Some folks claim that children can't be well-attached to their parents if the parents choose to sleep train.
This is wrong.
The happiest families are those that are getting their biological needs met. Just like being fed when you're hungry, you need good sleep to be feel your best.
An exhausted child and parent are not at their best. A tired mom or dad who feels guilty about their low energy, propped up on too much cafffeine, definitely isn't getting the most enjoyment out of their parenting experience. And if you're anything like me, odds are you are more short-tempered with your child when you are exhausted.
And the poor exhausted child who is waking up multiple times a night to nurse or cuddle back to sleep? Her body is on overdrive, pumping out stress hormone in a desperate attempt to stay awake during the day. Unfortunately, this strategy backfires and keeps her awake during the night, too.
Toddlers who don't sleep well become preschoolers who don't sleep well become adults who don't sleep well.
Here's a few not-so-fun medical facts to further convince you that sleep deprivation is a real issue:
Clearly getting enough sleep is a biological need, just like being fed. But parents still worry that sleep training will damage their children. This is a great article demonstrating that crying associated with short-term sleep training is safe.
Even beyond being safe, after sleep training, parents enjoy their children because their children aren't alternatively wound up and acting like the Energizer Bunny or cranky, irritable, weepy, and defiant from exhaustion. Parents have more to give and are more relaxed when their own cups are full after a good night's sleep.
Here's a lovely quote from a client that exemplifies the changes I see in families after sleep training, "before Abby’s help, it was taking my daughter 2 or more hours to fall asleep every night. We had hours of fighting and screaming before we got to that point, and she ended up in my bed every single night, where we both tossed and turned and kept waking each other up for the rest of the night. She was chronically exhausted and so was I! Now my daughter sleeps in her own bed, falls asleep in as little as an hour (we’re still working on that!), stays in her room all night long until her ok to wake comes on, and we rarely have tantrums at night or in the morning!" Cyndi, mom of C, age 3
Meeting the biological needs of a child and his parents makes everyone happier and more able to enjoy each other. It actually strengthens family bonds. Sleep training is a gift to the entire family.
If you'd love to give this gift to your own beautiful family, let's schedule a free chat and get you on your way to sweet, sweet dreams.
Abby Wolfson is a pediatric nurse practitioner, certified child sleep consultant and former NICU nurse. She divides her time between Brooklyn, NY and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.