Google "how do I get my baby to sleep through the night" and advice almost always falls in the following categories:
- set a routine, preferably starting with a bath
- blackout the room to promote melatonin production (our body's hormone that regulate biorhythms)
- timing to avoid an overtired babe
- and, avoid or eliminate sleep "crutches" (meaning something other than your child's own devices are a part of his method of falling asleep)
Wowza, that sounds easy! Everyone have a sleeping child now? Good, glad those tips sorted ya'll out!
Kidding aside, these tips can be helpful for families, but there is a proactive approach that is missing from all the top search engine results... something beyond simply addressing timing and sticking to a plan, and something that is found in you, mom and dad.
In a world when results are often instantaneous with little to no effort, many parents are not even aware that a change in their child's sleep behaviour must start with them first. If you want a relaxing bedtime with your child and a steadfast way of proactively approaching sleep with developmental changes, address how you parent, especially how your offer connection and support to your little one throughout the day and night.
Parenting is overlooked by "sleep experts" because it is HARD WORK to make changes to adult - and ingrained - perspective and habits, let alone walk sleep deprived parents through making these changes. But, parenting is the most effective and FULFILLING approach to help your child relax into sleep!
A fulfilling way to approach your child's sleep... can you imagine it?
What to do, for all ages:
use Staylistening to emotionally support your child through fears and tantrums
offer YOU with Special Time to fill your child's emotional "bucket"
listen to your verbal and body language - what message are you conveying?
take a step back from your preferences and search for what your child needs in this particular phase, taking time to consider what else in daily life may be contributing to your child's behavior (e.g. When Ella was an infant, I loved hanging out with fellow moms and babes for company and support. Ella, on the other hand, would become increasingly stressed, leading to lots of emotional release during and after each visit. Changing how I interacted with other parents and children dramatically affected sleep times for Ella - and truly enhanced our bond. She needed me during her short hours awake, not me paying attention to other moms and babies.)
Parenting practices that support children in emotional turmoil, and what parents role model to their children has a huge impact on how our children feel at bedtime, so we developed Parenting for Sleep with these tenets at the heart of the process.
When it comes to practicing Staylistening, Special Time, and decoding your child's needs, the daily and moment-to-moment efforts are worth it. Our Parenting for Sleep program goes above and beyond to show you how to find sleep without resorting to "quick and dirty" sleep training techniques that leave everyone broken hearted and confused at the next developmental stage. Privately or in our group course, we dive into TRUSTING YOURSELF and TRUSTING YOUR CHILD as a baseline to help change your sleepy mindset and take your whole family to a place of peaceful and love-filled bedtimes.