We are not sleep consultants. We are Family Sleep and Relationship Specialists who focus on how family relationships affect sleep.
We believe that how we emotionally respond to and support our children is what sets the stage for their self respect and empathy towards others.
The Sleeping Child is a collective of four Educators - Michelle, Randi, Jillian, and Kari - and Sandy, our amazing tech and research support.
We met while certifying as sleep consultants and our friendships grew as we stayed in touch to support each other through the emotional endeavour of starting a new business.
Despite all our successes and celebrations, we had one overarching feeling amongst us: the more immersed in the sleep consultant community we became, the more heavy-hearted and deeply disillusioned we became with the practices we saw.
Why were so many consultants using generic sleep plans and calling them "customized," putting itty bitty babies on strict schedules, recommending to leave a child emotionally unsupported, or telling parents "to stay strong and follow the plan" when they weren't comfortable with what they were experiencing?
Why were they saying that, across the board, a child doesn't need a night feed after 14 weeks or 14 pounds? Or, why were they requiring being home for all naps, therefore trapping parents and children inside all day?
Why? Because it's the way most sleep consultants are taught.
But, this status-quo, strict approach wasn't good enough for us. (And, this is what we think of traditional sleep training.)
We realized that the precipitous change in infant sleep practices had to start somewhere, so we created The Sleeping Child and embraced the challenge to develop realistic, supportive, and family-based sleep solutions. We dove into parenting practices, infant mental health, and developmental milestones, looking into their connection to attachment and sleep.
We also experimented with unstructured naps, family sleep arrangements, feeding-to-sleep, and lifestyle constraints to understand if they had any impact on a child's ability to sleep.
And, here's the reality: every detail is connected, but what those connections looked like were totally dependent on the child and family.
This is how Parenting for Sleep was born.
We encourage parents to nurture sleep with supportive parenting practices instead of simply aiming for "sleeping through the night" without regard to the emotional costs. We eschew the traditional thoughts that children can be "sleep trained" because... let's tell it straight... it's parents who get the real training. It's up to the parent to meet a child's ever-evolving developmental needs and be role models by respecting their own bodies and emotions as well as accepting others'. We believe that mistakes, reflection, learning, love, and patience are core elements of parenting life because, like our children, we are continually maturing and adjusting to being a family.
Between us, we are supportive parents and partners who also teach, run corporate communities, nurse, and conduct academic research. Above and beyond our previous and concurrent careers, we have participated, trained, certified, or are candidates for:
- Hand in Hand Parenting professionals
- Hand in Hand Instructor
- Infant Mental Health Community training by Toronto Sick Kids
- Babies in Mind by Warwick Medical School
- Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work by The Gottman Institute
- MD/PhD at the University of British Columbia
As The Sleeping Child, we offer families a different "sleep training" perspective. Through our blog, speaking engagements and writing, and our Parenting for Sleep services, we hope to enhance the lives of many, including our own.