What Is A Sleep Trainer Anyways?
I read an interesting article the other day on Today's Parent. The article was titled, "Does Your Baby Need A Sleep Coach?". It was a general article talking about Sleep Coaches/Trainers, what we do, what we charge, and how to go about selecting one for your family. As I read it I thought that the article should really be titled "Do I Need A Sleep Coach?" Granted, this title could be confusing as it also suggests the parent needing a sleep coach for their own sleep. Anyways, the point I am trying to make is that the role of a Sleep Coach/Trainer is to help parents help their babies.
Parents come to me for all different reasons. Their baby has inconsistent naps, their baby wakes up frequently during the night, they want their baby to transition out of the parent's room, or bed time is an all around disaster. Whatever the reason may be I always remind parents that the only way this will work is if they stay consistent and give me all the details.
I like to compare the sleep training process to building a house. My role being the designer and contractor and the parents role being the builders.
I start with an in-home meeting or phone call where we discuss everything to do with baby, the goals for sleep training, and the parenting style/family lifestyle. You can compare this meeting to a design meeting you have before you build your house. It is the foundation of the sleep training process. From the meeting I take everything that was discussed and pair it together with my personal research, practical experience, and formal course work in Child Development and create a written customized plan.
The sleep plan is the blueprint of the sleep training process. Its a point of reference for everything we discussed, what to do, and what the end result should look like. If at any point during the process the parents forget what we discussed or what the goals are or they are feeling lost, they can and should refer back to the sleep plan for a reminder on how to move forward.
The last component of sleep training is a week long follow up period. This is the building period. The parents are the builders and I am the contractor. During the follow up week I help parents implement the sleep plan, answer any questions, and make adjustments if need be. Just like the builders build the physical house, the parents are the ones who implement the plan while I oversee it.
As long as the parents stay consistent they should see a step in the right direction during the week long follow up period. I also remind parents that sleep training is very much a process and they shouldn't expect completed results at the end of the 7 days. Every child in uniquely different and will respond to sleep training in different ways. Just like homes need constant attention and upkeep children also need attention. It is my job to make sure I send parents off with the proper tools in order to best help their children,