Top 5 myths about sleep training…Should you or should you not?
Should you or should you not? Isn’t that a question we as parents ask ourselves multiple times a day? Wanting the best for our children is what makes us get out there and ask questions, read child development books, take parenting classes, and search the “All Knowing” internet, looking for the answers.
There are many different views on just about every topic there is concerning raising children, but I want to help clear up a few myths that are floating around where it comes to sleep training for babies.
But first, what exactly is sleep training? The simplest answer is that sleep training provides the techniques parents can use to help their child develop the skills needed to independently fall asleep and stay asleep.
Sure, babies wake up throughout the night; however, it’s not necessarily that they need mom or dad…or really anything at all. When you wake up during the night, do you sit in a rocking chair to fall back to sleep? Do you always need to get a sip of water? Are you ready to start your day before the sun rises? For the most part the answer to all those questions is, No…you simply relax and fall back to sleep or go to the bathroom, get that drink of water, and then lay back down in bed and allow yourself to fall back to sleep.
So why do we assume that since our children are young, they need us for everything? It’s because we love our kids. We don’t want them to struggle through any part of their lives. If I could hand the world to my two kiddos on a silver platter, I would…but then what happens when they grow up and get out into the real world? I want my kids prepared to have the self-confident and skills to do anything! Getting the amount of uninterrupted sleep, they need physically and mentally preps them to take on their day.
Yes, as a parent, you should most certainly research and feel comfortable with the strategies you put in play to raise your little one, but I want to help by providing some clarity on what sleep training is…and is not.
Top 5 Myths About Sleep Training:
- A baby wakes up at night because they’re hungry, so when they start eating solids, they’ll sleep through the night.
Actually, if a child has not learned how to self-soothe, they will continue to wake up during the night. This is because they don’t know how to get themselves back to sleep without mom or dad…not always because they’re hungry.
- Parents are just being selfish if they sleep train their child. It’s more for their benefit than the baby.
Actually, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. A full night of uninterrupted sleep is healthy for both parent an child. Parents are more likely to be less frustrated, more focused on their child’s needs throughout the day. While the benefits for the child include being less cranky, more playful quality time with family, eats better, and able to self soothe back to sleep during the night.
- My child just has so much energy, he not tired enough to go to bed at an earlier time.
In reality, the more “energy” a child shows later in the evening, can actually mean he’s over tired and his body just doesn’t know how to slow down to rest because it has no cue of it being time for bed. Over tiredness can be a major cause as to why your baby is waking during the night.
- I won’t get to bond with my baby and she will hate me when she gets older.
Children view things in black and white terms. Boundaries help babies and older children feel less anxious and more confident in what’s to come. If parents are constantly changing these boundaries, it can become confusing for a child. They don’t know how to behave in certain situations, such as sleeping at night.
- I will be causing my child emotional damage is I try to sleep train him and just let himself “cry it out” all night. He’ll think I abandoned him.
It is well known that all babies cry. It’s one of their primary ways to communicate until they begin to talk. With that said, not every sleep training method involves leaving the baby to just cry until they fall asleep. Most sleep training methods and consultants don’t use this method. Instead, they work with the parent to understand the child and wishes of the parent, and use a gradual process to help teach the child the right sleep skills they need.
In summary, don’t disregard sleep training because of what you think it is. Research what sleep training really is and how it works, and the different options. then you can decide as a family if it’s right for you and which method you’re more comfortable using.