There is nothing in life as rewarding as raising children. From the first moment you lay eyes on your little one, your heart is filled with a love you have never experienced before. But with this overwhelming love comes another emotion, almost equally as strong, overwhelming responsibility.
With all the books, articles, blogs, and well-intentioned friends and family offering advice (some welcome and maybe some not so welcome), it can seem like information overload. How should you feed your infant? When should you feed her? How should you dress her? How much tummy time is enough? When should you try solid foods? Which ones should you serve first? Should you feed your child or let her self-feed? Is she gaining enough weight? Suddenly you are making a hundred decisions a day. It can be easy to feel both ill-prepared and buried in the responsibility of trying to do everything “right”.
Maybe the greatest struggle, with children from infancy throughout childhood, is sleep. How can you get your baby to sleep? Why doesn’t your baby want to nap suddenly? How can you get her to sleep in the crib all night long? Should you rock her to sleep? Why does she wake up every hour at night? Concerns regarding sleep are at once varied and universal. At some time in your child’s life, she will struggle with sleep. For some children, it can be a quickly passing stage. But for others, sleep problems become bigger challenges.
1. You have already tried everything, but nothing worked
The renowned Dr. Benjamin Spock once said “Trust yourself, you know more than you think you do.” However, it can happen that you wonder what you can do more when it comes to your child’s sleep issues. You have followed your instincts, read all the books, countless blog articles, tried the well-intentioned advice of your friends and family, but nothing seems to work. You may feel like you are at the end of your rope and start to believe you will never feel rested again. Where can you turn when you are truly feeling like sleeping is an impossible feat?
In the past, parents in this situation were stuck duking it out on their own. They continued on with trial and error, some successfully, many not. They remained stuck in this cycle, for days, weeks, even years. The family all took a toll. But there was little else to do but just grin and bear it, and hope that eventually sleep would magically find its way to their homes.
But today’s parents have access to professionals, versed in these circumstances, for support. Certified sleep coaches are trained professionals with experience and education in all types of sleep issues that you may be facing. Through training and experience, these sleep experts can offer you the solutions you have been waiting for.
2. You get age-appropriate advice
Before deciding how to tackle your child’s sleep issues, you need to consider your child’s age. Sleep coaching is not recommended for most babies under 18 weeks old. Prior to that time, your child is still learning to survive outside the womb and is acclimating to new surroundings. Before babies reach 4 to 5 months, it is normal to have little or no distinctive sleep patterns and that is okay. But after that period of life, if they are still not developing some kind of regularity, a certified sleep coach may be a great first step.
Also, when you decide to hire a certified sleep coach, this latter will suggest age-appropriate routines, bedtime rituals and sleep coaching techniques. The customized sleep plan will vary in many ways if the child in question is a baby, a toddler or a preschooler. A certified sleep coach is a great asset to help guide you in custom-made strategies and coach you in how to help your child to learn to put herself to sleep.
3. Your child is unique
Age is one among many criteria defining a person. We can not limit ourselves to this aspect. Every single child is special, with unique combinations of abilities and needs that affect learning. For this reason, one-size-fits-all approaches found in books and blog posts cannot work for everyone. Each solution is as unique as the child that needs it. If the same techniques were working for all kids, you would have already solved your little one’s sleep issues yourself. This is simply not the case. A trained sleep coach can become familiar with your situation and analyze your child specifically.
As a certified sleep coach, it is my duty to understand each child in all her particular traits, her history (even if we are only talking about a few months), her temperament and the family circumstances. It is essential to take the time to get the whole picture. The gathered information is then carefully examined in order to bring to light possible causes or contributing factors to a child’s sleep issues.
Related post: 6 Things You Did Not Know About A Baby’s Sleep
4. Your family has unique dynamics
Sleeping issues have a profound impact on the family as a whole. Baby may be waking other siblings and ruining their sleep as well. When baby isn’t sleeping, neither are you and this can be a very difficult problem to overcome. Without sleep, you don’t function as well. You are more easily frustrated, more forgetful, and obviously exhausted. You find yourself feeling more like a zombie than the amazing parent you’ve always dreamed of being. Suddenly, even the simplest tasks become daunting. Without sleep, no one thrives. Sleep is an important part of life-meant to rejuvenate and replenish our bodies. Without it, small tasks become insurmountable.
No families are alike. Therefore, certified sleep coaches do not only focus their research on the child but also on the parents and siblings. I always do want to know if one of the parents ever dread bedtime, is scared of darkness, struggles to set a bedtime routine or if she/he feels anxiety when falling asleep even if the little one is sleeping soundly. I also need to know where the child sleeps and if the room is shared with the parents or siblings.
5. You are assured of obtaining accurate information
A certified sleep coach is not simply going to teach your child to sleep. The sleep expert will explain how to help your child to successfully go and stay asleep. Old methods of letting babies “cry it out” alone in a dark room are outdated and painful, both for child and parent.
Perhaps most importantly of all, a certified sleep coach uses education and research-based methods to help you and your child. Instead of scouring through tons of anecdotal evidence in the latest parenting books, or listening to the traditional wives tales of your friends and family, you will learn techniques that are based in hours and hours of research and training. Certified sleep coaches can also make you aware that your child might be suffering from medical conditions that may be contributing factors to their sleep issues. You will then be advised to schedule an appointment with your pediatrician or another health professional.
A certified sleep coach works to make sleep time a positive experience for everyone involved. You will get clear guidance in how to support your child in learning to sleep successfully. Proven techniques and strategies will be used to help your child to transition into bedtime, fall asleep and stay asleep all night long.
6. You get inestimable support
Perhaps, the most valuable asset that a certified sleep coach can bring to your family, is the added support. The most common reasons of sleep coaching failure is the lack of patience and consistency in the parental approach.
Dealing with sleep issues can be overwhelming and exhausting. No solution is immediate and there is rarely a quick fix. Creating new sleep habits and routines can take time. It is invaluable to have an expert on your team that can answer questions, offer advice, and give you assurance that the steps you are taking do work over time. You no longer have to wonder if you are making the right choices or taking the correct path. Your certified sleep coach can guide you step by step, taking all of the guesswork out of solving your child’s sleep problems.
Parents are often confronted to new situations during the sleep coaching process. In most cases, questions pop up after the customized sleep plan has started to be implemented. So, a certified sleep coach will be at your disposal to answer all the questions you might not have thought about at first. You will be lucky to skip additional hours of research!
7. You can implement a customized sleep plan at your earliest convenience
Based on the goals defined at the first place by parents, a certified sleep coach will draw an action plan (I call it a customized sleep plan). Again, since each family has a different lifestyle and every child is unique, objectives may vary greatly.
While many parents spend years trying to teach their children good sleep habits, a certified sleep coach can generally help to make great improvements with your child in a period of just 2 to 6 weeks. I use my experience to pinpoint the strategies that might work for a child quickly, helping to avoid all the wasted time and energy of trial and error that many parents are using.
Why wait? The sooner you begin working with a certified sleep coach, the sooner he/she can help you on your way to a better, more rested, and joy filled life. There is no greater investment than being free of the exhaustion that you are needlessly experiencing. The time is now! The sooner you begin to instill new, positive sleep habits, the easier it will be. We all know old habits die hard, and these ones are no different. The sooner you can get a handle on these issues, the better for everyone involved.
Your child is unique in every way. Your family is unique as well. Don’t look for a cookie-cutter sleep training solution to solve such an important issue in your family. Your child is worth it! You are worth it! Your sleep is worth it!
Imagine the first night your child goes to bed quietly, calmly and without complaint. How would you feel after a great night of uninterrupted sleep, ready to tackle your day? This situation might sound like a pipe dream, but it’s closer to reality than you might think. As I tend to say: “The distance between your dreams and reality is called sleep coaching.”
If you would like to get more information on how to improve the quality and / or the quantity of your child’s sleep (and yours at the same time), do not hesitate to schedule a 15-minute preliminary consultation. It is a totally FREE & NON-BINDING offer!