5 Reasons to Hire a Sleep Consultant

If you’re here reading this, you’re probably curious about working with a sleep coach. Maybe you’re wondering what it’s like, or you want to know how it works. Or, perhaps you’re at your wits-end and hiring a sleep coach is your plan Z. Whatever the case, welcome! Here are five reasons to contact me today.

You’ve read all the books

A common thread with my clients – apart from them wanting healthy sleep – is that they’ve read all of the books and blogs and maybe even tried bits and pieces of plans, but nothing’s worked. When you’re sleep-deprived, putting together a sleep plan or following scattered bits of advice is daunting and often confusing. Working with a pediatric sleep consultant is like having a personal baby sleep decoder, streamlining things and devising a custom plan just for you.

You’re ready to transition

Whether you’re weaning your little from nighttime feedings or ready to transition from your cosleeping arrangement, you need help with creating a plan. This is where I come in and shine – I’ve helped hundreds of little ones establish healthy sleep routines throughout transitions, whether it’s dropping a nap or sleeping independently.

You need someone with experience

This isn’t my first (or second or third) rodeo. Over the past nine years, I’ve helped over 900 little people achieve healthy sleep and develop long-term sleep habits. I would love to include you in my family of happy and healthy sleepers!

You need motivation and support

Three days into your plan, nothing’s working – you’re ready to give up. No! You’re almost there, and I’m here to motivate you to keep up the routine and support you until it sticks and your little one is sleeping like a champ. In my experience, some babies take a week to two weeks to fall into the rhythm of their new sleep routine. I’m here to see it through with you and to provide tips along the way.

You need customized support

No two babies are alike, nor are family schedules. The beauty of working with me as your sleep coach is that I create a customized plan just for you. We work together to generate sleep schedules and routines that fit in your busy life. Whether you’re a work-at-home mom or reporting to an office each day, we’ll work together to create a unique plan for your family.

You need a plan, not advice

If you’re here checking out my blog, then you’ve likely had conversations with well-meaning family and friends about your baby’s sleep (or lack thereof). I’m sure you’ve gotten well-intentioned advice or just comments about how your cousin’s children were all great sleepers. None of it is especially helpful, and even those bits of advice that seemed promising haven’t panned out. 

When you hire a sleep consultant, you don’t get tips to try and see if they stick. Instead, you get a plan from someone who’s worked with hundreds of babies and has seen a wide range of little sleepers. You receive a schedule with times and details, walking you through setting and establishing a healthy sleep routine. I’m available throughout the process for motivation, support, and troubleshooting along the way. 
So, what are you waiting for? Schedule your complimentary 15-minute assessment today!

Tips From the Sleep Consultant: Sleepovers at the Grandparents’

Whether your little one successfully went through sleep training, or you’re looking for a bit of incentive to get to the other side, today’s blog is about sleepovers at grandma and grandpa’s house. Don’t worry, if the mere thought of it makes you gasp, whether in disbelief or in wonderment, I’m here to reassure you that a well-rested baby means more options. Check out these tips for sleepovers with the grandparents.

You deserve it

When tired parents contact me for help sleep training their little ones, their major motivation is to get more sleep. And once that significant hurdle is tackled, parents begin seeing the possibilities a healthy sleeper brings. When was the last time you had a date night?

A commonality I see among parents of fussy sleepers is that they’ve not had time away on their own. Date night’s tough to pull off when your baby doesn’t sleep, making it difficult to leave them with a sitter. However, once you get your little one in a solid routine, you’ll be able to enjoy the occasional date night and allow the grandparents to finally have the overnight visit they’ve been requesting. 

Coach your parents

Look, you’ve gone to great lengths to get your baby into a solid routine – protect it. Before you leave your bundle of joy with the doting grandparents, let them know how vital baby’s bedtime routine is. An extra hour of cuddles and kisses can easily translate into a sleepless night for grandma and grandpa. So make sure you emphasize why your baby’s routine is essential and walk them through the process. If you’ve kept your nighttime routine simple, it should be easy to impart the bath, book, bed schedule, making the handoff as smooth as an Olympic relay.

Respect the parenting veterans

Be careful not to cross the line from coaching your parents in baby’s bedtime routine into sounding like more of a parenting authority than them. Remember that your parents or in-laws have more parenting experience than you or your partner. They’ve already made it through the baby years successfully. This is where a little reverse psychology can come in handy, especially when you’re sharing baby’s routine. If the grandparents express doubts or confusion with the schedule, reassure them. Tell them that you’re confident they can handle the routine, especially since they’re veterans!

Be honest

There’s no such thing as a perfect parent. The more you share how much you struggled when your little one wasn’t sleeping, the more likely you are to reinforce the reasons why your routine needs to stay in place, even while at grandma’s house. 

On the flip side, acknowledge how tempting it is to pick up a sleeping baby for extra cuddles. However, those sleep interruptions have consequences. It can turn a pleasant overnight visit into time placating a grumpy baby. Not to mention that picking up a tired and fussy baby the next day will make you reluctant to do future overnight stays.

Use the sleeping-feeding connection

No grandmother likes to see a hungry baby – or a hungry anyone for that matter! When was the last time she sent you home with leftovers? Exactly. So, emphasize baby’s routine by equating sleep with feeding. They wouldn’t want their grandchild to go hungry, so why would they want them to go without sleep? More importantly, if sleep is another basic need, as critical as food and nourishment, why would they deprive them of that? 

It may sound extreme, but some parents have stubborn, set-in-their-ways parents who need more convincing. If that’s you, feel free to equate sleep with food to drive your point home!

Keep calm

Prepare yourself for things to go differently at the grandparents’ than at home. Realize that grandma and grandpa are likely to break some of the rules and routines you’ve worked so hard to establish, but it’s not the end of the world. One night of being rocked to sleep or falling asleep in grandma’s arms typically won’t derail a carefully laid routine.

On the same note, realize that your parents will likely respond to your little one if they cry during the night. And it’s a natural response to give a baby a bottle when they’re crying in the night as a way to calm them back to sleep. Again, this night feeding shouldn’t throw your little one’s routine entirely off. Babies are remarkably resilient and have an uncanny way of reading their environment. They instinctively know that being snuggled to sleep by grandma doesn’t mean that mom or dad will do that at home. 

Still struggling to cobble together a routine? Or are you wistfully thinking about what it will be like when your little one can stay over at the grandparents’ house? I can help! Schedule a complimentary phone consultation today.

Sleep Coach’s Corner: Keeping Your Cool

If you have school-aged children, the COVID-19 shutdown may have elevated or heightened stressors as you attempted to juggle home, work, and school. And with summer break comes the added intensity of juggling summer schedules and taking advantage of warmer temps with recreation. Today’s Sleep Coach’s Corner talks about the importance of keeping your cool.

Mothers in crisis

While this scenario applies to all parents, it’s been undeniable that moms are burned out in this country due to the pandemic. The New York Times printed an article with the headline, “America’s Mothers Are in Crisis,” in which this statement stood out:” The economic disaster of the pandemic is directly related to maternal stress levels, and by extension, the stress levels of American children.”

Let’s take a moment to unpack that statement. Being a mom or a full-time caregiver to children is often stressful. Add a full-time job, household duties, and a pandemic to the mix, and we’re at a boiling point. Even the calmest of moms have found themselves reaching breaking points under the pressures of the pandemic. 

You’ve got to keep your cool.

Like mother, like father, like child

When you were pregnant, you may have heard people say that a stressed mom makes for a stressed-out baby. And while it’s easy to brush this seemingly wives’ tale off, the science behind the statement is genuine.

Trust me, I know throwing out a casual statement like “You’ve got to keep your cool” seems flippant and is equally easier said than done – I’ve been there. The first few weeks of summer break are a big adjustment for myself and my daughters, as all of us have to negotiate the ins and outs of having our regular routines abruptly change. Add frustration on top of that, and you get siblings bickering which, in turn, stresses me out – it becomes a vicious cycle of frustration.

In a combined effort, Pennsylvania State University, the University of California – Los Angeles, and the University of California – Riverside conducted a Collaborative Family Study and released findings in 2016. The study included children between ages three and nine and their parents. Parents completed questionnaires regarding stress and stressors, and researchers observed the children’s behavior during an in-home or research center evaluation. Researchers found a direct correlation between parental stress and child behavioral problems. As stressors increased, behavior problems escalated, and when stress levels decreased, behavior problems dissipated. 

No one’s perfect

I share this information as a fellow parent, as prone to stress as every other parent out there. It’s not realistic to think that parenting will be a stress-free endeavor. But, it’s essential to be mindful of how your stress affects your little ones.

As a sleep coach, the relational impact of parental stress on children is significant in the sleep training process. While no one’s life will ever be devoid of any potential stressors, families planning on undertaking sleep training must be in a good space. Understandably, many parents are sleep deprived and at their wits’ end when they contact me, but I encourage them – and you – to be calm as you enter into the baby sleep training process. 

The calmer and more confident you are entering toddler sleep training, the smoother the transition will be. Keeping your stress levels down will help keep your little one calmer through the process. Remember, sleep training is about changing habits, and change can be difficult for anyone, no matter how young or old. The more confident you are going in, the better your results will be on the other side.
If the thought of attempting sleep training on your one is stressful, consider calling me for support. I’m not called a sleep coach for nothing! Schedule a complimentary sleep assessment to see if sleep training is the right fit for your family – I look forward to speaking with you!

Sleep Consultant Tips: Summer Sleep Schedules

How’s your sleep schedule going? It’s easy to fall into the relaxed pace of summer, especially now that pandemic restrictions are easing up and more places are open to explore. However, you don’t want to ease out of routines and consistency because it can be the fast track to a miserable summer…or fall when back-to-school rolls around. So today, I’m talking about staying on track with summer sleep schedules.

Extended daylight hours

One of the greatest things about the summer months is the number of daylight hours we enjoy. Extended daylight hours mean we’re able to enjoy outdoor time later in the evening on work nights. This may be great for us adults, who relish long summer evenings, but these extended hours can wreak havoc on your little one’s sleep.

To avoid sleep disruptions, try to keep to your baby’s regular sleep schedule throughout the summer months. The reality is that you’ll be able to enjoy the long summer nights even more, knowing that your baby is sound asleep. On the flip side, the farther your stray from baby’s bedtime routine, the less time you’ll have to relax in the evening – you’ll find that extra time spent trying to get your little one to sleep (and that’s stressful). 

If you’ve already followed my advice for creating the perfect sleep environment, your little one should be set for summer sleep. If you’ve not, I’ve got two hints for you: cool and dark. Naturally, you want to keep your little one’s room cool, and if you add a fan to help, you have the bonus of white noise. To keep the room dark, add room darkening shades or blackout blinds; while black trashbags help in a pinch, you can find blackout shades for under $10 at home improvement stores.

Summer travel

Lazy, late beach mornings and late-night boardwalk outings are some of what vacation is all about. Vacation’s a time when we can relax and enjoy our time from the everyday hustle and bustle, and summer road trips are the perfect opportunity to reconnect with your family. However, relaxed schedules can often derail ironclad sleep routines, so be careful.

Plan for daytime naps. Once your little one loses their nap schedule, all bets are off. Instead of pushing through or past naptimes, try to plan your vacation activities around the snooze times. If you’re away from your hotel or house rental, make sure you create an area conducive to napping. In a pinch, you can do a stroller nap, steering away from a lot of noise and activity. A shaded stroller, a clip fan, and a white noise app can help create an on-the-go napping environment. Ideally, however, you’ll plan to be at your home-away-from-home base for naptimes.

If you’re planning something more than a road trip, you’ll want to factor in time zone changes, jet lag, and plane cabin pressure (especially with your littles). But, more than anything, you want to have a plan before you travel. When you have a strategy in place, it makes it easier to stay on track and enjoy your vacation.

Enjoy the sunlight

If the outdoors is your happy place, it’s not a coincidence. Sunlight, or vitamin D, exposure triggers the release of serotonin, which brings us to our calm and happy place. The same is true for kids. So, while temperatures may soar in the summer months, get your little ones outside. Not only will they benefit from the fresh air and sunlight, but their sleep will fare better as well.

Start back to school preparation early

If you’ve got school-aged children, then you know how lax summer sleep schedules can create a hurdle when it comes time to go back to school. So if you’ve shifted bedtime a little later, begin moving it earlier weeks before school starts, so it’s not such a shock to the system.

As always, consistency is vital. However, if you need help finding a sleep schedule that works for your little one or your toddler’s sleep got off-track this summer, I’m here to help! Schedule your complimentary sleep assessment today.

Tips From the Sleep Consultant: Let’s Cut the Guilt

If you’ve ever spent time in parenting groups, you’re sure to know what I’m referring to in this blog title – parent guilt, mom shaming, mom guilt. Whatever you want to call it, it’s pervasive and is damaging to new parents. As a sleep consultant, I don’t condone judgment of any kind – my career is built around helping struggling parents, not judging them or their parenting skills.

Be wary of internet experts

When I see articles from “experts” slamming the notion of self-soothing, I take concern. Even more alarming is that these articles and blogs instill fear in new parents who are desperate for solutions and undermine what I stand for. When some internet experts get large enough platforms, they can do real damage to parents who need help.

Every time I come across these articles – that are doing exactly what they claim articles of the opposite viewpoint are doing (fanning the flames of fear) – it breaks my heart. Once upon a time, I was a first-time mommy who was sleep-deprived, riddled with tremendous anxiety all the time, and just generally miserable. I was a boat taking on water fast with no rescue in sight. It’s a difficult place to be in. What got me through was a support team of friends, family, and professionals who never judged, who offered me advice when asked, and THAT made all the difference. And that is what I try to do for every family I support. 

How I work

Despite what some of these inflammatory internet articles tell you, I’m not a monster selling snake oil. If you’ve stumbled across this blog, you’re likely in search of answers for sleep issues your baby or toddler is experiencing. The first thing I want to tell you is that you’re not alone. In fact, almost every parent who contacts me is in a state of sleep exhaustion, is anxious, and is genuinely concerned for their child’s wellbeing. You only need to read a little about health to know that sleep is essential for people of all ages, from infants to adults. 

The second thing I want you to know is that I use the Sleep Sense™ program, which is a straightforward, tried and true method for teaching little ones how to go to sleep – and sleep through the night – independently. The program I use isn’t about making babies cry themselves to sleep or cracking a whip until they learn to self-soothe. 

Speaking of self-soothing – a concept many internet experts take issue with – we can call it something different if you like. Perhaps it’s the term people take issue with? Whatever the case, when you work with me to sleep train your baby, you learn how to provide consistent sleep cues for your little one, and they learn how to recognize sleep cues (through routine) and how to transition through sleep cycles themselves.

The beauty of choice

One of the reasons I maintain this blog is to provide information for struggling parents and give them a glimpse of what it’s like to work with me – in a no-pressure environment. If you like what you see after glancing through my blog, you can schedule a complimentary 15-minute call with me to talk about what you’re experiencing and see if I can help. Again, there’s no obligation to work with me, and I absolutely won’t tell you to do something you’re uncomfortable with.  

Again, no one should be forcing anyone to do anything or go against beliefs or comfort. And articles shaming parenting techniques do exactly that in an underhanded, passive-aggressive way.  

I’ll get off my soapbox now and go back to supporting the families who came to me for help. That’s what I do… it’s my mission.

Sleep Coach’s Corner: Let’s Huddl!

I’m taking a moment today to talk about something other than baby sleep training tips. But trust me, it’s related! While I’m a sleep coach, I’m also a human, and the pandemic isolation was something I struggled with as a very social person. I’m an extrovert, and I really enjoy meeting new people – this is part of why my career centers around people! So, I took to the internet to explore new ways of socializing, and I stumbled across a fantastic platform that allows me to connect with different people across the globe and help struggling families – win-win! Let’s talk about huddls.

What is huddls?

At its most basic, huddls is a safe virtual meeting space designed to connect people; it was developed during the initial pandemic quarantine. If you’re already familiar with Cameo, a platform for people to purchase recorded messages from their favorite celebrities and personalities, you have an idea of what huddls is. But, instead of getting a prerecorded message, you’re able to interact with people in real-time. This is perfect for quelling pandemic-induced stress and anxiety and provides a great – socially distanced – social outlet.

You’re probably wondering where I come in. Well, huddls is branching out into connecting people with experts to receive advice and consultations, in addition to socializing.

How I use huddls

Huddls allows me to offer quick consultations or ask the expert services for those clients who don’t need an entire sleep training package but need quick, topical assistance. It also allows me to offer seminars I used to conduct in-person through a safe, secure platform. 

How you can use huddls

Huddls experiences are perfect for those who’ve already gone through sleep training with their little one or those whose rockstar sleepers are experiencing consistent sleep disruptions. Maybe you’ve tried transitioning your little one from two naps down to one, and it’s just not working out. Or, your toddler is suddenly waking at 3 a.m. each morning, ready for the day. You can book an experience to get advice from me about overcoming some of the most common sleep hurdles. 

Sometimes, sleep training issues are more complex than a 30-minute chat warrants, and I’ll suggest hiring my services to tackle it together. If you end up hiring me, I’ll credit the cost of our huddl experience from your sleep training package.

Connecting through huddls is easy. Visit my huddls profile to view the live experiences I currently offer. Not seeing what you need? You can also click on “Suggest An Experience” to request a personalized chat. Perhaps the best part is that you can team up with your fellow mom friends or mom group to book a live experience with me together. Huddls uses Zoom as its video conferencing platform, so it’s a platform you’re likely already familiar with.

Why I like huddls

Professionally, huddls allow me to connect with my clients more closely than a phone call. I feel like it’s sometimes difficult to feel a genuine person-to-person connection on a phone call, but video calls allow for facial expressions and other nuances lost over the phone.

While I highly recommend trying out the huddls platform to connect with me – I offer free experiences there – I also recommend huddls for anyone struggling with limited socialization outlets while this pandemic continues its course.

Sleep Consultant Tips: New Year Resolutions

I think we can all agree that 2020 was a year for the record books. I’ll put this in sleep consultant speak: dreams came true, nightmares were realized – it was a year of chaos and uncertainty (and I’m not just referring to sleep training toddlers). Because of this, I’m sure more people than ever committed themselves to New Year resolutions, determined to flip the script on what has become known as a dumpster fire year. 

Now that we’re a month into 2021, how is the progress on your resolutions? If you’re struggling, consider changing strategies and adopting one of these resolutions:

Wear pants

Let’s deem 2021 the year of the pants. If you’re cracking a smile, then you’re my target audience here. You know who you are – all business on top, pajama party on the bottom. And while I, personally, have never conducted a sleep consulting call without my pants on, I’m pretty sure at least one of my tired parents was half-dressed. 

With Zoom now a part of our lexicon, everyone – from students to parents – uses the video conferencing tool to communicate remotely. This has meant getting half-dressed for many professionals, with business attire from the waist up to everything from yoga pants to pajama bottoms from the waist down (and sometimes no pants at all!). For this reason, a top resolution this year will be to wear pants – bonus points for wearing pants without elastic waists!

No binge-watching

Okay, this one’s harsh. Maybe set a baby step kind of resolution where you have a time limit to binge-watching your favorite show. So, instead of watching the entire season of The Mandalorian or Bridgerton, try only watching two episodes in a sitting.

If you’re watching The Mandalorian as a family, it’s my duty as a sleep consultant to remind you to turn off the television at least an hour before settling into bed – that goes for both you and your little ones. Healthy sleep habits aren’t just for the kiddos.

Improve juggling skills

If only I was actually referring to tossing items in the air and catching them, one after the other. In this instance, I’m talking about juggling life. You know, working full time – remotely – while staying on top of your children’s virtual schooling; while keeping the house tidy with everyone home all the time; while planning, shopping for, and cooking healthy meals; while getting enough exercise; while sleeping at least eight hours each night; while practicing self-care, all while scheduling time for rest and relaxation. That’s the type of juggling I’m referring to here. And that’s entirely a joke – no need to improve your juggling skills. You’re doing a fantastic job – keep it up!

Work on social skills

If you’ve been following the rules of pandemic engagement, then you’ve not likely had a lot of social time in the last year. Resolve to dust off your social skills this year and plan some outdoor, socially distant get-togethers (that sounds like an oxymoron). Plan a trip somewhere new and explore with your family – state and national parks are great for this. Planning trips or other recreational activities are proven to help mental health, easing anxiety and giving you something positive to look forward to during bleak times (I’m looking at you pandemic quarantine).

If you’re still not ready to plan outings, no worries. Why not schedule Zoom calls with a handful of your closest friends, like a Friday happy hour, or start a Zoom book club? Planning a regular call with friends will help ease the isolation and prevent you from falling off the map. 

Get better sleep

Getting more or better sleep is actually a serious resolution and one that many Americans commit to each year. I read that only eight percent of people keep their resolutions each year – that’s less than 10 percent! If your resolution is for the entire family to get better sleep this year, then check out these baby sleep tips. And if you’ve resolved to dedicate yourself to baby sleep training this year, call me. I’m ready to help your family get the healthy sleep they deserve, and I promise to wear pants on our video calls!

Tips From the Sleep Consultant: Coping with Anxiety

My last couple of sleep coach blogs, focusing on parent to parent straight talk, were well received, so I’m here again to share some tips from a sleep consultant. Today I’m going to talk about anxiety. Every new parent’s been there – your baby’s behavior doesn’t match what the parenting books tell you, so a lingering suspicion begins to form in the back of your mind. This can be caused by anything from a missed milestone to, you guessed it, poor sleep. Here are a few ways to channel inner peace and cope with the anxiety that comes with parenting.

Do I or don’t I?

While you may feel like you’re on an island, I would say that the vast majority of new parents contacting me about baby sleep training are riddled with anxiety. Their baby isn’t napping, or they struggle to get their baby to sleep at night, or they struggle with a baby who doesn’t sleep through the night. Whatever the cause, most parents have a second sense telling them that something’s off.

Looking for information about baby sleep training is like taking a trip down the rabbit hole, with conflicting information everywhere and absolutely nothing working. I know what you’re encountering because I had the same experience when I was a new mom, desperately trying to help my daughter sleep. The driving forces behind my becoming a sleep consultant were the anxiety and frustration I suffered trying to figure it all out – and I didn’t want other new parents to go through the same experience.

So, you’re obviously scouring the internet and flipping through baby sleep books for a solution, which means you already know that you need help. I’m definitely biased, but you really can help ease your anxiety by contacting a sleep consultant and getting a feel for the sleep training process. One of the first things I tell prospective clients – because almost every new parent asks – is that no, I don’t make babies cry it out, but yes, there will likely be some crying.

It’s a natural physiological response

Many new moms panic when they feel the first fingers of anxiety starting to claw at them. The frightened reaction makes sense, but many moms don’t know that they’re wired to respond this way as a built-in biological alarm to keep their baby safe. Pair this response with the hormone drops in new moms’ bodies and a severe lack of sleep, and you get a bonafide fight or flight response replete with heightened feelings of anxiety. 

Simply put, you are programmed to respond to your baby’s cry, whether you like it or not. Half the battle is understanding that your response is normal. The other struggle is where I come in as a sleep consultant. Continual sleep deprivation will make you more sensitive and open to feelings of increased anxiety. So, those middle-of-the-night wakings your baby is experiencing aren’t helping your mental state. But would if I told you I could help your baby get at least six hours of unbroken sleep, potentially even double that amount? 

Fuel in the tank

My role in helping new parents goes far beyond helping a baby develop healthy sleep habits. When a baby sleeps well (aka through the night), new parents sleep well. More sleep for parents allows them to fuel their sleep tanks. And more sleep in the tank means, yep, you guessed it, better mental health and fewer middle-of-the-night wakings that trigger anxiety. 

So, if your anxiety levels are reaching all-time highs because your baby’s not sleeping, give me a call. I’ve helped hundreds of families develop healthy sleep routines.

Sleep Coach’s Corner: The Importance of Consequences

The Importance of Consequences

As a pediatric sleep consultant, I’m used to getting questions about sleep from tired parents. And because my job has everything to do with children, I often lend an ear to nervous first-time parents and provide gentle guidance. In addition to being a “baby whisperer,” I’m also a “parent whisperer,” which is why I want to discuss the importance of consequences in parenting.

The hot stove analogy

When was the last time you purposely placed your hand, palm down, on your stove’s hot burner? You haven’t, right? You don’t put your hand on a burner because, at some point, you learned that you’ll get burned. In other words, you know there will be a negative consequence to your action.

Whether you learned about the hot stove by being told or through experiment, you understand the importance of consequences. As a sleep consultant, most people associate me with newborns and infants, when I actually work with a lot of parents of toddlers. Toddlers are curious little creatures, so when I’m called for help sleep training a toddler, it’s often because curiosity and testing the boundaries of independence are ruling behavior. It’s normal.

Establishing routines and setting boundaries

One of the greatest lessons we can teach our children – apart from love – is that actions have consequences. Teaching consequences is all about establishing boundaries. If you’re wondering where I’m going with this, hang in there.

Whether it’s sleep training a toddler or teaching parents how to sleep train a baby, my approach is to establish a routine around naps and bedtime. A consistent pattern provides predictability and structure – after a couple weeks, your little one knows that it’s bedtime when you begin your routine (and acts accordingly). By teaching a consistent sleep routine, you’re essentially setting expectations and creating boundaries.

Toddlers are some of the greatest boundary-testers, and they’ll try to push each and every one of them, especially bedtime. They’re developing a sense of self and are experimenting with autonomy, which often comes out around bedtime. And because this boundary-pushing behavior often surrounds sleep in toddlerhood, I’m called in for help.

Where consequences come in

Working with parents on sleep training a toddler is partially about setting and establishing a routine and partially establishing consequences. And if this sounds harsh, look at it this way – your toddler isn’t able to set their own boundaries, so you have to do it for them.

Since many little ones have transitioned to a toddler bed by this age – or have mastered the art of climbing from their crib – getting out of bed during the night is a behavior that needs to be curtailed by enforcing consequences. And how you treat getting out of bed at night is the framework for how you’ll guide your toddler’s behavior by establishing consequences to their actions.

Applying consequences

As with anything, change takes time. You need a set routine to apply consequences to your little one’s actions, and it will go a little like this:

Give a warning. Tell your toddler what they’re doing wrong and let them know what the consequence will be if they continue to do what they’re doing. For example, if they’re getting out of bed, let them know that you’ll have to close their bedroom door (this is if you tend to crack the door).

Apply consequences. It could be closing a cracked door or simply not engaging with your toddler when they get out of bed at night. Your toddler will learn that it’s not fun to get out of bed at night if mommy and daddy don’t play or snuggle with them. For other daytime behaviors, you may enforce a time out spot as a consequence.

Be consistent. The only way to learn – anything – is through practice or repetition. Remain consistent in boundary-setting and applying consequences. It may take a week or two of closing the door or quietly steering your toddler back to bed, but they’ll get it eventually.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to be consistent with your routines and responses. So many times, I have Philadelphia area parents – who I’ve worked with previously – sheepishly call me back. More often than not, their little ones are struggling with sleep because the parents relaxed or dropped the routine. It happens – a lot!

If you need to start from scratch or require a bedtime routine refresher, give me a call! Book a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation today.

Expect the Unexpected: Traveling with Young Children

Today’s blog is a guest blog by Lauren Stevens, a client of mine more than SIX years ago! She recently embarked on a two-week European vacation with her husband and six-year-old son. Lauren’s here today to share how hopping continents and time zones went and how she handled major changes in her son’s typically consistent bedtime routine.