Are you tired of nighttime wakings and bedtime battles? Are you struggling with establishing a solid sleep routine? Is putting your child down for a nap painful? Then now is the right time to sleep train!
The process of teaching your baby to sleep through the night is going to be a challenge at first, but that initial struggle is extremely worth it. The benefits of consistent full nights of sleep far outweigh a couple nights of getting things on track. Just imagine what it would be like if nighttime and bedtimes weren’t mission impossible anymore!
After three or four nights, your family will start seeing results; but I will admit that the first night can be tough. So, here are a few tips to help you determine the ideal time to start the rewarding journey toward peaceful nights.
Tips for the Right Time to Sleep Train
1. What’s your schedule?
These past few weeks during the Covid-19 situation, many parents have been at home a lot! This is actually a great time to start teaching your child to sleep independently. You have the time and effort to focus on establishing a solid sleep routine.
As the country starts to open or if you’re considered an essential worker, you might not be stuck at home right now, so I suggest waiting until the weekend or when you have a few days at home. This will let you tackle both nighttime and naptime problems. Ideally, I recommend that one parent sticks close to home base for the first week as your child adjusts to the new schedule.
2. Is your child ready?
If your child is sick or dealing with reflux or colic, you’ll want to deal with those issues first before starting sleep training. Ideally, the best chance for success is when your child is healthy and thriving because they will be fussy that first night and we want to make sure that the fussing is from the new routine, not discomfort.
We also don’t recommend sleep training for newborns, however, please feel free to contact us about ways to start setting up solid sleep habits at this age.
3. Do you have support?
If you’re raising your child with your partner, are they onboard? You’re going to need their full support or the pressure of resorting back to a sleep prop like a pacifier or midnight rocking might be too much.
Your partner’s support will also help you get through those first few nights as you might actually experience a little less sleep than normal. As I mentioned, changing your child’s sleep habits and taking away their sleep props is not going to be easy. You should prepare for a couple nights without a lot of sleep. So, make sure you and your partner don’t have an important meeting or event right before diving into teaching your child to be an independent sleeper.
4. Are you experiencing the symptoms of sleep deprivation?
Sleep deprivation will make you depressed, impatient, forgetful, unmotivated, and unfocused. You might even notice a lower sex drive or food cravings, especially for carbs. We often associate these symptoms with “just being a parent of young children”, but this isn’t good for your overall health. If you’re experiencing sleep-deprivation, now is the perfect time to start sleep training.
5. Is your child’s room ready?
The best way to help your child become an independent sleeper is to put your child to sleep in their own room. Their room should be dark and boring. Yup, boring with no mobiles or crib soothers. You should consider investing in blackout curtains to prevent light from waking your child in the morning or to keep light at minimum during daytime naps.
6. There is no “perfect” moment!
I have often heard parents say things like, “we’re waiting until our child’s pops this next tooth, then we’ll start”. I’ve heard many excuses for delaying, but there is never a perfect time. Your child is continually developing – teething, crawling, rolling over, standing, etc. These developmental milestones won’t impede your child’s ability to learn to sleep through the night.
If you’re prepared and can schedule a few days to focus on sleep training, you’re already setting yourself up for the perfect moment. If you’re not sure how to start, we’d love to chat with you. Are you ready for more peaceful nights? I’m ready when you are!