It’s easy to think of our kids as ‘good sleepers’ or ‘bad sleepers’ when, like everything, sleep has its ups and downs. Even with children who have great sleeping skills, we encounter situations that throw us off our normal routines and, as parents, we’re left looking around like, ‘wait, what?!?’. If you’ve ever found yourself thinking you have absolutely no clue how to get back to normal after a vacation, illness, random middle of the night wake ups or whatever bump you’ve hit in the road, don’t worry! Sleep coaching isn’t a one-time thing and it requires maintenance. You’ll find yourself doing ‘mini-coaching’ more than once as your children grow up and, oftentimes, it’s just about clearing your head, making a plan and sticking with it. If you’ve used the Sleep Lady Shuffle method before, think of it as a modified Shuffle, where you’re providing a lot of close support at first, then easing your way out. For example, let’s say your kids are pretty good sleepers but, over the summer, bedtime sort of fell by the wayside. It works when everyone is out late, enjoying the warm nights but what do you do when suddenly school starts and your little ones seem to have forgotten how to go to bed nicely at the same time each night? Or suddenly take forever to fall asleep? Go back to what you know is important. Pick an appropriate bedtime, and allow time each night for a nice, relaxing routine as you transition into bedtime.
For another example, how about when your child was sick and you let the poor little guy or girl sleep in mommy’s bed for a while. Now, they’ve recovered but have gotten pretty comfy in your room. Pick a night when you have a little more patience and start your child off back in his or her bed or crib. You may need to sit with him or her for a while, doing less and less each night and, hopefully, falling back in to the old routine.
Do the same thing each night and talk to your children about it, too. No matter how young, I think it helps our children when we talk things through with them and involve them in the process. Keep in mind that you may see new patterns like night wake-ups or early rising and make a plan for how you’ll address those. This may seem way too simple to those of you dealing with major, ongoing sleep issues and that’s because if you’re dealing with a baby who won’t sleep more than 30 minutes at a time or a toddler who tantrums for hours each night at bedtime, this doesn’t apply to you. However, for parents who have done the real hard work already, think of this as a little tune-up to get your sleep machine running smoothly again. If you’re feeling lost and want some more specific guidance, call me for a free 15 min consult today and we’ll figure out your best way forward.