“Sleep Training” with a Certified Child Sleep Consultant
Sleep Training is a topic widely known for training a child to sleep better, but is this what Sleep Training is? How can we separate the facts from opinions? Misleading information and assumptions are flooding the internet and the results…
Inaccurate sleep information keeps circulating.
Parents are tired & frustrated with conflicting arguments – to sleep train or not?
Parents give up, they don’t find the help they need, & their family lives with the negative impacts of sleep deprivation.
How can we change this?
Change the language we use & shift perspective.
Circulate accurate & transparent information.
Direct struggling families to where they can find help.
I avoid the words “Sleep Training”.
Why? Because I don’t fit the common description of what sleep training is. When people think “Sleep Training” they commonly think of a method or intervention that trains the child to sleep better. Sleep training with a Certified Child Sleep Consultant is so much more than just a method.
When a child is struggling to sleep well, it is the parents that need sleep training (education) to learn how they can help their child sleep better. The focus is on educating the parents on what healthy sleep looks like. This education is based on science and nature hand in hand.
Science: Research, studies, data, and expert experience.
Nature: Our body’s natural biological need for sleep. Sleep waves, what we call circadian rhythms, and the effect of the sun and moon/light and dark.
To successfully help the parents help their child, I break this down into very important key elements.
- Understand the child’s sleep history, current sleep details, and family lifestyle.
- Safe sleep and sleep environment.
- The timing of sleep (is so powerful and not to be underestimated!)
- Routine and approach (developed based off of bullet # 1.)
When we have all of these key elements in place the parents can confidently help their child sleep better, with the knowledge gained through a consult and a written sleep plan. Knowledge builds confidence.
The second most important part (well, one of the many important parts!) is having a Sleep Consultant coach the parents through their sleep plan. Why? Because changing the parent’s habits is the hardest part! Especially when parents are tired, change is hard. The coaching process not only helps maintain consistency, but it also gives the parents the extra education and support needed to meet the individual needs of the child and family.
EDUCATION + COACHING = SLEEP
Words I use instead of Sleep Training: Sleep Education, Sleep Shifting, Sleep Shaping, Healthy Sleep, Sleep Coaching; or instead of saying “We did Sleep Training” you could say “We worked with a Sleep Consultant!”
I avoid the words “Cry it Out”.
Why? Because Cry it Out and Sleep Training have been grouped as if Sleep Training is Cry it Out. This is where a lot of the inaccurate and conflicting arguments stem from. There is a lot of misleading information out there and “Cry it Out” talkers/writers are usually to blame. When people think “Cry it Out”, they commonly think of putting the child to bed and ignoring all cries until it’s time to get up. I teach parents that it is so important to understand that we cannot force a child to sleep but we can use science and nature to help shape children’s sleep so they are more likely to get the restorative, quality sleep they need. We can do everything to promote healthy sleep but it is up to the child to fall asleep. Just like healthy eating. We can prepare healthy meals and serve it at appropriate times of the day but we cannot force a child to eat. I teach parents that we always respond to a child’s needs, while also understanding that there is a true need for sleep.
I do not use the common labels for methods in general. Why? Because we rarely use just one method and follow it exactly. I call it the approach and tailor it to suit the family. Sometimes the approach is simple, sometimes it’s more complex. Sometimes it is a mix of methods, sometimes it’s just one or one that leads into another. When we start labelling all these kinds of methods out there, it can get very confusing, especially for tired parents!
I avoid the words “Bad Habits”.
Labelling a habit as bad, well, just isn’t very nice and can come off as offensive. Instead of labelling habits as good or bad, I would ask “is what you are doing safe and is it working for you and your child?”. That’s it! No need to label, judge, or shame. I’m an advocate for “do what works well for you and your family”. If you’re struggling to find what works, know that there is always (caring & non-judgmental) help available.
Need sleep help now? Head over to www.sleepbynature.ca or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Certified by: The Family Sleep Institute
Photo Credit: Susan Glaspell Photography