Updated: Apr 29
I love what I do. I am a sleep coach, but really I am in the business of helping parents who are feeling hopeless, helpless, exhausted, overwhelmed. The business of sharing kindness and empathy. Two words almost every parent I talk to says they are feeling are "exhausted" and "overwhelmed." "I have no clue how to fix this, or even where to begin... I need someone to tell me exactly what to do."
So here I am. If you have a child who wakes overnight or needs you overnight. I am going to tell you exactly where to start.
Where to begin?
Bedtime sets the tone for the rest of the night. It is the easiest time of the day for a baby, toddler, preschooler to fall asleep. Why? It is at the same time every day, you can create the same perfect routine to occur every night, their drive for sleep is the strongest at this time.
And if bedtime is a total disaster too, and the same time, same routine, strongest drive for sleep is totally not the case in your house, you have options. Check out the following blog posts:
Back to it. If your kiddo needs you present (or laying with them, holding, feeding, rocking, bouncing) at bedtime... the easiest time of the day to fall asleep... of course he or she is going to need you present if they happen to wake overnight.
Tuck your kiddo in (calm and awake), say goodnight, leave the room, he/she falls asleep on his/her own.
This goal holds true whether you have a 6 month old or a 6 year old.
What also holds true is... if you are no where near this goal, you don't need to panic. This is not the goal for day one, and not even for week 1. This can take days or weeks to achieve depending on where are your kiddo is starting from. Make small gradual changes and challenges, and continue until your kiddo is falling asleep alone.
What About Overnights?
Okay, so where to go from here? For some kiddos, learning how to fall asleep without a parent present will, alone, fix overnight wakings. Often, however, it works as a good solid foundation. And with some intention and consistency, you can teach your kiddo to fall back to sleep on his or her own, and effectively sleep through the night.