July 22, 2024


Nurturing Whole Body Health

Sleep Training Tips – Cheeky Chops

Before electricity people would rise and fall with the world’s natural light source, which fit in with our natural biological clock – back then many people got the sleep that they needed. Today in our fast paced 24-hour society our ability to maintain adequate quality sleep is suffering – ask yourself where is sleep on your list of priorities?

This is true to for children and babies – with so many classes and activities to participate in – many babies, toddlers and Mum’s are over scheduled. Some of these classes clash with a child’s natural dip in alertness so regular naps become increasingly difficult to establish. More sleep is required in infancy than any other age group and lack of healthy sleep for babies and children is detrimental to physical and mental health; it should not be underestimated.

The biggest challenge for most parents of course is how to obtain this quality sleep for their children if habits are already ingrained, the thought of making changes can seem daunting with so many current schools of thought, combine this with your own sleep deprivation and the whole concept becomes extremely overwhelming.

First of all you need to decide what you and your family perceive a healthy sleep regime to encompass – what are you comfortable with and not comfortable with. Don’t feel pressured to make changes because of external sources. Do what’s right for your family.

It is possible to make changes with the appropriate knowledge and guidance – but don’t expect fantastic results immediately – be realistic. For children who already have associations or have a multi-layered issue, sleep training is a learning process and is done in stages to make the transition go smoothly for everyone. It takes time, persistence and most importantly consistency. Imagine trying to learn how to play a game if somebody always kept changing the rules – you would never learn to play the game – right?

Here is a list of questions and tips to consider before making changes to your family’s sleep.

  • Do you have a daily routine? Children thrive on predictability. If you never knew was going to happen or when you would next eat or sleep – how would you feel?
  • How does you baby or child fall asleep? If you baby uses a crutch (rocking, Mum or Dads chest, breast, bottle etc) once your baby is in a light sleep they will have brief awakenings and constantly need the same conditions to get back to sleep and these results in no sleep for all parties involved. How would you feel if you went to sleep in your bed warm and cozy with your duvet and pillow and woke up on the front lawn?
  • Where does you baby sleep? Choose one place where your baby can sleep – preferably a crib – this is where they should take the majority of all naps and all nighttime sleep. Would you feel well rested if your place of sleep varied – car – stroller – couch – sling – swing?
  • What time does your child go to bed? Missing your child’s natural lull is essential if you want an easy transition. An overtired child often acts wired and once wound up is very difficult to settle. Do you feel drowsy after dinner and then get a second wind later in the evening?
  • Does your child nap on a daily basis? Don’t underestimate the importance of daytime sleep. If you child is constantly missing naps then their ability to cope in their surroundings decreases and then they easily meltdown. How do you cope when you are tired after a long busy day and are preparing dinner, with the phone ringing, the television on, organizing tomorrow and trying to watch the children? I am sure that you feel like screaming, just like a child does.

    Making changes to your baby or child’s sleep should be done when there are no other major life changes taking place so that you can concentrate and provide dedication. It’s not fair to your baby or child to keep changing tactics or methods – this will only lead to confusion. Visit my website for a chart on sleep and nap requirements for your baby or child per 24 hours and please feel free to ask me any questions about your baby or children sleeping habits if you have concerns.