There is a big misconception around infant and child sleep that some kiddos are just good sleepers and some are not, and that they’ll eventually teach themselves to fall asleep. Which then equates to, sorry parents, welcome to a potentially very long season of exhaustion, it’s just the way it is, good luck. I’m here to say THAT IS NOT TRUE! Sure, some kids seem to just be good sleepers and don’t need much help, but we don’t stop there and simply say, “lucky parents.” Because so many more kids need to be taught independent sleep skills, and I am here to say that is possible for any child! Parents don’t have to wear the sleep-deprived hat for years on end; in fact, strong sleep skills can be instilled starting day one of your babe’s life! If you’re reading this with a toddler or older child thinking, “Well I’ve missed the boat, too late”…nope! It is not too late! Even you can get you your evenings and full nights of sleep back. That’s where I come in.
As a a teacher myself, I am so passionate about educating families about newborn sleep! If all parents had a sleep plan and consistently implemented it from day one with their infant, so many sleep challenges that pop up down the road simply wouldn’t exist, or would be much easier to navigate. Although newborns aren’t ready for official “sleep training,” they are absolutely ready and able to get into a sleep routine that grows independent skills. At this age, it is so important that the right awake windows are honored, a sleep routine is implemented, and sleep props are used minimally.
This may sound surprising, however once baby reaches four months old, he or she is ready to learn how to self-soothe! This is also when many babies hit the dreaded four month regression and many families find themselves drowning from here. My Olivia was a great sleeper as a newborn, but we had no idea how to manage the four month regression and didn’t understand what was physically changing with her sleep, so we battled her sleep until she was ten months old! In this window, we are still looking closely at awake windows, a strong sleep routine is crucial, and we need to remove any and all sleep props to insure the baby is soothing himself to sleep each night.
As our sweet babies keep growing, if sleep has been a challenge, it continues to be a challenge in the toddler years. Or maybe this is the first time you’ve really recognized sleep as a problem. This is such a fun age of communication and independence, but that also means this toddler is now communicating what he or she wants, and some kind of negotiating quickly begins, often rearing its little head around bedtime! This is also where early morning wake-ups and short naps like to hang around. At this age, a consistent daytime and bedtime routine helps toddlers understand what’s coming, and consistent bedtime expectations are key to teaching those healthy and independent sleep skills.
By this age, many parents have simply given up the idea that their child could possibly be a good sleeper, and parents’ sleep is strongly affected. Mom or dad might be sleeping with the child for part of or the whole night, or the child might be sleeping with mom and dad for the night. And many parents think their child will “grow out of it eventually,” which is likely true, but “eventually” is the key word there. We need to include this child in understanding his or her new sleep plan and the rewards that will come, and sleep will happen when there’s a consistent bedtime routine and expectations.
If you don’t believe me, read what some recent families I’ve worked with have to say!
Here’s the thing…I know that every child and family is different, and that means everyone’s needs are different. Aside from getting to celebrate independent sleepers at the end of our 2-3 weeks together, I love that I get to work closely with families and customize sleep plans around each one! You will not regret taking the time to teach your child independent sleep skills, and I would love to walk alongside you on your journey. If you’re curious about how I could possibly help you, I’d love to hop on a free call with you to hear more about your child and to share more about how I can come alongside you.