Do you dance, rock, walk, bounce, giggle, drive, or pat your child to sleep each night? How long does it take and how long does it last for? Many parents do what we call “heroic efforts” to get their child to sleep every night, only to have them wake up 45 minutes later. Bedtime is one thing but most children will need you to come back in and use your powers again in the night to fall back to sleep through the night.
If this is a scenario that plays out in your family, your child is likely ready to learn to fall asleep on their own. Especially if what you are doing is working, but not working well, or takes an extended period of time. If your child continues to fuss in your arms, thrash around or arch his back when you are trying to soothe him, he may not know how to go to sleep on his own and may need your help to learn how to fall asleep. You may also be inadvertently over stimulating him at the same time.
Often what we see is that the support to fall asleep was definitely needed but as babies get older even though they still need help falling asleep, this support is overstimulating at the same time.
One family we worked with would take 2 hours each night to rock, walk and bounce their little guy to sleep only to have him wake up 45 minutes later and start the process all over again. There were night wakings too, where the exhausted parents would try to put him in a swing or try co-sleeping. When they contacted us they were desperate. They didn’t want their child to cry but they were at their wits end and couldn’t keep up their efforts.
After a detailed assessment that ruled out any medical reasons as to why their child wasn’t sleeping and assessing temperament. We created a customized sleep plan for their son that would gently help him learn sleep skills and minimize crying.
On night one the Mom called me 7 minutes into the coaching process and she was crying – Her son was asleep! He had a few short wake ups that night and woke up for good after 6am. We received a tearful call again the next night, this time at the 5 minute mark. She never imagined that it would be so easy for her son to fall asleep. Things continued to progress and within a week the whole family was sleeping through the night consistently. They felt as though they had their life back.
We have worked with hundreds of children with a similar story. Usually these children who need ‘heroic efforts’ to fall asleep will fall asleep much quicker when we start a gentle sleep coaching strategy.
It is important to find that perfect balance for the whole family. Are you getting frustrated, overwhelmed or exhausted trying to get your child to sleep? It might be a good time to look at the gentle options and changes you can make
If you have questions or not sure if KinderSleep is for you, you can book a free consult
Article by: Andrea Strang, KinderSleep