The right sleep training method is one that works for both you and your baby, and one that you can commit to. When considering sleep training techniques, there are a few things you’ll need to take into account; for example, your parenting philosophies and the temperament of your baby.
It’s important to find the right sleep training method for you and your baby, and it’s downright critical that you remain consistent with your sleep training. This is absolutely crucial for sleep training to be successful, but it’s something a lot of parents struggle with, which is understandable. Sleep training techniques require a lot of patience, and some time before they start to produce results. That’s why at Sleep Right Tonight, we use gentle sleep training methods. My methods are simple to follow, and achievable for both parents and their baby/toddler.
Often parents find it hard to stay consistent because of the way their babies or toddlers react to sleep training. Most of you know first-hand by now, but it’s worth emphasising: sleep training will almost always involve a little bit of crying.
It doesn’t have to involve full blown crying, but even gentle sleep techniques often involve a minimal amount of crying. Why, you ask? The answer is simple - you’re changing the rules, and babies and toddlers love routine and consistency! While your little one is adjusting to their new methods of self-settling, a small amount of crying can be expected. Don’t fear, Sleep Right Tonight’s methods do not involve crying-it-out. On the other hand, I encourage parents to sit with their little one while they fall asleep and offer comfort and reassurance whenever needed.
Here’s the thing: sleep training won’t work unless you’re consistent. Really, this applies to other aspects of parenting too, like discipline. Let’s say you’re trying to teach your little one not to touch the hot oven. Imagine you spent three days strictly enforcing your ‘no touching’ rule, only to give up on day four and not say a thing when your little one touches the oven. This is confusing to your baby; why was it wrong one day, but fine the next? As a result of the mixed message, your little one won’t learn the new rules nearly as quickly as if you’d been consistent in enforcing the rule.
The same is true for sleep training. For instance, let’s say you’ve been feeding your baby to sleep for months now, but want to wean that sleep association. For the first three days, you put her into bed drowsy but awake. This is a great start! But if you give up on day four and feed her to sleep again, you’re sending your baby a mixed message. Inconsistency such as this will set you back in your efforts to help her sleep through the night.
Why is consistency so important during sleep training?
So why is consistency the key? Because both children and adults need plenty of time and space to practice a new skill. In many ways, that is what sleeping through the night is for your baby or toddler - a new skill! Think about the times you’ve had to learn something new. You probably made some mistakes in the beginning, but over time you figured it out. Now imagine if, just a few hours in to your learning process, someone had stepped in and taken over and started doing the very thing you were learning to do for yourself. Think about it this way: when you’re consistent in your sleep training, you’re giving your baby time and space to practice a new skill. The learning process may not be easy and may involve some crying or fussing, and it may take a few nights to get it right. But, this is how learning often works!
Finding the right method, and staying consistent may seem to conflict each other at times. Here’s my advice. If you’re trying a new sleep training technique, such as my ‘Stay in the room method’, stick with it for at least one whole week for both naps and bed time. If you’re sleep training a toddler, you may even need to give it two to three weeks! If, at the end of the week your little one hasn’t shown any improvements and is resisting your efforts, we will talk about switching methods to my ‘leave and check’ method.
It can be hard for parents to stay consistent with sleep training when you’re doing it alone. Here’s the good news… when you work with me and the Sleep Right Tonight program, you’ll never feel alone. I will be there to support you and guide you through every step of sleep training your little one. I’ll encourage you and prepare you for what to expect both day and night for the duration of your package. Sleep training doesn't have to be a struggle: you can your family could be sleeping soundly before you know it.