If you’re a parent of a baby or toddler, chances are you face challenges when it comes to teaching your child good sleep habits. Whether your infant wakes multiple times during the night or your toddler resists naps during the day, Gentle Sleep Coaching may be the solution you need!
Meredith Kinney, a certified Gentle Sleep Coach with Well Rested Family, shares some information about sleep coaching and some great tips for adjusting your child’s sleep to the time change when we “Spring Forward” this month.
Meredith Kinney is the mother of two boys and lives in Hainesport. She graduated with a degree in Communications from the University of Maryland, and worked in magazine publishing in Philadelphia. When her children were born, she chose to leave her office job and stay home with them. As a stay-at-home mom, she was very involved in the day to day activities of her boys and around young children and moms all day. She would often hear how concerned everyone was about how much sleep their babies were getting. It seemed no one was getting any sleep. Everyone had suggestions to help these moms, but no one had real solutions. The Gentle Sleep Coaching method is a real solution. Meredith decided the best way to stay at home with her boys, while still being involved with other moms in the community was to become certified as a Gentle Sleep Coach. The Gentle Sleep Coach Program is the first and most extensive professional sleep coach training and certification program available. The program involves over 80 hours of training with a faculty panel that includes 2 medical doctors, a psychologist, an attorney, lactation counselor, postpartum doulas and a family therapist.
What is Gentle Sleep Coaching?
Gentle Sleep Coaching was created by Kim West, LCSW-C author of book Good Night, Sleep Tight. It is a gradual way to teach your baby the vital skill of sleep. During sleep coaching, the parents learn to tune in to their baby’s sleep cues and patterns, and use that information to shape healthy sleeping habits. No two babies are alike, so the Gentle Sleep Method is a program customized to your baby, and your family. Methods like cry it out, which do not take into account the individuality of each baby, are hard for parents to follow through with.
With Gentle Sleep Coaching, parents make small changes to the baby’s sleep habits and environment, gradually teaching their baby how to fall asleep and stay asleep. Unlike cry it out methods, Gentle Sleep Coaching encourages parents to respond to baby’s needs while they are learning this new skill of sleep.
The Gentle Sleep Coaches at Well Rested Family will work with you to determine a plan that matches your family’s needs. They offer a Baby Basics Consultation for newborn-4/5 month olds and a Well Rested Consultation for children ages 4months to 6 years. Learn more about their programs here.
Tips for Adjusting to Daylight Savings
On Sunday March 13 this year, we will “Spring Forward” and move our clocks ahead an hour. Babies and toddlers who don’t understand what time is may be affected by this change more than you would think. Here are a few tips to help ease the transition.
First, plan ahead. Make sure your child is getting adequate naps the week before the time change. This way they will be well rested, and better able to adjust to the change ahead. We always say sleep begets sleep; the more sleep your baby gets, the better they will be at sleeping. Second, on the day of the time change, be prepared for your child’s bedtime to feel earlier, because it actually is an hour earlier. Third, take your child outside first thing in the morning. Getting some sunlight will help his internal clock to adjust. (and yours as well!)
There are two methods to dealing with the time change. The first method is the Do Nothing Method! Act like it is a normal day. For most families this is the easiest thing to do. However, be aware that your baby has now lost an hour of sleep. Watch their sleep cues for the day, and be aware that they may indeed be a little “off”. Put them to bed at their regular time, say 7PM, but remember this was 6PM yesterday. With this do nothing method, it may take a few days for their sleep to regulate, and their meals and naps to adjust as well.
The second method is for children who are a little more alert, and less likely to self adjust to a change in their schedule. In this instance, the new 7PM (which was 6PM yesterday) may be too early for them to go to sleep. You can split the difference for a few days, putting them to bed at 7:30 and slowly making the bedtime earlier in the upcoming days. Also try to be as consistent as possible with their feeding and nap schedules in these days. The most important thing to remember is to watch your child during these first few days. Try to read their sleepy cues, and respond accordingly. Every child is different, and some may take longer than others to adjust to this new time.
For more information about Meredith or to set up a free 15 minute consultation contact Well Rested Family here. For more tips and tricks on children’s sleep follow Well Rested Family on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wellrestedfamily