Parents are pushed to think that they should train their children to sleep. We are proving that children will naturally choose to sleep - not just fall asleep - if they feel safe and are clear on expectations.
Sleep is the most vulnerable time for a child. When children do not feel safe, they will not sleep. Without the faculty yet for reasoning or logic, a child builds an understanding between what is "known and safe", or what is "unknown and therefore potentially unsafe". For example, when mom rocks them, or when dad sleeps in the same bed as them, they know from past experience that in this situation they were safe. Once these understandings of what "safe" looks like become entrenched, it becomes very difficult to remove these actions without making a child feel their protection or safety is also being removed. This can result in unsustainable habits and patterns that keep parents tied to the room, needing to wake up multiple times at night and struggling to put their children to bed.
With this understanding, we approach sleep in a very different way. Rather than trying to put a bandaid on the problem by simply reinforcing a new pattern (for example, CIO reinforces that even when a child cries, their parent will not respond to them, so they need to deal with things by themselves), we address the root cause: trust. If you can teach a child that to trust in the sleep process, they do not need to latch onto one rigid habit to feel safe.
Our core focus throughout the Sleep School program is to build up this trust. We build trust in the sleep process and the caregiver. We teach children to feel safe without the presence of their parents. We teach children how to feel safe enough to sleep independently and coach them to be good sleepers.
By building up trust in the sleep process, it makes it much easier to navigate any future sleep regressions or disruptions. Because we are not simply teaching them to rely on a pattern or habit (that can be easily disrupted), our process retain the flexibility for children to co-sleep, contact nap, breastfeed, have multiple caregivers and retain a more flexible and easy schedule.
Miss Megan is a founding member of Batelle and a sleep and early childhood developmental expert, with 20+ years working with children. She is the creator of the methodologies underpinning Batelle's Sleep solution. She has worked with hundreds of families, including twins, multiples, children with sensory processing disorders and children with learning disabilities.