When I meet new families for the first time, one of the first questions I’m often asked is, ‘Will this work for my child?”. A natural question, of course. As parents, we want to do what’s best for our children and we also want to make sure that what we’re doing is going to work. I mean, let’s face it- nobody is going to sleep train a child without good reason. So chances are that by the time you start to consider doing it, you’re already sleep deprived, exhausted, and wondering how on earth you’re going to get through another night like the one you just got through. Having a child that doesn’t sleep can be so draining! So of course you want to know if my methods are going to work. Here are three reasons why gentle sleep training works; take a read and see if this is for you.
I do not ever advocate allowing your child to cry it out. I simply do not believe there is ever any reason to do this! When your child cries, it is because there is a need being communicated to you. Yes, that might be a need to come in and cuddle for a while, but it’s a need none the less. By ignoring this cry, we’re teaching our child that we do not take their needs seriously. We’re teaching our child that we cannot be relied on as a source of comfort or as a person to keep us safe should we be in danger. We’re teaching our child that there is no point calling for us; our child is on their own.
Gentle sleep training works because we teach parents to respond to a child’s cry- so that the communication links are strong, and so that confidence is nurtured. Your child will learn that you’re there no matter what, and in time will grow in confidence until she feels able to sleep independently. Her self-esteem will flourish and her ability to form strong bonds with others will be strengthened too.
No-cry gentle sleep training works because you, the parent, will not feel anguished each and every time you put our child to bed. Instead of ignoring your natural instincts to comfort your child, you will respond to them. This will lower your stress levels, meaning that you’re more able to continue with the sleep training until your child has established good sleep habits for life. Many parents who embark upon a cry it out method are unable to continue because it is too upsetting- thus making all the crying a complete waste of time.
You allow your child to lead the way
Our children are not robots! No matter how much easier it would be, they simply don’t always comply to what we think is the best way to live life. Meaning, some babies just do not sleep through the night when we’re exhausted. Some babies don’t roll over when we think they are the right age to do so. Some babies don’t say ‘Mama’ as their first word.
Our babies are unique, with their own personalities and their own temperaments, and we as parents need to understand and appreciate that. Once we start to connect with our children, we can better understand the issues that are stopping them from sleeping or the methods that are appropriate to help them start to learn better sleep habits.
Gentle sleep training works because parents are encouraged to listen to their child, to respond to their child, and to allow their child to lead the way. I never ask parents to follow a method they aren’t comfortable with, or that they know their child will hate. YOU know your child best, so just as you should allow your child to lead you, I will expect you to lead me too.
You build better sleep habits for life
Gentle sleep training is by no means a quick fix solution. It requires time, effort and patience. Some children will learn very quickly how to settle themselves back to sleep when they wake in the night, and others will need your support for a lot longer. Just as we are all different adults, your child is different too- so don’t expect the same results as your friends or family members who have used similar methods. You’re not creating a quick fix here- you’re building good sleep habits for life.
Gentle sleep training works because unlike cry it out, it is a method that can be called upon time and again as your child grows and moves through different sleep stages. Issues such as teething, illness, development leaps etc can all affect sleep, no matter how well the sleep training went. Further more, a child who was subjected to cry it out is more likely to revert back to poor sleep habits due to a lack of confidence and security. So imagine having to go through that time and again!
Gentle sleep training builds good sleep habits for life, not just for your child but for you too. Reverting back to gentle sleep training methods helps to remind you that you are an instinctive parent who knows their child well, and is able to respond lovingly and appropriately to their needs. That will stay with you through the years, and is an invaluable tool to nourish.