You know that old Sheryl Crow song “A Change Will Do You Good?” When it came on the radio today it gave me inspiration to share this with you. We all know that change is constant in our lives, and it’s not easy. Moving through the transitions of life can cause lots of discomfort for us and our kids. But sometimes change is necessary. Some types of change are harder than others. We make many small changes throughout our lives, some with little or no impact on us, and others yet will have a large impact on our quality of life.
Today I’d like to share with you a change that is actually easy to do, and will (I promise) have an enormous benefit on your life. Here it is folks: It’s time to MOM UP and teach your child to sleep!
Sleep is one of the three pillars of health, along with exercise and nutrition. In fact, scientists are clear about the enormous positive impact adequate sleep can have on our lives, and consequently, the negative impact of getting too little sleep can have on our health.
All new parents deal with sleep deprivation, it’s basically par for the course. I’m not talking about sleep training a baby under the age of 16 weeks. When babies are little you are operating in survival mode for the first 3-4 months. During that time you do all you can to soothe them, feed them, change them, all the while trying to take basic care of yourself and possibly other children. It’s very important to enlist the help of family and friends at this time if you can!
ONCE THAT GETS OLD….
There are moms and dads out there who are waking 1, 3, 5, or 7 times with babies , toddlers, and preschoolers who are more than capable of staying settled through the night 11-12 hours with one or no night feeds, with just a little bit of sleep training. Yes, this is completely possible with very little crying on your child’s part and just a few tweaks to your routine. How about naps?! Not happening? Well, that is easily fixed as well with a bit more patience.
So, how do you know if it’s time for a change? If you are resenting your spouse or partner and fighting over bedtime issues, it’s time. If you are so sleep deprived you get in the car and forget where you were headed, it’s time. If you can’t remember the last time you slept more than 4-6 hours straight, it’s time to make a change. If you can’t remember the last time you had a relaxing evening with your partner, read a book, watched a movie, or had time to clean your house and sort through those itty-bitty baby clothes, it’s time.
Who can help you with this change? There are many online resources and Facebook pages that will detail methods to get your child sleeping. But, sometimes you need little wind in your sails — this is where a consultant or coach can play a huge role. A sleep consultant/parent coach will focus on your capacity for self-care and help you prepare yourself to meet the demands of parenting. The information by itself that you find online “does not bring about sustained, transformational change. Change takes place through caring, encouraging relationships that support the action steps necessary for growth to take place, and that help to recognize the new growth and to celebrate it.” (credit: Parent Coach International).
So what will make you most likely to succeed in changing your family’s sleep? You need the support of your partner to keep you confident and consistent. The most important factor is that you need, inside of you, the will to change. Only then will you ultimately be successful. And of course, the specialized plan and tips given by your consultant/coach along the way, coupled with some encouragement, will have you CHANGED in no time!
Kristal Miller is a Certified Sleep Consultant (Family Sleep Institute) and a Certified Parent Coach (Parent Coach International). She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (306)-227-6381.