How to get a child to sleep more is often one of new parent’s biggest challenges and point of confusion.
Sleep deprivation can also be a serious health issue for parents. To get some help we asked Laura Rosin, Sleep Consultant from WeeSleep, to answer our top questions based on a Facebook Poll.
Is there an age at which you can no longer break bad habits and sleep train?
It is never too late to change sleeping habits. With consistency, strong routines, proper support and a plan habits can be altered to instill healthy and positive sleep habits. It can get a little more difficult and “strategic” when children are older simply because they have had the habit for longer and are walking, talking, moving and maybe out of the crib at the time. But healthy sleep is achievable.
Is poor sleep always going to be a problem, if the habits have been formed?
No, a new sleep incident may have created a habit, or maybe something started and couldn’t be stopped or helped- for instance, maybe a baby only falls asleep in the car so the parents start driving their child around for naps and then before they know it, during the night!
Poor sleep habits can be corrected with consistency and patience. New parents are not taught about proper scheduling, how to avoid getting into bad habits, how important sleep really is when they are preparing for their baby’s arrival. Keep in mind, every child has different needs. Parents on their 2nd, or 3rd child has no way of knowing if the same techniques they used in the past will work from one child to the next. Knowing a variety of methods and understanding the basics around sleep will help them be successful. Again, habits can be changed; meaning baby and family can get the restful sleep they need.
What if your child becomes ill – do you have to retrain?
Absolutely not! You can support and take care of your child thru illness and keep all the healthy sleep habits in check while doing so. It is important to resist introducing some of the bad habits (i.e. holding to sleep, sleeping with the child, nursing to sleep…) during the illness. A well-slept child typically gets better quicker.
Can every child sleep through the night, or are some just hardwired not to?
Sleep shaping can begin before 12 weeks (3 months) and by 14 weeks or 14 pounds, a healthy child can begin to sleep through the night. For sleep success, parents must be consistent with routines and awake times. Making sleep a priority will lead to healthy sleep hygiene and then absolutely they can learn to rock a full night sleep! One of the most important skills you can give your child is the ability to fall asleep on their own and this skill will last a lifetime. Nobody is hardwired to not NEED sleep; everybody REQUIRES sleep.
About Laura Rosin
Laura Rosin is a sleep consultant with WeeSleep Vancouver. She educates her clients on why things are happening and helps guide and support them so that baby and caregiver are always comfortable. Her goals are to give the most healthful gift of sleep, by sharing tools, guidance, one-to-one coaching and support to improve your child’s sleep health; in turn improving yours! Laura is a wife and mother who enjoys working with children of all ages. Before working with WeeSleep, she found herself playing side by side with children between five months and five years old at Cambie City Hall Childcare Society as an Early Childhood Educator. Communication and membership leader of the Kingcrest Community Garden in her area Laura enjoys coordinating and participating in local event, activities, and shopping.