The Single Factor Affecting Sleep-for ALL ages
There are many factors when it comes to how your newborn, infant, toddler or child’s sleep habits, quality and quantity of sleep. In reality, this applies to us adults as well. I know you’re heard the saying before, but I will say it again.
Consistency is key.
Yes! This single factor is the magic behind creating sustainable, lasting sleep habits and the change you desire for your child’s sleep, no matter their age.
Routines -> Consistency -> Habits -> Results
Children thrive on consistency and it allows them to know what to expect, helping to reinforce habits.
Routines for sleep help to prime your child for sleep.
Consistency in routines for sleep help create habits for your child’s sleep.
Habits with sleep determine how your child responds and behaves for sleep.
Results are determined by the habits created surrounding sleep.
Take a look at two examples of consistency and results:
At bedtime, Macy is given a bottle of milk as the last step in her sleep routine. Once Macy has fallen asleep while drinking, her Mom lays her down in her crib. Macy immediately wakes up and starts to fuss. Mom then picks her up, gives her more of the milk and lays her down again. Macy does not calm down. Mom gives Macy the bottle three more times before laying Macy down to sleep successfully. When Macy wakes in the middle of the night she is responded to with the same routine as bedtime. The results: Macy is unable to fall asleep on her own. Macy’s habit of needing a bottle of milk and multiple attempts to both get her to sleep and back to sleep in the night is consistently reinforced.
Sage has his diaper changed, is dressed for sleep, breastfeeds for 15 minutes, is read a book and laid down to sleep. Sage is still awake when his parent lays him down in his crib. Sage may fuss a bit and is allowed to do so in order to work on his skill of falling asleep on his own. If Sage’s dad feels the need, he will go to Sage and rub his belly, make the “shhhhhh” sound, and tell him “you’re safe, it is time for sleep.” This is how Sage is responded to if he wakes in the middle of the night as well. After about a week of this, Sage falls asleep and puts himself back to sleep on his own.
The results: Sage is able to fall asleep on his own as well as go back to sleep on his own. If Sage has trouble falling or staying asleep, he is responded to consistently with his parent’s above actions.
When you are consistent you will see results. These can be desired or undesired and changed at anytime. Keep consistent. Implementing new sleep habits can take anywhere from 1-2 weeks to see change in the direction of your goals.
Consistency is key. Consistency pays off. Consistency is worth it.