Resilience is such a buzzword these days. So is SLEEP TRAINING.
When we hear "Resilience" our spirits are lifted and we soar with the hope of tackling insurmountable obstacles and coming out on the other side victorious.
Teaching a young child to sleep through the night? Well ... that gets people's blood pressure soaring. "They'll learn it eventually. No child grows up and goes to Uni while still bed-sharing at night." For some their spirits plummet. "What if I help my son learn this new skill but at the end of it all he hates me and our relationship is broken?" For some their spirits trudge on determined to battle their offspring in a battle of the wills. But "Resilience" ... yes ... I can help my child learn resilience. Where do I start?
First of all, YOU need to be resilient. You can do this by having a chat with yourself and tackling your fears. What do I think might happen if I help my child get the sleep that I know his body needs to grow and thrive? Are these concerns valid? If so, how do I address them? If not, how do I let them go? Begin speaking "true statements" to yourself, allowing logic to overpower your emotional response to helping your child learn this important new skill of falling to sleep unassisted. You have a strong, loving relationship with your child. You adore each other and you always intend to do whats best for your child even when he or she cannot see the big picture like you can. YOU can do hard things and come out on the other end so proud of your child!
Now you need to help your child to prepare for a new way forward. Build a strong foundation of laying down the rules around night time sleep. Chat about it at dinner and bath with excitement. Our clients have a simple laminated poster to help them with these discussions. Role play with your child's toys and allow them to be the parent in the scenario. Your child will find comfort in clearly understanding what you expect from him and what he can expect from you when it comes to night-time parenting. Your child may not be convinced that he or she can do it. But as long as it's developmentally appropriate, you know your child can do hard things and come out on the other side ok.
Your child is not naughty if he resists this learning process. He will likely go through a whole gamut of emotions. This is entirely ok and appropriate. Shifting away from old habits is hard and not always welcome. Allow your child to feel those emotions in the moment. This is all a part of learning the life skill of Resilience. In the moment, life circumstances may feel "too hard" but then you persist, work hard, figure it out and come out on the other side victorious.
Mentally prepare yourself. You will need to be consistent in the steps you've explained to your child of what they can expect from you. They will be comforted when you hold up your end of the bargain. They will test this to make sure you follow through.
Ultimately, you cannot achieve sleep for them. You need to give them the space to learn to achieve this hard new thing on their own. But they will be certain of three things:
1. You are never very far away.
2. They somehow need to do this on their own.
3. While it may feel too hard or like the end of the world, when your child gets to the other side in the morning, the sun is shining brightly and you love your child and are so incredibly proud of what they can accomplish on their own.
Your child can do hard things. YOU can do hard things.
Need help with creating a plan forward with your young child 18 months - 5 years old? I can help. Book a Coaching Call.