At some point or another we all get to the point where we just can’t continue on any longer with the way things are sleep-wise, whether that be your 6 month old getting up every hour or two to feed in the middle of the night or your toddler not staying in bed once the bedroom light gets turned off. Often, that’s when we find ourselves plunking the words sleep training tips into your search engine (or, if you’re like me, Pinterest).
The first time Damien and I sleep trained our son was when he was still sleeping in his crib. M was well past 6 months old, but he still needed to be rocked to sleep. Even then it took him quite a while to fall into a deep enough slumber that we could place him in his crib without him waking.
Now that M is a) in his own bed, b) walking, and c) has learned how to open doors, we’ve had to start sleep training him once again. This time, however, is a totally different experience than the first time around. Our goals are different, and our approach is different.
Like most things in life, there is not one right way to sleep train your toddler. It honestly all depends on what your child needs, and what you’re comfortable with. Regardless of how you decide to go about sleep training your toddler, here are some important tips that I’ve gathered from older, wiser Mama’s who have walked this road multiple times:
WORK AS A TEAM
I cannot stress how important it is that you and your spouse work as team! Not only can it be frustrating to you and your hubby when you are both on different pages, but it’s frustrating and confusing to your child.
HAVE A SPECIFIC PLAN
Once you and your hubby have committed to doing this together as a team, set aside time to talk about each of your expectations and build both a plan and schedule to stick by.
Here are some starter questions to consider:
– Why are you wanting to sleep train your child?
– What do you expect sleep-training to look like?
– What are your end goals?
– How can you ensure that you stick to the plan?
– How will you choose to discipline your toddler when he/she isn’t listening to you?
Once you’ve hashed out all the details, grab a piece of scrap paper and write them out. Nothing is worse than deviating from the plan, confusing your child, and having to start the process all over again. Be prepared to be consistent for at least two weeks while your toddler adjusts to their new routine. After those two weeks, still be as consistent as you can, but the occasional deviation from the bedtime schedule or a longer-than-usual bed-time snuggle shouldn’t be an issue.
So Mama, as you partner with your hubby in bringing consistency to your child’s sleep schedule, for both his/her health and your own, I pray for peace and lots and lots of patience. Because the Lord knows how much we Mama’s need that!
Have you successfully sleep trained your toddler? If so, what things did you find worked for you?