As parents there is nothing we enjoy about seeing our babies cry. We don’t get pleasure when our kids are upset, frustrated or having a full-on meltdown. It’s during these moments, where we have to take step-back and look at the big picture. We need to look at the whole picture and not just the moment we are in. When we focus on the individual moment or incident we are likely to ‘give in’ and want to make our child feel better. We want to help stop the tears and in some way, rescue them. When we look at the long-term goal and larger scale, the incident then becomes a piece of the puzzle that needs to occur and be left to play out. Sometimes we need to let our kids cry and in some way fall down, in order for them to learn to get back up. This way of thinking is a paradigm shift for many parents and isn’t the easiest for us to do. We want to please our kids and keep them happy, but we need to remember by constant pleasing we often forget to do our job of parenting.
The idea of parenting and not pleasing starts from newborn stage and up. This parenting philosophy can be directly related to sleep training and move forward where our kids must learn to hear the word, “NO.” None of these things are easy, but all of them are necessary. Lets use learning to ride a bike as a way to put all of this into perspective. It’s our job as moms and dads to teach our kids to ride a bike. It won’t always be easy and they will have to fall down to learn how to ride. We know the long-term goal of bike riding independently is something they are capable of and something they need to learn. We know that we must let go of that bike and let them go the journey alone. Not easy, but it’s all part of parenting.
For all of you parents with infants, toddlers and even older kids whom refuse to sleep alone it’s similar to bike riding. We know we need to teach our kids the skill to sleep independently, but learning when to let go is the tricky part. You have to decide when the time is right for you and in some way learn to take your hand off the bike allowing them the opportunity to learn the skill of sleeping on their own. We must give our babies the chance to learn to sleep alone. We can’t always be there to pick them up and hold them all night long. Through this learning process there are often tears, but keep in mind that crying babies are not always babies that are upset. They are often communicating and working out how to self-soothe on their own. Babies are often learning when they are crying.
I don’t mean for you to leave your baby alone and isolated to cry for hours on end. I just mean, that not all tears are a negative. Tears when our kids fall off their bike are tears helping them learn a new skill. A positive will come from those scrapes and bruises. When your baby is sleep training and learning to sleep unassisted he/she is learning a new skill. A positive will come from those tears as well. It’s letting go and letting our kids learn these life skills where parenting gets hard. It’s where our heart jumps in and stops us from doing our job. When our emotions play tug-a-war with our logic and sometimes our logic loses. It’s at these moments where we find ourselves pleasing and not parenting. By letting our kids fail, fall down, and learn to get back up and learn from their mistakes we give them the opportunity to learn new skills. It’s here where we are truly parenting. No one said it would be easy, but when you look at that big picture and look at those long-term goals, you will see that coming out the other side there is a positive waiting. Lessons to be learned. Life-skills for them to carry with them along the way. Teachable moments that help them become stronger, more confident individuals.
Sleep training your child is not going to be a picnic in the park. At Tia Slightham I work with you to create a personalized sleep plan that takes into consideration your comfort level, parenting philosophy and sleep goals. Whether it’s a gentle method, one that involves more independence/tears or a combination of multiple methods doesn’t matter. It’s choosing what work for YOU and sticking to it. The plan I put together for you will be customized to help you find success in sleep training your little ones. I will say that sleep training is hardest for the first 1-3 nights and then I promise it gets MUCH easier! You will be wondering why you didn’t start sooner! For more information on sleep packages and how it all works click here SLEEP TRAINING PACKAGES! Lets decide to let go of the bike and let our kids have the chance to learn a new skill. A life-long skill of good quality sleep habits!