Happy 2017, readers! You know what they say — new year, new start! Is your baby or toddler still struggling to take restorative naps, or maybe having a hard time sleeping through the night? Now is the time to take action! With some effort on your part (and some help from those of us here at The Baby Sleep Site®), 2017 really can be a year of peaceful sleep for your whole family.
To help you achieve that great sleep you’re looking for, here are 7 tips you can use to get started on improving your baby or toddler’s sleep, and to ensure that you have a well-rested year ahead!
7 Tips for Better Baby and Toddler Sleep in 2017
- Don’t put off sleep training because you think it’s “too early” or “too late”
It’s true that there are ‘ideal windows’ for sleep training (and you can read more about those here). But regardless of how old your baby is and where they are in their sleep development, there is some part of their sleep you can be improving right now.
- Set Goals
One great step you can make toward improving sleep is to set realistic, clear goals for your baby’s sleep. If you don’t know where you want to go, it’s very hard to find a path there, and too easy to become overwhelmed. Make sure that your goals are specific – instead of setting a goal like ‘sleep through the night’, try setting one like ‘down from 3 night wakings to 2 within first 10 days.’ Once you achieve that goal, you can find another small step forward until you reach achieve great sleep!
- Make A Plan!
If you’re going on a road trip across country, most people make a plan. Some will plan it down to the last detail, including where they will stop for potty breaks, while others will make looser plans. If they make it to a city near to their planned stop, they might stop sooner or later, while others will do anything to stick to their plan and stop when and where they planned to stop. Neither of these types of plans are ‘better’ – they reflect the personality types of the people who made them. So, regardless of your personality type, remember that success usually starts with a plan (even if it’s not super-detailed). Now, as to how to get a sleep plan – we can make one for you, or if you like to ‘do-it-yourself’, you can access our sleep plan template and workbook to get some help creating your own.
- Get Support From Your Village
Whether you find a friend who’s going through a similar situation with their child’s sleep, or you have your partner/spouse, a friend on Facebook, your parent, or one of our Sleep Consultants helping you through, one thing that will help you succeed in making a big change in your life is your support network. Holding yourself accountable by “checking in” with someone will help you stick to your plan and work toward your goals. So, try to get your support lined up before you start!
- Make sure to lay the groundwork before you start sleep coaching
There are a few things you should do before you start any kind of sleep training, including catching up on sleep (both you and your baby or toddler should do this) and possibly visiting your doctor. To read the full list and get the best start possible, check out 5 things to do before sleep training.
- Stay Consistent
So you set your goals and made your plan…but are you keeping with it? It’s an important point to remember! The number one key to successful sleep training is consistency. You have to give a plan time to work, and you have to faithfully stick to that plan before you’ll ever start to see progress. So don’t throw in the towel after just a few nights – instead, stick with it. If you haven’t seen any meaningful changes in 7-10 days, then consider making changes to your plan then, but not before.
- Take that first step
Why is a bullet point about taking the first step the very last thing on our list? Because once you have your plan, taking that first step is often the hardest. Often we build up how terrible sleep training will be in our head and, more often, it’s worse in our head than in reality. We’re afraid we’ll be sleep training a tortoise and we’ll feel guilty because our baby won’t sleep and it’s our fault. The first step in solving any problem is usually the most difficult, but it’s also one of the most important.