5 Tips on How to Get Family Onboard with Sleep Training
(Samantha Graham – Mesa, Arizona)
If you are lucky enough to have a family member care for your children regularly, you may be wondering how to talk to them about sleep training. Keep in mind that consistency is an essential key. When we sleep train, even when our little ones spend one day a week at an aunt or grandpa comes over a few days a week. Often, parents who are in the middle of sleepless nights are far more motivated to sleep train than grandma who loves to snuggle her grandbaby.
However, it is essential to have an open and honest conversation with all caregivers so you can be consistent from the start. As much as friends and family love to spoil our babies, sleep time should not be a time for spoiling. There are plenty of times throughout the day that family members can spend dedicated time bonding with your baby or toddler. Before you sit down with these caregivers, make sure you and your spouse are on the same page, and understand what you are asking from them. Then, ask the caregiver for some uninterrupted time to discuss.
Here are some important points to remember:
Start with the reason you have chosen to sleep train.
Loved ones will most likely be more motivated to help if they know how much of a benefit this will be to the whole family. Tell the caregiver that you are trying to help the infant/toddler to succeed with sleep, just as you will assist with every other developmental milestone.
Validate their perspectives.
Many grandparents have their own stories of how good/bad their children were at sleeping, or like to suggest that you do the same thing they did. I find it best to listen fully and tell them that you respect their choices. I sometimes rely on the phrase “Interesting, I will keep that in mind.” You don’t need to defend your chosen methods or feel the need to tell the family member why that will not work for you.
Be clear about what you are asking them to do.
If you are moving from no schedule into a set schedule, let them know exactly what that will look like. Be concise and ask for exactly what you want. If you can show them how you plan to put the baby down for the nap, even better!
Simply it for them.
Print out a simplified bedtime and naptime routine to have available for caregivers. If you have worked hard to implement a routine, it is best if that routine can be done with anyone who is taking care of the baby. We can include a copy of this simplified routine for you to print out when you work with one of our sleep consultants.
After the caregiver has had a chance to try it, ask them how it went! See if there were any parts that they felt confused about or were difficult for them. Remember, your little one will benefit so much from the communication of all caregivers.
When families can work together to implement sleep training strategies, the little one can fully understand that this is an expectation no matter who is watching him. He can know what to expect from bedtime consistently, without confusion. And you can leave knowing that the caregiver baby is going to get to sleep as normal. If you are looking for help with sleep contact us to book a sleep solution customized for you, please contact us now.