Today I’ll be discussing what exactly sleep training is and how you can tell if you’re ready to take the plunge and change your child’s sleep habits. Sleep training is when a parent or carer encourages their child to learn to settle independently at night and/or during their daytime naps. The ultimate aim is to get your child to fall asleep on their own and to prevent frequent night awakenings. There are a number of different methods which can achieve this, so it is essential that you find one that you are comfortable with and that is suitable for you and your child.
Of course, for many parents, the whole process can feel daunting. And because you want to be the best parent for your child this can be a stressful period. You’ve had many sleepless nights. You are drained and exhausted. And you just want to find a way out of all this. So, before you start sleep training your child, ask yourself this:
- Are you exhausted from being woken up in the night?
- Are you fed up of having no time to yourself in the evenings?
- Are you overly tired and stressed during the day?
- Are you struggling to focus and unable to concentrate on your work?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these, then you are acknowledging that you need to address these issues in your life and find a way that allows the whole family to get the sleep they need and deserve.
The way out
You are the key to fixing your child’s sleep habits no matter how entrenched they may be.
From my experience, I have found that the more determined the parent is to make the change, the more successful they are at doing so once they start one of my sleep welfare packages. Remember that you are so important to ensuring that sleep training your child is successful. Parents have such incredible resilience and persistence. But getting your child sleeping is well worth the effort so that your whole family can thrive.
Can’t cope with the tears?
So many parents have told me that they are desperate to improve their child’s sleep, but the main stumbling block is that they can’t bear listening to their child cry. This is often the hardest part of sleep training and when your child is really screaming there’s no denying that it’s just plain awful. But, remember there are some very gentle ways to teach your child to sleep better, although of course it can take longer and you need to be strong and persistent.
I also find it helpful to look at crying as a baby or child’s way of communicating. For adults, crying can signify pain, distress or even emotional joy. But for a young baby or toddler who has no or very little speech, crying can mean anything from “I’m uncomfortable” to “I want you”.
So, what are your options?
If you’ve decided you’re ready, then what next? These are the options:
a) Baby sleep consultation
The first option available to you, is that you can contact a baby sleep consultant for a sleep consultation. There are several baby sleep consultants that you can find on the internet, or preferably through personal recommendations. This can be a great option for parents who want someone to talk to and contact whilst they put their sleep plan into practice. The downside of this option is that it can be very expensive depending on the extent of support you need.
b) Research and read
The second option is to read, read, read. There are hundreds of books and articles all focusing on baby sleep and the different methods that you can use to get your baby to sleep. If you have the time and (energy!), you can collate and sift through the information yourself and perhaps come up with a sleep plan that you are happy with. For time-starved parents who are looking for a quick solution, this approach might not be the one for you.
c) Online courses
There is also the option of taking an online course. Some sleep consultants offer online courses where you can learn about baby sleep and develop appropriate strategies for your family. This is not a bad option provided you have time and energy to spare.
d) Generic sleep packages
The fourth option is buying a generic sleep package. Some sleep consultants offer sleep packages based on the age of your child. These are cheaper than using a one-to-one consultation with a traditional sleep consultant. But bear in mind that the information they provide is very general. It is not tailored to your child specifically. The packages will require you to sift through their material and choose the appropriate approach for your child.
e) Sleep Superstars’ tailored sleep welfare packages
The option which gives you the best of everything, is one of my carefully tailored sleep welfare packages. In putting together my packages, my aim was to combine the best of all the above options to create the optimal option for you at an affordable price. The sleep packages include a sleep plan and resource pack that is tailored to your child and your family and take into account your preferences as a parent. This will ensure that you are given only the information that is relevant to you. The big advantage to you is that this is both affordable and immediate.
After selecting your package and completing our online questionnaire which tells us all about your child and your family, you will get instant access to your sleep package. Over and above this, Sleep Superstars has developed a unique Sleep Support Hub – a one-of-a-kind resource to answer all your questions and concerns. We set this up when we realised that parents were having to trawl forums to get the information they wanted and we realised how time consuming this was. Our Hub is detailed, comprehensive and continually updated. No other baby sleep consultant provides a resource quite like this one. It’s there to help you every step of the way whilst you work on your goal of helping your child sleep better so that you can get the rest you need and deserve.
Whatever you choose to do, it is really important to keep persistent and focused. If you chop and change trying out different methods or suggestions this can make your child even more unsettled. So if you decide you are ready to sleep train your child, go for it! Set aside some time in your diary to really focus on getting your little one’s sleep sorted.
If you are looking for help to sleep train your child, we offer sleep welfare packages for children aged 6-36 months. We are passionate about helping families sleep and we look forward to helping you and your family. To find out more see the About Us section or read about How it works.