Ask A Sleep Expert: Starting Sleep Training
Q: I am at my breaking point! I haven’t slept in what feels like years (its only been weeks!). I’m exhausted and feel like I need to start looking into the sleep training process but I don’t know where to start. There is so much information help there! How do I start?
A: When a family feels that it’s the right time to start teaching their baby how to sleep, it can feel like an overwhelming task. There are so many books, resources and conflicting information out there. Here are a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to wanting to get your children on the right sleep path
DO prepare yourself. One of the issues I run into most when working with families is the urgency to start the process ASAP. You and your family need to take a bit of time to prepare for the task at hand DON’T rush into it. I always ask my families to take a day or so to look over the plan, set the child’s room up so it is conducive for sleep and a safe sleep environment.
DO hunker down. Teaching your child how to sleep does take consistency. I recommend that until your child is having consolidated naps and night sleep for one full week, just keep at it. This may mean you have to skip your regular coffee afternoon with friends or reschedule that play date but DON’T get discouraged. Helping your child to sleep well takes time. If you don’t see results after a night or two, it doesn’t mean its not working. Remember you are potentially undoing months (and sometimes years) of habits so results won’t happen over night. Stay positive and you’ll all get there.
DO make sure you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to sleep training your child. Many times we see parents have very strong opposing views. You want to make the process as stress free as possible and supporting one another while staying consistent will give you greater chances for success. DON’T have one partner be doing the complete opposite of what the other is doing. Work together as a team and stay positive.
DO formulate a nap and bedtime routine and stay consistent with the timings of naps and for bed. Remember the importance of an earlier bedtime and consistent nap and bed times. DON’T skip a nap or put them down later to sleep “because they just didn’t seem tired” Skipping naps or having inconsistent sleep times will make your child’s sleep inconsistent.
DO set your family up for success and know that you
DON’T have to do it alone. If you need it, ask for help. As Sleep Consultants, we want you and your family to have the best experience possible when heading into what can seem like such a daunting task. With the right information, help, support and guidance, you and your family can achieve your sleep goals
Laura Armstrong is a certified Sleep Consultant at Good Night Sleep Site Toronto and mother to her amazing daughter Norah, and wife to her wonderful husband Daniel. They live in the west end of Toronto. She knows the frustrations behind sleepless nights and overtired children and wants families to know that they’re not alone. When Laura isn’t helping families sleep, she works as a Registered Massage Therapist at her own practice in Toronto located in Roncesvalles Village, specializing in infant and family massage. Laura and her family also enjoy spending time up north at the cottage or just exploring the great city they live in.