I have been assisting families with implementing sleep plans for many years and as it so happens that I am assisting the same families again with their second or third children. Often, the question comes up: “Why does the same plan of my first child not work with the other children? There is truth when I say: “Every child is different!”
People are often quite interested in what I do for a living and often ask me, in hushed tones to protect this giant secret:: “So how do you do it?” I would love to be able to have a secret to share that would in, 30 seconds, change every baby into a star sleeper, but after years I can say for certain: “Every child is different and the answer is NOT so simple.”
I take what I do very seriously, and I am keenly aware of the responsibility that goes with it. I know that my words can cause more harm than good. If any method or change is implemented incorrectly it can make things worse rather than better. My wish is for children to sleep, not for babies to cry for weeks on end. Sleep is not a simple process and should never be handled as such. Isolated “sleep training” could do more harm than good and any sleep guidance should be approached from all angles.
At Good Night we follow what we call a holistic approach. When we assist a client we start the process with a thorough analysis by sending them a questionnaire. This includes asking questions about everything from nutrition to routines and schedule. From this analysis we create an individual sleep plan for that specific family. I call it a family plan as any changes to one child will influence the rest of the family. The Consultant then has a personal in-home consultation with that family where the plan is discussed. I like to see this as an opportunity to get to know the parents. They know their child the best and with their knowledge and our expertise in the realm of sleep, together we find the best way to implement the plan! Thereafter we assist the parents for two weeks to implement the plan. We follow up with parents over the phone and via WhatsApp, yet we do have options available to assist parents in-home.
The process is NOT quick or easy because there is no quick and easy way. As sleep consultants we need to be responsible when implementing changes to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible. Change is scary, and change can cause crying (for everyone) and that is why it needs to be done the best way possible. Parents need to feel empowered to remain consistent through the change for the sake of their child. A quick and easy method will not give that to them. Parents need to know what to do at that uncertain moment at 2am in the morning. A crash course won’t give that to them. Parents need to know after first night of implementing the changes that it will be worth it in the end. A book won’t give that to them.
So, to answer that mysterious question: “How do I do it?”, it’s no secret. For each parent and child, the journey is different, it takes effort and persistence, but that journey does not have to be done alone. We’re here to plan, implement, support and guide you to better sleep in 2019.
By Jolandi Becker – Good Night Director and Sleep Consultant