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Helping You Help Your Child [Sleep]

Updated: Nov 6, 2023

There are sooooooo many ways that we as parents can educate ourselves when it comes to raising and rearing our children. And we all likely have differing beliefs, thoughts, and opinions on how to do this best. We may even have differing beliefs, thoughts, and opinions on how to do raise each of our different children! I know as a teacher I respond to different children in different ways because they learn in different ways. As a sleep coach, I write different plans for different children because they may have different needs and personalities - it's important to recognize these differences so I can write the best plan possible for each child and family.

I'd like to offer some perspectives when it comes to learning about how you can help your child sleep...I'm going to present these with humor and sarcasm, as well as my real thoughts and opinions about each of these methods, and what might be best for you, based on your needs and personality. Enjoy!

  1. Books - ah, the tried and true method for taking in a lot of information that you then have to sift through to apply to your own situation. This is a great option if you don't yet have children or are pregnant with your first, and are just looking for some background information. You actually have the time to sit down and read a book (I've really been into audiobooks lately - that, I do have time for!). Personally, I am looking forward to the days when I have time to enjoy a real book again. Consider that if you haven't met your baby yet and don't know much about his or her personality...a book is a one-size fits all type of method for learning about sleep.

  2. Blogs - much like books...see above - however, often a quicker and easier read than a book and written by someone who has been there and done that. I love blogs for trying different things and seeing what other people are doing. Just remember that what works for someone else may not work for you. Also, please consider...can you trust the blogger's credentials? Are they an expert on the topic...have they had the training to share advice or are they just sharing their opinion? I would search for and only follow a few writers who really align with your beliefs regarding the topic, otherwise you might be in for some information (good or bad) overload!

  3. PDF Guides - usually a small investment for a quick and easy read. Again, a one size fits all approach to educating yourself when it comes to your child's sleep. Many consultants offer guides for customers who may only need help with one issue (for example, naps or early morning wakings). Guides often don't cover a child's sleep needs from a holistic perspective, and may only provide a fix for one portion of the sleep puzzle. This is a great option if you already have an independent sleeper and are just trying to fine-tune a certain area of sleep. Keep in mind that one area of sleep may be affecting another, so a guide may or may not help your situation depending on what the root cause is. Guides are a cost-effective option, but don't waste your money if you aren't certain about the root cause of the sleep issue.

  4. Google - um, where do I start? If you want every possible perspective on every possible topic, Google will be your best friend. I don't think I need to say any more about that! {insert crazy-face emoji here!}

  5. Mom Groups/Online Communities - these groups are great for feeling like you're not alone, because, really, motherhood is just that, a neighbor"hood" - a community - of women going through many of the same thoughts and feelings regarding our children. You can find many differing ideas, thoughts, and beliefs in these groups. Similar to a blog, I recommend finding some that align with your own thoughts and beliefs when it comes to parenting. And, again, when looking for advice, consider the author and their credentials, and if it seems like common sense advice or not. I've seen some crazy things in these groups!

  6. Social Media - one of the 3 S's of nap time - shower, shave, & social media! Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok, and the list goes on. Personally, I love Instagram and have found some super awesome parenting resources to follow. Most of my own parenting education comes from following some of these experts - child Speech and Language Pathologists, Physical and Occupational Therapists, Dieticians, etc. Make sure you're following @lakecountrysleep! Many instagrammers will offer tips, tricks, and advice for free on their accounts. Again, I'd recommend following those who you find that you share similar beliefs with and who you really connect with when they're speaking - you will get the most out of these accounts. For free!

  7. Podcasts - these have become another quick favorite for me in recent years - I can listen to an episode and get educated while I'm wiping down the bathroom! It's a win-win. Again, many people offering advice on this platform are likely coming from a one-size-fits-all approach. Following along with professionals is the way to go to get the best advice out there. Another free option!

  8. Webinar - a webinar is another great option for some basic sleep education. It is typically a one-size-fits-all option, unless there is some sort of Q&A involved. They can also cover a variety of topics, similar to a PDF guide. It might be enough to get you on the right track, but likely won't solve every piece of the sleep puzzle. Webinars can be free or paid.

  9. Apps - I've recently seen some apps marketed and claiming that they can help get your little one to sleep through the night. I think an app can be an excellent tool for tracking your child's sleep that you can use to guide you moving forward. If it's an app that makes recommendations based on your child's age, remember that these are just averages, and your baby may have different needs than another the same age. I also make those same recommendations to my clients based on their child's age. However, I can guide you another way too if I notice something is a little off with the average recommendation. I'm not certain that an app can do that. Apps can be free or paid.

  10. eCourse - similar to a PDF guide option, an eCourse is likely focused on one topic regarding sleep, and might be a really good option if you have an independent sleeper already. If your child is lacking adequate skills, though, a holistic approach to sleep is going to work much better, and yield results for much longer. Make sure you know what is all included in the course to make sure it is worth the time and money and will for certain solve the problem you are having. Prices vary.

  11. Technology - here I'm specifically talking about clocks, lights, and sound or song machines - these tools can be very helpful in cueing your little one in preparation for sleep and for wakings in the middle of the night and for when it's time to get up. But they will not teach your little one the skill of being an independent sleeper. They are a great tool, and I have a few items that I find extremely helpful! But, like I said, they're only one piece of the sleep puzzle. Pricing varies depending on the item. When you work with me, you get a list of my favorite products for sleep!

  12. Workshop - I love a good workshop. A workshop is a great option to get some general information to educate yourself about infant and child sleep. If you're looking for specifics, make sure there is a Q&A option to get your personal questions addressed. I offer a free workshop that highlights the cornerstones of my sleep plans. They are a great starting point, and for some parents that is all they need. Make sure you know what is all included and again, who the presenter is and their credentials. Workshops can be free or paid, so make sure if it is paid that you are truly getting something out of it.

  13. One-on-One Coaching - this is a great option if you're looking for personalization, guidance, support, and accountability. This is NOT a one-size-fits-all approach and is almost guaranteed to yield the results you're looking for. 98% of children can learn the skill of sleep if a plan is followed accordingly, so your odds are pretty good. The other 2% have something more going on (health related) that is affecting their ability to sleep. So, while this is also the most expensive option, it's pretty much guaranteed to work. An investment on your child's health and wellbeing that will benefit them for their whole life...sounds pretty good to me!

There you have it - a fairly comprehensive list of all your options when it comes to educating yourself about sleep. Pick and choose what you think may work best for YOU! And, if you decide that #13 is your best option, let's chat - I'd love to help you out!

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