Training your child to fall asleep on their own is highly sought after by parents of toddlers who have sleep problems. Is sleep training a good way to get your baby to sleep soundly? What other methods should you try?
The origins of cry-out sleep training date back to the 1960s, when elephant trainers took a baby elephant from its mother and tied its leg to a stake in the ground. After a few days, the baby elephant stopped bucking and became very docile. In psychology, this phenomenon is called “learned helplessness”.
Putting a baby to sleep using this method causes the baby to stop crying after just a few days, not communicating its needs at all. Babies do not cry because they have lost hope that a parent will take an interest in them. For most parents, this type of sleep training is unacceptable.
Few parents know that infants need rituals. Often, disrupting the schedule of the day can cause a child to have sleep problems. Many child psychologists and educators advise that sleep training should begin with developing a daily routine. Trainers advise that the evening routine begins with feeding, so you can teach your child to fall asleep at the bottle or at the breast. Feeding should be followed by a bath and evening cuddling and stroking. This way you can satisfy the sense of closeness in your baby.
A parent should put the baby down in the crib before the toddler falls asleep. Many parents think that the toddler will cry or scream loudly. Very often babies fall asleep as soon as they are put down in the crib. Some infants, after being put into the crib, wriggle and quiver, at such a time it is worth helping with a baby humming device, which should calm the baby down.
In many guides for parents you can find golden advice: “put the baby down and run away, do not pay attention to the toddler if he cries”. It is difficult to understand this kind of training, which in the baby can cause very high stress.
This method is very similar to cry- out. It begins with an evening feeding, bath, after which the parent cuddles the child and puts him or her back in the crib. While the baby is falling asleep, the parent sits in a chair next to the crib. If the baby cries, the parent ignores the cry, sitting unmoving next to the crib. Many psychologists believe that the baby in this method should be stroked if he really needs it
Day by day, the parent moves away with the chair as far as possible from the crib, so that eventually the parent is no longer in the room at all while the baby is falling asleep. This method requires a lot of patience and time from the parent.
This method is a combination of the previous two methods. You need to soothe the baby’s crying and put him or her in the crib before he or she falls asleep. Most often, however, the baby cries again after a while. Many experts vouch that the baby will cry less every day, because he knows that the parent is always nearby.
The parent does everything as before, only shorter, that is, if the baby wakes up in the night, the parent rocks him, but shorter. Sometimes it is enough to give the child a pacifier and he falls asleep. The gradual disappearance of the parent will not work for every child.
If the toddler has trouble falling asleep, the parent should note for several days at what time the child falls asleep in the evening and at what time he has naps during the day. Sometimes eliminating one nap during the day is enough for the child to go to sleep in the evening without a problem
The decision on sleep training for the baby should be dictated by his needs. If the baby requires constant closeness to the parent, then sleep training will not be suitable for him
Main photo: Tara Raye, source: unsplash.com