Do you often wonder if your child will ever sleep through a whole night?
The allure of a whole night of unbroken sleep is too much for many families. It seems so unrealistic that it’s almost not worth contemplating for fear of continual disappointment.
There are so many methods out there that it can become overwhelming and is confusing at the best of times.
Here’s the secret!
The secret is to observe YOUR child and discover THEIR needs. There is no generic way to resolve sleep challenges without creating a source of stress for either parents or children.
Montessori education is all about observing each child as an individual, and supporting them so they learn everything they need to – at their own pace. The principle of observation relates to all kinds of human necessities: sleeping, eating, toileting, language, coordination, independence, self-discipline etc.
This is how I help families find their own solution for sleep training, although I prefer to call it sleep assistance.
Discover where your child is on the path of human development
Little children can’t help but follow their unconscious drives that guide them towards developing everything they’ll need as an adult. These include creating vital characteristics that combine to produce their personality – emotions, a strong will, intelligence, self-esteem, a positive self-image and the ability to express their needs.
There are specific times during the first sub-plane of human development (0-3 years) when sleep can become a challenge: 0-3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 16-18 months, 2 years, 2.5 years. All these are times of great change within the brain and body, and we see this demonstrated in changes in your child’s behaviour.
When we observe these changes and respond to them accordingly, things get better again and your child progresses further along their individual path of development. But if we miss some of the signs and continue in the way that worked before, we will see negative characteristics forming that can be difficult to change if we leave them too long.
3 essentials for a whole night’s sleep
Here are the basics for finding the best way to help your child sleep through the night:
- Routine: every child relies on a basic routine for feeling secure. This changes as they develop and it’s imperative that you respond to these changes as needed. Create a routine based on observations of your child, so there are regular times for waking, sleeping, feeding, bathing and playing. Your child’s brain creates strong neural connections through repeated experiences, which leads to a calm and happy baby.
- Avoid any physical contact at the moment your child falls asleep: this is vitally important because our bodies remember the precise feeling experienced when falling asleep, and seek to recreate this every time we enter a new sleep cycle. In the beginning, you may need to rock your child while they lie down, to reassure them you’re nearby. Then, as the days go by, you can change to keeping one hand on their back. After more days, you can sit next to them, then move towards the doorway and finally outside completely!
- Comfort your child when they cry: this doesn’t mean letting them go on and on crying with no end in sight. It simply means showing you’re there to listen to their feelings, just like you would listen to a friend in distress. We know their tears won’t go on for ever – they just need a shoulder to cry on, some kind words and hope that things will be better soon.
I’ve helped many families find their own way to a whole night’s sleep and would love to help yours too.
Photo credits: freedigitalphotos.net