Parents often share concerns about their children and sleep and they want to know why they are experiencing so many sleep disruptions. Parents find that often their best intentions and routines lead to arduous bedtime routines or more and more tears despite their best efforts. Lets explore one of the common concerns about sleep disruptions and explore some practical tips on how to find some sleep success. Please note, these suggestions relate to children 6 months or older. All infants before 6 months of age, have very different sleep needs and behaviors.
Common Concern: Why does my child wake up frequently right after I lovingly put him/her to sleep and also wake frequently in the middle of the night? (relates to children 6 months or older).
It is a lovely experience to assist your child to a deep slumber, but often parents find that within minutes of putting their child down into their independent sleeping space, their child instantly wakes up. Parents often assume the child does not “like” the crib, co-sleeper, or mattress and that is why there is a sleep disruption.It is important to know and understand that learning how to go to sleep at bedtime and going back to sleep in the middle of the night are both vital life skills. As parents, it is our job to provide our children the opportunity to master these life skills.If you put your child to sleep by rocking, nursing, walking, bottle feeding or lying down with them then they become dependent on you to put them to sleep. When your child wakes during the night (please know that nighttime arousals are normal), they will expect the same “service” from you in order to go back to sleep.Encouraging self-soothing to sleep is the way to unravel the dilemma of the child being dependent on the parent for sleep.
There are many methods and strategies to help a child to self-soothe to sleep. But before you make any bold changes, there are many things to consider and plans to make & execute. Do your research to make an educated decision on methodology and philosophy and gain agreement with your partner. Most importantly, no matter what method you choose, have realistic expectations. Parents need to be in partnership over the approach and apply the techniques consistently for 2-3 weeks to allow for the time for the child to learn the new skill of self-soothing to sleep. With some advance planning, dedicated time and attention as well as patience, you will enjoy the beauty of a calm, harmonious bedtime routine when your child self-soothes to sleep.