, they are looking for the SAME sleep associations/crutches to help them get back to sleep.
Establishing a healthy sleep routine can help them learn the necessary skills to become an independent sleeper. It can be done!!! Don’t let your fears prevent you from taking the necessary steps to helping your family. Sleep is food for the brain!