Sleep Training Information
Parents often mistakenly think that sleep training = crying it out. Correcting sleep depends upon what is causing the sleep problem. Usually it is how the parents and child interact at night, but it can also be other factors.
The goal is not to make the child cry or punish the child. In fact, most of the work is done by changing the parent's behavior to change the child's behavior.
There are different ways of address a sleep problem depending upon the problem, the child's age and the parent's preferences.
When it comes to sleep training, there is a lot of half truths and misinformation that keep spread around. I hope these FAQ help clear up some of those misunderstandings.
We provide consultations at our office at Malacca Street in Singapore or via skype. We do not provide home consultations.
• It is not the goal of sleep training to make your baby cry. The goal is teaching your child healthy sleep associations and the ability to self-sooth and fall asleep on their own. There are different methods to address a sleep association. The most important thing is to be sure your child has a sleep association and then to choose the correct method that best suits your family.
The goal is to do everything possible to make it as easy for the child as possible.
• Children who are frequently waking at night, are not having restorative, healthy sleep nor are they following their natural biology of sleep. Overtime this fragmented sleeping can be very negative for the child and tends to get worse and not better. In the end, lack of sleep can compromise a child’s immune system. Not enough good quality sleep can result in behavioral problems and in extreme cases possible developmental delays if left to continue on unchanged.
• A sleep deprivated child is not a happy child. They are not rested and cannot enjoy their days or their time with their parents as much as a rested child.
The biggest impact to your child’s bond with you is how you spend your waking time, during the day, together. If your child is in a loving, stimulating environment your relationship will stay in tact. Sleep training, done correctly, will not affect parent-child bonds. In fact, when everyone is rested, they are happy and able to enjoy one another more.
• If your child is over 9 months of age and is still waking frequently to feed or needs lots of assistance to go to sleep at night or back to sleep in the middle of the night, chances are very low that the problem will correct itself any time soon. In fact, it tends to get worse with time.
Parents have different levels of coping abilities to be able to handle these wakings. Some parents can last longer than other. However,if you are no longer able to cope and want to make a change, it can be done.
• A child who doesn't sleep is probably more distruptive to family life than then the actual sleep training. Sleep training can be disruptive to the whole family, however the actual amount of the disruption is very limited compared to the weeks or months you have been dealing with your current sleep problem.
Generally the first 2-5 days, depending upon method, can be the most disruptive. However this is usually for very short intervals during the night. You need to weigh how the current sleep problem is impacting you, your family and your child vs. the impact to correcting the problem.
• The goal of sleep training is not to make the child throw up. In cases where children do throw up, there are usually other failures associated with the sleep training method that was employed by the parent.
The goal is not to make the child sick or fearful of bedtime. Older children’s sleep issues really need a much more thorough analysis to determine what is actually causing the sleep issues. Often times it’s a combination of incorrect bedtimes, too much or too little napping, too much or too little time in bed, problems with limit setting, lack of bedtime routine, night fears or sleep phase disorders.
Usually when I meet with parents who are still having sleep problem and they tried sleep training such as Ferber or Crying it out, they usually did several steps wrong and then it didn't work and produced a lot of crying. If one of those methods are selected as the appropriate choice to correct a problem, there is a right way to do it. I provide a detailed action plan outlining how to do it so that you will have success and hopefully not much fussing
The answer is no. The reason is because this is not a medical problem. There is nothing wrong with your child. In reality sleep training is about teaching the parent more effective behaviors so the child can respond differently. Most children are great sleepers once they are put in conditions to be great. We teach parents what they need to do in order to have a great sleeper.