How Much Sleep Do Kids Need? Why Does My Baby Youtube potty training video for kids Up Crying? What do the families who come into Sleep Clinic have in common? Almost all of them have tried sleep training and failed.
There are some common sleep training mistakes that parents make. Knowing about them may make the difference between success and failure. Parents often feel guilty about sleep training. One of the reasons is that they have tried for a bit and then encountered severe resistance, often in the form of tears and crying all around. Often, if they had persistent, their child would have started falling asleep more easily with just a day or two more of effort. Free Bonus: I created a guide to avoiding all of these mistakes. It’s a quick guide you can save and reference later as you try this yourself.
Click Here to get this free resource. If you want to know the best ways to sleep train, I wrote a comprehensive post on the best sleep training techniques here. Here is my list of the top ten sleep training mistakes: Avoid these problems and you will be much more successful at fixing your child’s sleep problems. Starting sleep training at the wrong time. Infants develop the ability to self soothe between 4-6 months of age.
To be safe, I usually recommend starting around six months of age, but efforts in the 4-6 month window may be helpful. Before four months, just follow your child’s cues. Also, avoid starting around potty training, or learning to walk. These big milestones are associated with lots of sleep disruption. A well structured bedtime is the key to success.
Kids with irregular bedtimes continue to have poor sleep through childhood. Bedtime should be enjoyable, predictable, and last no more than 30 minutes. It is very common for patients presenting to Sleep Clinic to have more than one sleep problem. If I find multiple sleep issues in a patient, I start with treating the non-behavioral sleep problems first before suggesting a behavioral plan. This is why you should discuss your child’s sleep issues with your pediatrician before starting.
There are a lots of reasons for this. Exhausted parents have trouble being consistent and may sometimes fall asleep in their child’s bed. Sometimes, one parent handles bedtime or awakenings differently than the other. If the parents are separated, there may be different rules in different homes.
The most powerful form of conditioning is inconsistent positive reinforcement— like pulling the lever in a slot machine. If your child fusses nightly, and is brought into your bed some of the time, that is a very powerful message which validates the fussing. Challenges in the bedroom Many families live in apartments where the neighbors complain if their child fusses. The child may share a room with a sibling, or live on a noisy street. Sleep training in an apartment may be challenging. If the child shares a room with a sibling, I may recommend that the other child be moved to the parents’ room or another room for a few days to facilitate training.
Also sometimes kids like to sleep in a room with the light on. This is not conducive to great sleep. If it is bright enough to read in your child’s room, it’s too bright for good sleep. Trying putting the light on a dimmer or moving it out of your child’s line of sight. If one parent is ambivalent, it is OK to wait. Also, defer starting until you can allow a few weeks for the new sleep pattern to be established. Don’t do it right before a vacation, or when house guests are staying, or right before your big presentation at work.
For more on this, read When Not To Sleep Train. Moving your child into his or her room at the same time your child has never slept in his room successfully, he is going to have a real hard time if you move him into his room and start sleep training. You may need to move with your child into his room for a week until he is ready for you to start sleep training. Here is my article on how to stop cosleeping. Feeding your child all night long After six to nine months, most children don’t need calories at night. If you are feeding your child multiple times at night, you need to stop it so both you and she can sleep better.