Sleep training may not be for the weak, but it's definitely for the tired. Each and every family dynamic is different, along with their infants. Some lucky families experience a baby who sleeps well from day one, while others have children who are unsettled at bedtime up into the age of six. Every. Child. Is. Different. This is why, when it comes to sleep training, it's important to weigh your pros and cons, do your research and potentially hire a professional sleep consultant when you're going through a rough patch of sleep.
With this in mind, there are some things to remember to help settle yourself when you decide to dive into sleep training. Again, it may not be easy on the heart (or ears), so, we have listed ten essential things to remember when you decide to sleep train. Buckle up, you may want to write these down before go all in.
10 YOU'RE TIRED
When you're tired, you're not doing your best. As a parent, you have so much on your plate. From remembering to prepare meals, to pay bills, to simply keep your children alive and well (along with yourself), the pile of responsibility adds up. Of course in the early days of life, it will be difficult to keep up with your zzz's. However, it is important to know when enough is enough. If you have compromised your mental and physical health way too much for the well being of you and your family, then it may be time to consider sleep training. Only you can decide. And, if you notice you're so incredibly sleep deprived you don't know what else to do, this may be enough to push you into making the decision to sleep train.
9 THEY'RE MORE TIRED
When your child is cranky, it can easily effect your mood as their parent, too. Sometimes, the child's sleep is compromised when they're used to waking every night for feeds, changes and cuddles. Children often wake at the same time each night because of habit. This, is incredibly common. So, it may be important to schedule their nights and influence them to sleep through as safely and best as you can. Speak with a professional sleep consultant if you have any doubts, there are very innocent ways in sleep training.
8 BABIES AND CHILDREN THRIVE ON ROUTINE
Touching back on schedules, you may notice that your child wakes the same time each night. This is due to their ability to channel their body-alarms. It's simply habit. The longer you "put up" with their wake ups, the longer it may take for them to get used to sleeping through the night.
Now, we may not be saying that it's a good idea to train a child incredibly young- especially if they still need to feed during the night; however, if you know your child is well fed, is fully capable of sleeping through, then it may be time to get them used to a snack-free evening.
7 SLEEP ASSISTS WITH BRAIN DEVELOPMENT
Babies grow so incredibly fast. Their brains just as fast. We, as humans, need sleep to live productive and healthy lives. Just as adults, babies and children need sleep and rest to provide positive feelings in their brains. Resting is so incredibly important. If neither parent nor child is resting long enough at night, it can cause intense iratability, trouble napping and issues socializing due to exhaustion. No one likes being sleep deprived. You child may be more tired than you think.
6 MORE ENERGY WHEN BABE (ACTUALLY) GETS DOWN
When you decide to sleep train, you realize how much energy you actually have after they go down peacefully for the evening. In this time, you may be able to watch TV, get some house work done, do some freelance work or even meet a friend or two for an evening glass of wine! The opportunities are endless.
When the parent is exhausted, they'll likely have little energy to do nearly anything. It's important to get the right amount of restful hours in the nights to feel like you're old self- to get things done that you wouldn't be able to if you were sleep deprived.
5 THIS TOO IS JUST A PHASE
Always remember- this is just a phase. Just as every moment is going so quickly before our eyes, these sleeping woes will pass, as well. So, if it's time to bite the bullet and sleep train, remember: 1 no one will remember the cries IF they cry and 2 it may not take as long as you expect. Perhaps a couple of nights. Regardless, it's important to remember these feelings of anxiety, concern or sadness you may have regarding sleep training will pass. Perspectives change and you will be well rested once it works.
4 IT'S OK TO TAKE A WALK
This one's a toughy: if you're not willing to hear your child cry (and this is IF they cry), then you're welcome to take a walk around the block. You can even put music on to drown out the sound of your child's complaints. Of course, age permitting and comfort level as well, only you know when it's the right time to sleep train. Speak with a professional if you have concerns regarding sleep training and of course you never want to leave your child uncomfortable for an extended period of time.
However; if even the slightest level of tears is hard for you to handle- get out of the house for a breather. This too shall pass, remember.
3 YOU'RE NOT A BAD PARENT
Especially when it comes to the parent who is a very nurturing and loving one, having to make the decision to be more "strict" at bed-time, it's not rare to feel guilty about sleep training your child. No matter the age, it's hard to change routine for any child. Whether 1 years old or 5, it's difficult to introduce a new route for the child to get used to. It's just as difficult for the parent, especially if the baby or child is not co-operating and not comfortable with the change. Remember why you've decided to do this and do no feel bad. You are a great parent and you're likely doing this to benefit the lives of your family in the end.
2 YOUR CHILD STILL LOVES YOU
No matter how much they yell or scream, your child will wake up more refreshed and feeling grateful. Your child still loves you. They will likely be able to show more compassion once they're well rested, too. So, always remember what you've decided to do, by sleep training, is best for their minds, bodies and souls. Just as much as it is yours.
1 YOU WILL FEEL RELIEVED ONCE IT'S OVER
Again, this is just a phase. It will likely be over in the blink of an eye. It will soon be a memory in the past. Laughs and smiles once discussed in the future. If you decide to sleep train, know that you and your child will feel a major sense of relief. You may never have to experience struggle at bed time. A time where you need to rest your mind- not fight it. Sleep training may be a good choice for some families. So, again- do your research and speak with professionals to see what your potential options are for a better night's sleep.