What do most parents especially first time parents have in common? Almost all of them have tried out wrong sleep training techniques and have failed miserably. Many parents fall victim to such mistakes even without knowing while other are wrongly informed. After failing once or twice, most parents give up mostly because of the severe resistance they encounter from kids when trying to sleep train them. By staying clear of these mistakes, you can make the experience more tolerable for both you and your child:
MISTAKE 1-Beginning to sleep train at the wrong time
Naturally, a baby develops the capability to self-soothe between four to six months. To be on the safe side, it is advisable to start sleep training at six months. The efforts you make from 4 moths will be extremely useful. Before your little is 4 months, it is best to follow their cues. It is best not to start sleep training at the same time you begin potty training or when your baby begins to walk.
MISTAKE 2 – Irregular bedtime
Babies feel safe and secure with consistent and regular bedtimes. A well structured bedtime is the best way to ensure that your child adopts good sleeping habits early in childhood and later in life. Additionally, it is better to ensure that the bedtime routine that does not exceed 30 minutes. Make the bedtime routine fun and more of a bonding session as your child develops. The end goal is to ensure that the bedtime routine is predictable, consistent and enjoyable.
MISTAKE 3-Missing medical causes that may be making it difficult for your child to sleep
There are many kids with medical problems such as sleep apnea, asthma, anxiety, nocturnal fear and restless leg syndrome. In this case trying to force a sleep pattern on them is counteractive because there is a deep rooted problem that required to be fixed. If you realise that your little goober has a difficult time trying to adapt your sleep training schedule, it may be an indication that there is a deep rooted issues that needs to be handled.
MISTAKE 4-Lack of consistency
This is probably one of the biggest mistakes that parents make when sleep training. Just because they cry so much the first time you try to implement a sleeping routine does not mean you stop or skip days.
Other reasons that parents skip days include exhaustion, when a child is ill or when visiting somewhere new. As a rule of thumb never miss or skip a day. In case you will not be around it is advisable to let someone else implement the routine. Consistency is key
MISTAKE 5-Wrong space arrangement
On of the biggest mistakes that most parents make is not making the proper sleeping arrangements when it comes to space. For instance sleep training a baby in a room shared by a sibling with a different sleeping schedule. This may disrupt or collide with the bedtime routine you are trying to establish making all your efforts go to waste. If your kids have to share space, it is recommended that you move the older sibling to another room to facilitate better training of your little goober.
By staying clear of these mistakes, you can make the experience more tolerable for both you and your child
MISTAKE 6-Moving the child to a new room when you first start sleep training
This is one of the biggest mistakes that one can make when sleep training. If your baby has never slept alone in their room, they are going to have a very difficult time adapting to their new sleeping quarters. Sleep train them in their current room and then move them once they get the hang of the new sleeping schedule you are trying to implement.
MISTAKE 7-Overfeeding your child during the night
Past the age of six months babies do not need more calories at night. It is extremely challenging to implement a sleeping routine when your baby constantly wakes up at night to feed. A baby who sleeps through the night or wakes up once or twice a night is easier to sleep train.
MISTAKE 8- Giving up because of the extinction burst
Extinction burst is a behavioral term that describes the fact that an undesirable behavior especially in children tends to worsen before it start improving when you are actively trying to eliminate it. This also applies to the habit of babies crying out when you first start sleep training.
Here is a realistic look at how sleep training look like:
Nervously you make the decision to let your 8 month year old cry themselves to sleep. While on the first night it is bad, it gets even worse on the second night. If you are consistent you will realize that after getting worse it will get much better. Be prepared because some kids cry to the point of throwing up, but this should not discourage you. Give it 3 to a maximum of 7 days.
Sleep training is challenging for both the child and parent. The best way to make the process easier is by avoiding these common pitfalls.