Sleep Training/Coaching can be an amazing way to change some not so favourable sleep habits your little one may have. Unfortunately, taking on the task of sleep training some children can be a difficult one. When taking on sleep training alone, there are some common mistakes that can prolong the process, and cause more tears than normally. The increased crying, and not so fast results can cause parents/caregivers to become discouraged, so parents give up quickly and assume the training failed, or that their child's habits are unbreakable.
Often times, all parents need to become successful with breaking these habits is another set of eyes. Sometimes after spending so long trying to access a situation, the problem can be overlooked which causes frustration. Ever heard someone say "you can't proof read your own work?" Well it is absolutely true. Being fully engulfed in a situation/problem can make blinders go up.
Have you been a parent who tried to tackle sleep training, but ended up giving up and falling back into old habits? You are not alone!
Common sleep training mistakes;
SCHEDULE ISN'T AGE APPROPRIATE:
Following age appropriate wake times, day sleep amounts, and bedtimes play a major role in the success rate of sleep training. Keeping a child up too much during the day can result in protesting bedtime, and restless sleep. Too much sleep during the day can cause the same effects! If you are unsure about your child's schedule, you can check out my FREE sample schedules here: www.sleepe-zzzconsulting.com/guides
LACK OF CONSISTENCY:
Consistency is also a major role in successfully sleep training your child. Doing one thing on night/day, and then switching up the next day is confusing to your child. If you choose to break habits, it is important to not fall back and give into the habits the next day. This teaches your little one that the harder and longer they cry, they will get what they desire.
GIVING UP WHEN THE EXTINCTION BURST HAPPENS:
The concept of the extinction burst isn’t only related to sleep training - its a psychological concept that extends into everyday life. Extinction bursts happen when you stop reinforcing a behaviour. In the case of sleep training- dropping sleep props. The extinction burst typically happens around night 3-5. Your child realizes their behaviour is no longer getting the wanted response, that it once did. In return, they think “maybe I just need to do this louder AND longer.” It is extremely important to remain consistent during these nights, and remember they will pass!
NOT BEING READY:
This is a big one for parents. Parents/caregivers start to feel guilty after the first night or two and give up. This again only teaches your little one that they only need to fight longer and harder to get help falling asleep. Before you decided to start your training, I urge parents to make sure they are ready and to put a plan incase you become overwhelmed.
Sleep Training takes work and commitment. There are a lot of bumps in the road along the way, and no child is a perfect sleeper. Many parents want to see success right away because of the exhaustion that is being dealt with. While I understand the urge for sleep, just hang in there. All children progress at different speeds!
RESPONDING TO NIGHT WAKINGS INCORRECTLY:
Did you know you should ALWAYS wait 10-15 minutes before responding to a night waking period? This is recommended because some children can appear to be awake while transitioning to a new sleep cycle, while they are actually in a semi-conscious state. Parents automatically assume they need assistance and go to their aid, doing this actually causes your little one to fully wake up from the stimulation, and can be more difficult for them to fall back asleep.
Are you stuck in a sleep training journey? If so, I can help!