I’ve said it before (in this book, actually!) and I’ll say it again. Your child’s temperament plays a HUGE role in how they sleep, both during the day and at nigh time. So how do you know what kind of temperament your child has? Read on to find out…
Firstly, know that your child’s personality is innate. That is, it cannot be learned and try as you might you just cannot change it. And nor would you want to! Our personalities are what make us individuals, and why we love our kids so much. We love the people they are, flaws and all! So this isn’t about identifying your child’s temperament and moulding it into something else. It’s about accepting their temperament and finding ways to work with it instead.
The Easy Child
One type of temperament is often called ‘easy’ and babies who fall into this category tend to need very little assistance when it comes to sleep. They’re naturally easy going and adapt to new situations easily and calmly. Often parents assume this is the ideal baby to strive for, and while there are obvious benefits, we obviously can’t all bring home one like this when we leave the hospital!
The easy child will respond positively to a gentle sleep training program, and will be relatively easy to settle down to a new routine too. So while they’re labelled as ‘easy’ that isn’t to say there are never any issues. Even great sleepers can have their routines disrupted thanks to illness, teething, regressions etc. But these babies are more likely to pick up on new techniques quickly and respond well to intervention.
The Difficult Child
As the name suggests! Not the best label, but probably the most accurate. The difficult child is more likely to resist new routines and changes to her sleep schedule than other babies. Her temperament tends to be more fiery and less open to new ideas, but that doesn’t mean she can’t be a joy to be around! It simply means that they adapt to changes more slowly, and show more signs of wanting to do things their own way. Not to be confused with a toddler!
The difficult child will not be easy to sleep train, as the title suggests, but it’s not impossible. These babies need you to choose a gentle sleep training program that works well for them as individuals, and they most definitely do not respond well to cry it out methods either. No cry sleep solutions are really the only way to go with these babies.
The Slow Warm Up Child
Probably most babies will fall into this category to be fair. The slow to warm up child tends to resist changes initially, but eventually gives in- a lot more quickly than a difficult child would. This means that gentle sleep training can still be a challenge, but it is still achievable.
Do you know which ‘type’ your little one falls into?
When you become aware of your baby’s temperament, it’s a lot easier to predict what reaction she may have when you tweak her routine or decide to introduce a new sleep training program. Easy babies are going to, obviously, be a lore more easy to train, and difficult babies are going to need a lot more attention. I don’t recommend cry it out techniques for any babies, whether they are classed as easy or not. There are plenty of gentle sleep training methods that work really well, and when you know more about how your little one is likely to react it’s easier to set yourself realistic goals and realistic time frames too.