In speaking with clients, I tend to see two types of parents. One type tends to have a mindset something like “Sleep has been bad this long, what’s another month or two?” and they are fine with a slower process and expect it to take awhile before their baby sleeps better. The other type is more like “I’m at the end of my rope. I can’t take this anymore. Please help me TODAY!” Of course, there are parents in between, but this article is for those parents “at the end of their ropes (or tethers)” and need FAST sleep coaching results. You might be going back to work soon, sending the baby to daycare soon, or you.just.can’t.take.it.anymore. This is for you! Here are 5 tips to fast sleep coaching with fast results.
How to Sleep Train Fast At-a-Glance
- Decide when
- Make a plan
- Commit and follow-through
- Decide how long is too long
How to Sleep Train Fast — The Details
1. Decide When
Ideally, you would not just decide “I’m sleep training right NOW!” at a random bedtime. Ideally, you tell yourself and/or your partner/spouse, “We are starting Friday night, so we can take a nap on Saturday (hopefully!)”. Giving yourself 1 or 2 days to gear up for it and not feel like you’re “snapping” will make it more likely that you will follow through with it. So many people we’ve talked to over the years have one failed attempt abruptly at one bedtime and then are hesitant to try again. Working yourself up to it will help mentally prepare yourself, which can be a key component of success!
2. Make a plan
No matter if you are trying a gentle sleep coaching approach or full-on cry it out or anything in between, it’s best to have some type of a plan. Will you tackle bedtime first? Night-weaning? Naps? What sleep training method will you use? What schedule will you follow or will you follow a schedule? In my experience, the most successful families with sleep training already knew how they’d handle the first night-waking or when they would night-wean. “Going with the flow” can work for the most easy-going babies, but the more intense your baby, the better it is to have a plan, usually.
PRO TIP: Too tired to make a plan but need one right away? Consider one of our Express Sleep Plans®, where a customized plan is created just for you in mere minutes.
3. Commit and follow-through
Be prepared to commit 100% to your plan for at least ONE WEEK. We can all do something for one week, right? Once you gain confidence after the first several days, I promise it almost always gets easier. With the right plan, your commitment, follow-through, and consistency, your baby can be sleeping through the night or become a pro napper in no time!
4. Decide how long is too long
At what point will you feel it’s not working? One week? Two weeks? I can tell you that REALISTICALLY, most babies or toddlers take 1-2 weeks to make more significant changes, but with these tips you can see progress in just 2-3 days, which will relieve some of the pressure on your family. Remember, your baby or toddler has had these habits for weeks, months, or years, so it will take some time to convince them to make new LONG-TERM habits, so plan to stick with it at least 1 week, preferably 2 weeks. Remember, the rate at which you will see progress is directly related to your child’s temperament and personality and your ability to follow-through and be consistent. If you would, take a moment to imagine teaching your child to tie his shoes. If you constantly give up mid-way through teaching him how to do it in order to do it for him, he will take a MUCH longer time to get faster at doing it himself. The more he does it, the faster (and more confident!) he will get at doing it himself. Same goes with working on his sleep. 🙂
The pace is ultimately up to you and your child. If you feel you are making little to no progress after a REALISTIC amount of time (i.e. don’t expect overnight success), it might be time to re-evaluate your sleep coaching method, your expectations, whether your child is ready, or whether your plan is right for your situation. Please don’t spend 2 or 3 months on this process without seeing even a glimmer of progress. Most of the time, there is some other reason it’s not working, if it’s taking that long. And, if you need help troubleshooting just why it isn’t working, a third party perspective may be just what you need and we are here for you!