When it comes to sleep coaching, your kid’s temperament and personality should affect your approach the most. However, your parenting philosophy and character is equally important. The success or failure of your sleep routine doesn’t only depend on your child, but also on your ability and persistence to stick with it.
The only plan you will be able to stick with to the end is something that matches your parenting philosophy and goals. Trying to train your children in a way that fundamentally contradicts your nature as a parent simply won’t work.
In the past, there were three main types of parenting styles – authoritarian, permissive and authoritative. Authoritarian parenting emphasizes obedience, while permissive provides only a few behavioral guidelines. Currently, the most popular style of parenting is authoritative, which is a blend of two previously mentioned styles. Authoritarian parenting blends a caring tone with structure and consistent limit-setting. Apart from the mentioned three parenting philosophies, attachment parenting, holistic parenting, positive parenting and simplicity parenting styles also emerged.
What Parenting Style Works Best for Sleep Training
All parenting styles can be used to sleep train children in one way or another. However, it is never a good idea to abide by a particular parenting philosophy and not listen to your child at all. Your parenting style must be adjusted according to the needs of your kids.
You should be well aware that it depends on you to help your children develop a good sleeping hygiene. At the same time, you should also know you must respect your child’s needs and temperament. Parents shouldn’t change their sleep coaching method two early. It is important to keep in mind that establishing a bedtime routine is not easy. It will definitely take at least three weeks to notice some results. If you think the emotional needs of your child are jeopardized by using a particular sleep coaching method, change it. However, don’t get fed-up and resort to harsher methods once you see your sleep training plan didn’t work.
Research shows that children raised with authoritative parenting psychologically well-adjusted. These kids are creative and curious, most importantly; they are always motivated to move forward. They have good social skills and know how to manage themselves – they are confident, and they take the initiative. Using this parenting style to sleep train your child can be successful, but only if you invest a lot of effort in it. That actually applies to all parenting styles. There is no such thing as a magic solution for sleep training your children. The only proven method is to listen to your kid’s need and address those needs in a suitable manner. Have in mind that your kids still don’t have good self-control and that they may become irritable when you try to impose a strict schedule on them.
The discussion and explanation-based approach practiced by many parents is a good place to start because it helps children understand why things are done in a certain way. Back-and-forth discussion that respects the child’s perspective is the best way to gain your kid’s trust and help develop his or her thoughts and ideas.
High expectations are also good, as long as you provide your children the necessary support to achieve them. It is not wise to expect your kid to adapt to your bedtime routine too soon. However, you shouldn’t allow your child to stall. As long as you keep the balance between lovingness and high expectations while having your child’s temperament and age on mind, you will yield long-term outcomes.
How to Get Your Kid to Bed without Tears
Never forget that your child as at the mere beginning of becoming an independent individual. Toddlers and preschoolers are establishing their separateness from their parents and exploring their own competence and capabilities.
Many times going to bed is not the issue, but your child hates hearing the command of being told what to do. If you child feels misunderstood or as he is being controlled, he will try to fight for his rights. Continuing to overpower your child in these situations will only make things worse. In order to establish a successful bedtime routine, make sure your child has a sense of control over what happens to him, and always feels respected and heard. It is not hard to give your child what he wants and still get him to bed in a timely manner.
Instead of being eager to put your child to bed, make sure you have your own little pre-bed ritual. Your little ritual may include reading a story, taking a bath, listening to a favorite song and similar. It should be something soothing for both of you.
If you try to force your kid into bed, he will feel like you are trying to get rid of him. If you kid asks for water, food or potty after sending him to bed, he is not making excuses; he wants to be with you.
Start your bedtime ritual at least half an hour earlier before your child’s actual bedtime hour begins. This is important to avoid unnecessary stress or struggle. Respect your child’s sense of time by letting him know that bedtime is in 15 minutes. That way, your kid will have enough time to complete particular activities before going to bed.
An example of a bedtime ritual can include reading a story, snuggling, giving three stuffed animals to kiss, giving a hug and leave the room. Every activity must be done in the same order to provide a sense of security.
Set the Right Atmosphere
Before, your home should be quiet. The lights should be dimmed. It is not recommended to have TVs and video games in your kid’s bedroom. Your child’s bedroom should be only for sleeping. Make sure your kid sleeps on a comfortable mattress. The best mattresses for children are comfortable, hypoallergenic or antibacterial.
Instead of ordering your kid to bed, offer him choices. To give your kid a sense that he is in control, allow him to pick the color of his pajamas or his favorite toy to sleep with. This will help set the right mood for sleeping.
After you have completed your bedtime routine, leave your kid’s room. Make sure you explain you won’t come back unless it’s an emergency. Also, say you won’t talk to your kid after saying goodnight and closing the bedroom door. If your child gets out of the bedroom, gently take him back to bed. Be persistent because your kid will test you.
If you stick to these guidelines, you will make bedtime a time of nurturing, closeness and fun. When done right, going to bed doesn’t have to be something your kid hates. The most important is to involve your children in the entire process and make sure they feel valued and respected. By setting limits, you will gain their respect and build their self-esteem.