Day 8 of lockdown and one of my friends finally asked “what do you actually do?” and how do I help people. While none of my friends have children yet, it still made me wonder what other people thought about sleep training and what sleep consultants do.
Maybe you as parents have reservations about what sleep training involves which then puts you off messaging a sleep consultant. Here I am hoping to put to bed (pardon the pun!) some of your possible concerns and answer some common questions.
1- When do you need help from a sleep consultant?
This obviously varies from family to family. Some parents have newborns with immediate sleep challenges whereas some find the problems only start occurring when their child is a few years older.
Some people try every other solution they hear about, whether it’s the method their friend recommends or something they see online. This can get very overwhelming and conflicting and makes them feel very disheartened by the whole thing.
2- Are you ready to start gentle sleep training? And what does it involve?
The first step is to book a free 15-minute call where we’ll chat about your situation and how it’s affecting your family life. I try to help parents consider what may happen if they do nothing about their situation and how, ideally, they’d like things to look.
If you decide to go ahead, there follows a comprehensive assessment, a face-to-face consultation (all done online so it doesn’t matter where you live!) and typically between 2-4 weeks of support to help you through the plan. It’s best to implement the plan at a time with no other major disruptions in your normal day-to-day life e.g a holiday or moving house.
The plan is 100% tailored to your specific family dynamics so there’s no need to worry if there are uncontrollable factors e.g both parents working and the child having alternative childcare arrangements or siblings sharing a room. Fear not, I’ll be able to advise you on how best to work around your personal family arrangements.
Sleep training your child might be tough. It is hard to remain completely consistent, to be more resilient than your child and to not give in when the going gets tough. But it’s also tough on your whole family for things to remain as they are. And with sleep training there’s a light at the end of the tunnel!
3- Does sleep training even work?!
The simple answer is yes! Although, there are some conditions to this statement. Sleep training is designed for behavioural-based sleep problems. If there are underlying medical issues, progress can still be made, but it can affect the overall outcome. We therefore suggest that if you have an
y medical concerns, that these are checked out first.
When you are ready to commit, I will consider your family’s unique situation. This includes taking into account your child’s temperament which matters because I will choose the most suitable approach for your child’s personality. I will also consider what’s happening right now in your own situation, before creating a bespoke step-by-step sleep play specific to your child’s needs.
You’ll be given the tools and knowledge to implement that plan and I’ll be there every step of the way to help hold you accountable because the cornerstone to successful sleep training is 100% consistency in the right approach. If you feel you’re not going to be able to stick to the plan, you’re better to not start at all, as gibing your child mixed messages can leave you in a worse situation what you started in.
But, be assured that the approach I use as a Certified Sleep Nanny Consultant is truly gentle and fully responsive. Probably even more gentle and more responsive than what’s happening right now with your child’s sleep challenges- because right now you might have to rock your child to sleep each time or face daily bedtime battles and frequent night wakings. Your child’s frustration and crying is their way of saying “I need you… I want to be able to go back to sleep but I don’t know how to do that by myself!”. In that case, surely a more appropriate response is to gently teach your child the amazing skill of self-settling.
So, what are you waiting for? You will never regret giving your child this precious gift. Setting them up to go forward in life.