Parents of 12-month olds, 2-year-olds, 6-year-olds (and parents of even older children), frequently tell me that they worry they have left it too late to improve their child’s sleep.
They feel doomed to a life of ongoing sleep deprivation.
But I don’t know of many parents that look forward to these bedtime battles each day. Or ones who enjoy waking up 4, 5, or 6 times a night. And no one really wants to start their day before 6am each day, do they?
They often come to me exhausted and ask…
Is it too late to help my child to sleep well? Will we ever sleep again?
I know that they can make positive improvements to their child’s behavioural sleep challenges, and that they can all enjoy better sleep and live healthier, happier lives.
Here are the things I reply with…
It’s never too late to change
There are a whole host of techniques that you can use to change your child’s sleep behaviours and improve their sleep, even when sleep challenges have been ongoing for some time.
The key is finding the right ones that suit your child’s personality type and your parenting style, so that it will work for you.
You will also need lots of patience and determination to see it through, but it absolutely possible to make a positive change right now.
It doesn’t have to be a battle
Change can be difficult but it doesn’t have to involve battles, tears or stress or any of you.
If you use the correct age-appropriate techniques for your child, you can expect to see an improvement in their sleep quite quickly (in only a few days) but it may take a few weeks to fully resolve the issues depending on what’s happening.
And you don’t have to be working against each other, causing upset or distress.
As a Holistic Gentle Sleep Coach I only use gentle methods and positive parenting techniques that retain a strong parental attachment.
I don’t advocate Cry It Out, punishment or other techniques that cause stress and upset to the child or the parent. I use a range of gentle techniques that see really positive outcomes for the families that I work with.
I know it can work, I’ve been there
I know that children of any age can improve their behavioural sleep issues because I’ve been there as a parent myself. I’ve also helped lots of other families to overcome these challenges in my work as a Certified Sleep Coach.
My daughter was a terrible sleeper and did not consistently sleep well until she was over 3 years old.
I had given up all hope that she would ever sleep again. It was affecting our health, happiness and our careers. We were close to disaster.
But by working with the right Sleep Coach, my daughter learned effective sleep techniques and life improved for all of us. That is why I love to help other families in that same situation, and why I know it can change for you too.
If you are ready to, you can start to improve your child’s sleep today by using my 5 tips here.
5 top tips for improving your child’s sleep today
Here are 5 simple things that you can change yourself to start working towards better sleep today. If you decide that you would like a personalised plan and the support to implement it, please contact me, I’d love to help you.
1) Know your numbers.Take a look at how much sleep your child should be getting for their age. Do you know how much night time sleep they should be getting and what time they should be asleep? And if they are still taking daytime naps, how long should they be having and at what times? Make sure that your child is getting enough sleep as overtiredness is the number 1 cause of sleep issues in children.
2) Routine. Do you have a suitable and appropriate bedtime routine? Even if your child is at school, you will still need a simple routine of steps that come in the same order each night, to signal to your child’s body that it is time to wind down for sleep.
3) Activity. Is your child getting enough daytime activity? Increasingly there is a trend for children to spend more time indoors playing games sitting down. Try to include some physical activity, preferably outside in daylight to prepare your child for a good rest.
4) Ban the blue. Even small children are exposed to phones, tablets, tv or some other electronic devices. Each of these devices emit blue light that actually suppresses our bodies natural release of the sleep hormone Melatonin and makes it more difficult for us to fall asleep. Make sure that your child avoids all screens for at least one hour (preferably two hours) before bedtime.
5) Eat well. Make sure that your child is not eating sugary foods in the build up to bedtime. Not only are these bad for their health, they can boost their energy levels sky high just at the time that you are trying to get them to sleep. Also watch out for sugary drinks and hidden caffeine which can cause bedtime battles and meltdowns.
If your child is finding sleep difficult, book in for a Free 15-minute, no obligation call with me to discuss how I can help you and your child to enjoy better sleep. You can choose your time by clicking here
Rachael, The Sleep Sanctuary
The Sleep Sanctuary is a Children’s Sleep Consultancy supporting tired parents to help their children sleep soundly and live healthier, happier lives