[sleepsense.net] Teaching Sleep Strategies
What’s the secret to getting your baby sleeping through the night? The same thing that gets adults sleeping through! We learn some strategies that help us to relax and encourage sleep to come, and we repeat them when we wake up at night.
It may seem like a stretch to expect your little one to learn these kinds of tactics, but it’s actually a natural progression that can be easily achieved with a little encouragement. I’ll show you how in this week’s video.
You know, the primary goal when you’re about to teach your child to sleep well, is to let them develop some self-settling strategies, right? You want your baby to be able to find ways that help he or she get themselves to sleep, right? Their sleep strategies. And when you think about it we all have sleep strategies. Right you get yourself ready for bed, brush your teeth, wash your face, get your jammies on, climb into bed, and what we do once we get into bed is usually the same every night. Maybe you need a glass of water there or your earplugs on standby, or the window open, or music playing, or your fan on.
Whatever it is, these are the little strategies that you’ve collected over the years that help you make that journey more easily. Right? Think about it, when you go to a hotel or you go sleepover at your relatives house, those are the nights when things are a little off. Not everything is just so and we tend to sleep more poorly when everything isn’t just so. So these are the strategies that we have. In fact even right down to the positions that you get yourself into, are often the same every single night. For example, a lot of people start out laying on their backs until they feel calm and relaxed, and ready for sleep to come, and then they tend to turn into their favorite sleeping position whether that’s on their sides or on their stomachs. Whatever it is, think about it. Watch tonight what you do and you’ll notice that oh yeah, right, without even really thinking about it I do these same things every single night. Those are your sleep strategies.
So what we want to teach children is what are the strategies that she can use on her own that don’t involve a lot of extra help from you. Right, and the cool thing about the Sleep Sense program, especially if you’re doing the stay-in-the-room method, is that you’ll see these sleep strategies emerge and that is a great day, right? When you see her, you know at first she’ll be a little bit like a fish out of water right? She really won’t know what to do with herself. For a lot of babies they’ve never even been in their crib awake. Right, they’re always put into that crib asleep.
So the first few times she’s in there awake, she might be wondering what do I do here? Right, do I stand, do I sit? You know, do I yell? Do I bang my fist on the crib rails? What do I do here? And she won’t know. But the good news is as the nights go on, she’ll get more and more comfortable with what strategies she needs to get herself to sleep.
Now the first few nights don’t be alarmed if you see your little one start to fall asleep in a sitting or standing position. That’s really really common and it just simply means she doesn’t have the sequence of events yet, she doesn’t understand that, oh you actually have to lie down. That makes going to sleep so much easier. So she may start to do it that way. If you notice it, just as gently as you can, lay her down. It might fuel her fire and she might get right back up again and be even more angrier than she was the first time and that’s okay. But we wanna prevent her from hurting herself so we wanna gently lay her down if you see that happening. And again, this will pass and she’ll realize that oh actually, sleeping sitting up is very uncomfortable and not very easy to do, and then she’ll start to find positions that she likes better for her journey into sleep.
Some children will find their fingers and they’ll do a little you know, finger play before they fall asleep, or they might incorporate their lovey if you’ve offered that as an option. You know lots of babies like to play with the tags or chew on the ear. They might do that with a little bit of blankey if you’ve offered that. Again, this needs to be age appropriate so make sure you check the recommendations there. Or they might do something with their legs or their arms. A lot of babies do a repetitive banging motion. Right, you’ll see them take their legs straight up and then slam them down on the crib, and they’ll do this over and over again until they’re feeling sleepy enough to fall asleep. Or they’ll do it with their arms.
I can remember my first son just kinda did this rhythmical back and forth with his arms on the mattress. It doesn’t look common to us, it doesn’t look like a strategy you would use, but for children, for babies and for toddlers, that sort of rhythmical, repetitive motion, is actually very calming and soothing for them. Some kids even do a little bit of fairly vigorous head rocking, or that you might notice that they’re doing a little bit of banging on the crib mattress with their heads. Don’t be alarmed. This just means that this is a common strategy for them. They’re just looking for ways that they can make this journey into sleep easier which is a great gift to give her because it’s gonna last a lifetime.
Thanks so much for watching today. Sleep well.
If your baby, infant or toddler is having trouble sleeping through the night, help is just a click away! The Sleep Sense Program has helped over 57,00 parents to get their kids sleeping 11-12 hours through the night AND taking long, restful naps during the day. If you’re ready to get started today – I’m looking forward to helping you!
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