We understand: Sleep training is new and can be scary. Many parents are ready to give their child the gift of independent sleep, but anxiety can disrupt their ability to stay consistent and be successful. You may wonder what to expect. Or you may wonder if your baby will cry and for how long. How long the process will take? And you may wonder if you’ll be able to stay consistent. I have been there. I have 3 kids and I have taught each and every single one of them how to sleep. Not to mention the hundreds of clients I have supported through the process. It gets easier every time because the unknown is not so unknown, but I have discovered ways to help ease that parental anxiety. Because it can be the key to your success.
Most of us are extremely triggered by our children crying. Understandably so, but through our research, certification and experience, we have learned that crying is not necessarily the bad thing we may believe it to be. We encourage our clients to think of “crying” differently by educating them on the many benefits of crying which include decompressing, helping to settle and self-soothe, restoring emotional balance and so much more! Read about this in detail in this blog dedicated exclusively to the emotional topic of crying. But let’s not ignore the biggest debate: Does crying cause children any harm? The short answer is no but the long answer can be found in our study-based blog about crying. During sleep training, it is important to remember these facts to ease our anxiety and be successful!
Keep your eyes on the prize
It is also important to remember that as our kids’ trusted adults, we always consider what our children NEED and not necessarily what they WANT. We know what is best for them and we sometimes have to put our emotions aside to achieve these goals. The discomfort we experience when our children are not thrilled with our choices for non-negotiables (no, you cannot have ice cream for breakfast. No, you cannot run around in a busy parking lot) may need to be ignored in order to keep them safe and healthy. Sleep is also non-negotiable and it is important to remember our goals while sleep training to ensure our success.
When you’re in the weeds of the process, it can be hard to remember why you’re doing this in the first place. Sleep is important for endless reasons but goals are different for each family. I always encourage people to write down their goals on a sticky note and put them in visible places all over the house. To remember them is to ease your anxiety and give you confidence that you are doing what is best for your family.
Anxiety kicking in? Use calming techniques
When you feel your anxiety rising as you are implementing a sleep plan, take a minute to use calming techniques to help ease that anxiety. Use deep breathing, meditation, yoga and/or exercise as one of the many ways to ground yourself and most importantly, to help your child. Children pick up on our energy quite acutely, so if you are stressed, they will feel it. They may get stressed too and in turn have trouble focusing on their task: falling asleep independently. I know this is a lot of pressure on the parents but it is an undeniable fact. And as their trusted adults, it is our job to create a stress-free, loving environment so they can thrive and be at their best. Using mindfulness for ourselves and for our children will help ease everyone’s anxiety and ensure our success in sleep training.
Make sure you have support
Please don’t do this alone! Whether it’s your partner, a relative or a friend, support can be the most important factor to ease parental anxiety. This will help to ensure you are successful with sleep training. Consider using a sleep consultant to be your sleep expert. We are cheerleaders and will hold you accountable which is another way to feel supported. At Good Night Sleep Site, we feel passionately that support and can guide you through the unknowns of sleep training. We are all moms and we get it.