What is sleep coaching
It’s when you choose a method to teach you a little one how to fall asleep on their own. There are many different methods out there, so it’s really important that you choose a method that is going to be the best fit for your family and your child. Taking into account what your child’s temperament is, but also, as a parent or caregiver, what method you feel you’re going to be able to be more consistent with because it really is all about consistency.
Can I teach my little one how to fall asleep without there being any upset or tears?
The short answer to that is not usually. Sometimes you will have a baby, or a child who is really flexible and adaptable and who just goes into this with very little upset, there’s no way for us to really know how each child is going to handle the changes.
The main thing to think about is that when you change a routine they are going to have some upset for the most part,they are just voicing their opinion about how this isn’t comfortable for them yet. With consistency, practice, experience and follow through on the parents’ part, they are going to be able to feel more comfortable and are going to be able to learn this new skill of being able to put themselves to sleep.
The different methods that are out there and our methods
First of all there are a lot of different reasons for families to choose to teach their little ones how to fall asleep through sleep coaching, one of the biggest reasons is making sure that their little ones are getting the sleep that they need.
Babies who are well rested will generally have an easier time focusing and will be able to manage more of their day to day when they’re getting great sleep. So teaching independent sleep can be very beneficial for that. Just teaching them how to feel comfortable falling asleep on their own so that in the night and after a short nap they’re able to roll over and put themselves back to sleep without needing to have somebody in there to help them each and every time.
Night wakings are normal
The goal is not that they are just going to fall asleep, stay asleep and not move all night long. It’s very normal for our children to wake through the night. We wake during the night! We fix our blankets, we adjust our pillows, we use the restroom. They’re going to wake up but the goal is that we give them the confidence to roll over and go back to sleep on their own.
When to start?
You can start teaching sleep around four months of age but the big piece here to remember is, it doesn’t matter if your little ones 13 months, or two and a half or four, it’s never too late to teach independent sleep, there’s always good reason to offer your child this skill of being able to fall asleep on their own and have great sleep for their life.
The pick up put down method
This method is just how it sounds. You put your baby in the crib, awake, maybe a little drowsy. When they start crying or fussing, you would pick them up and hold them until they are calm or drowsy, then you’d put them back down. Keep repeating that method until they fall asleep.
This method can work for some younger babies. However, we do find that a lot of parents who have used this method say that it is very stimulating for the baby. For some babies, that constant pick up and put down, can just be way too stimulating. It can actually frustrate them more, or prolong that period that it would take them to actually fall asleep. You need to have a lot of patience as a parent or caregiver to take on this method.
The chair method
There are a few different variations of this method but the idea is we put our child into bed awake, and we are sitting beside them. The variations of it are that some call for a little more intervention, some call for a little less. The idea is we’re starting beside the bed, starting beside your child and then moving your position every few days until you are out of the room.
You are gradually becoming less involved in the whole process as the days go on. It eases your child into getting used to you not being there. Again, it really depends on your child’s temperament. For some babies, this method might be great. For others, it might make them more upset if you’re sitting beside them, and not really doing a whole lot of intervention, depending on which variation you choose.
The check and console method (Ferber)
This is when you put your child to bed awake and then you leave the room. You would then return to check on your child periodically while extending the period of time between checks until your child falls asleep.
This method also has its variations of how much interaction you do when you check in with them. It’s up to you and your child to determine what level of interaction works best for your child. Some children are ok with just knowing you are there and others need reassurance like a back rub or gentle word.
The extinction method
This last method is extinction or typically what you hear is cry it out. This is when you put your little one into the crib awake and then you close the door and essentially don’t go back in until the morning. This isn’t typically a method that we use. We like to focus on teaching sleep with being able to respond and reassure them and build that confidence in them. This is going to be something that it has to fit with your family. And the goal is short term. We don’t want to be using this for weeks and weeks and weeks. If you do try it and it doesn’t work it’s okay to stop and take a break or try something else. We also want you to know that if you did use this method, and you have a great sleeper, that is fantastic. There’s nothing wrong with doing what works for your family. And this is a method that can work.
Restful Parenting’s methods
We’ve taken bits of all the other methods, and we’ve created our own way of doing it that just better suits our philosophy. Our goal is to give you guys the tools as parents or guardians to be able to teach our little ones, by reassuring them, by taking those little steps, by being emotionally available and being able to respond as we go.
A very important thing about our methods is that we are flexible. If we’re working with our families and we’ve started with a more gradual method, and they want to move towards a method that is a little bit quicker, we’re able to do that. We’re able to take where you are, what your goals are and work with you to really get you to that next level and help you reach your goals. We’ve worked with so many different families, ones that room share, ones that bed share, ones that have baby in the crib right away and we have helped them ALL reach their sleep goals.
Choosing which method that is right for you and your family can be so tough. What’s going to fit for your family? What are you going to be comfortable with?
Whether you are going to take this venture on your own or work with a sleep coach, you want to have a little bit of a guideline. How long should sleep coaching take? We want to be seeing big changes and results within the first few days of working on sleep, because that is what helps you move forward in this process. Some of those things like naps, short naps, and early rising can take a little bit longer to really get all of the pieces of the puzzle together and fully reach your sleep goals. However, you want to be seeing some progress within the first few days.
If you are a week into using a method on your own, and you are not seeing any progress or the progress that you’re seeing is very much up and down and up and down and all over the place. That is when you may want to reach out to a sleep coach, Pam and I would be happy to help you. Because there is likely something within that response or something within the method that you’re using, that isn’t working for your child. So it needs to be tweaked to better suit them.
We’ve worked with many families who have tried this on their own and then come to us and just say you know what, something’s not working I need to figure out what it is. And with all of our years of experience working with children and our your years of experience working in this field, we’re able to pinpoint what it is and help you on that venture towards healthy sleep a little bit faster and then it prevents you from second guessing what you’re doing every at every turn and it holds you accountable.
Now you know about some of those methods that are out there. Look into them and see what best suits you or you can just reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or join our Facebook group group – All things sleep and parenting and we can help you figure out what is best for your family.
We can work with you one on one if that is the route that you would like to take. We are here to help you in whatever way that we can. Sleep is tough and parenting is even harder. You don’t have to do this while exhausted and you definitely don’t have to do it on your own.
We absolutely wish you guys the absolute best of luck. Know that if you do get overwhelmed with all of that research that we are a quick email away – email@example.com and we’d love to chat.