I am often asked, what exactly do you do when you help families with their child’s sleep problems? What does it entail? Does the child just cry and cry and finally fall asleep? Do you go to a family’s house and help them put their child to bed? Is sleep coaching the right choice for my family?
When a family comes to me because their child has sleep issues I take a detailed look at their child’s 24 hour schedule as well as any key issues from birth to the present that may help give me a clearer picture of the child’s personality, health and behavior (both asleep and awake). All of these come into play when creating a sleep coaching plan. I have a consultation with the parents where we discuss their child and their goals for sleep. We discuss the detailed history form that they have filled out as well as any concerns or questions. I create a customized plan that the parents feel comfortable with and will be able to follow through with as well as one that I feel will be effective. The parents implement the plan themselves and I have daily calls with the family during the 1-2 weeks of sleep coaching as well as email support. I review sleep logs, trouble shoot new issues and make adjustments to the plan as needed. Most parents are grateful for this continued support and it is often the key to their success!
When most people think of sleep training a baby or child they assume there will be a lot of crying. While there does tend to be some crying, the method I recommend if far more gentle on both the child and the parent. I was trained by Kim West, The Sleep Lady, and her method know as the “Sleep Lady Shuffle” is more gentle than the extinction or graduated extinction methods. You stay with your child and provide verbal and physical reassurance as they learn the skill of putting themselves to sleep. You gradually move away from their crib or bedside as they perfect the skill.
Is sleep coaching right for you? Can’t I just read a book and follow the steps? Will your child grow out of their sleep problems?
Sometimes reading a book is all a family needs to get their child’s sleep on track, but other times a family needs a customized plan and personalized support. Often I see families that are just too exhausted to read a book and try to implement something themselves. Children are not likely to out grow their sleep problems. Sometimes there is a medical issue that the parent’s are unaware of, something subtle that can be affecting their sleep and other parts of their life. Many sleep problems are behavioral and will need to be addressed to stop the current pattern of behavior.
Please contact me if you are interested in learning more. I would love to help your child and your family get consistent restorative sleep!