This is the billion dollar question, isn’t it?! Before you even look into a method that allows you to support your child in falling asleep independently, there are a few different puzzle pieces you want to have in place first. With them in place, you may find they don’t actually need sleep training!
- The right sleep environment. Honestly, this is key! (okay, they’re all key but this is important too). Just like you don’t sleep well outside of the ideal environment, neither will your child. The right sleep environment: has white noise, is as dark as a cave (past the 8ish week mark), has their safe sleep space, is around 68-72 degrees, and most importantly… they associate it positively and with sleep!
- The right schedule. This can be tricky because there are lots of resources out there. I suggest starting with the morning wake time. Log sleep for a week and see what time they’re naturally waking up. Then look at how much sleep they’re actually getting in 24 hours. Are they happy? Overtired? Hyperactive? Fighting all sleeps? That will help you know if they’re higher sleep needs, lower, or just average and then you can adjust the schedule from there. But I will tell you that no matter if you’re sleep training or not, whatever method you choose, TIMING is a huge component in setting them up to be successful in falling asleep independently without a ton of props. Or staying asleep even with props.
- The right routine. Do you have an actual bedtime (and naptime) routine that has a series of events so that your child knows that sleep is coming? We don’t want it to be a surprise! We want it to be well timed and intentional so that they know and accept sleep. Check out this blog on bedtime routines!
- Are they drowsy or asleep when you put them down? That *can* work, but most often will backfire. It’s best that they go into their sleep space from a calm, but awake state so that they are not disoriented by entering the first stage of sleep (drowsy) or already sleep and waking up somewhere else. That’s even confusing to an adult!
These are the things I focus on with my clients first before implementing any sort of sleep training method; some parents find they don’t even have to implement a method and can have a completely tears free experience when they have all the right puzzle pieces in place! If you’re dealing with a severely overtired child, I can’t guarantee that will happen, but it’s always a goal!
Do you struggle with any of those puzzle pieces?
All of them? Don’t know how to support your child in falling asleep independently? I can help with all of it! Set up a free chat and get the process started.