Sleep training, sleep consultant, sleep coach, what is all this about anyways?
The joys of parenting are immeasurable. The love that hits you when you bring this tiny little stranger into your life is stupendous and life as you know it, is forever changed.
Unfortunately, babies and children don’t come with instructions (if only!) and we as parents strive to do our best to meet their needs and encourage them to be the best they can be. If you are a new parent or perhaps even a “not so new parent”, you are likely familiar with the challenges that come with trying to get your baby or child to sleep. Wouldn’t it be so wonderful if there was someone that could come in and give you sleep training, coaching, guidance and support and tell you what you need to do to get your child to take great naps and sleep through the night?
The good news is, there is! This is essentially what a sleep consultant does.
How do you know if you need one?
Most families that reach out to a sleep consultant, will do so because they have “tried everything”. They have usually read numerous books on sleep, sought out advice from family and friends and are at their breaking point. Usually feeling exhausted, frustrated and exasperated, they call for help.
There are also many parents that are not in “sleep deprivation mode”, however they may be expecting their first child and want to educate themselves on what they can do from the start to establish a healthy foundation of sleep for their baby.
Achieving healthy sleep is not always an easy task and it is important for families to know that there is help available when it comes to their children’s sleep.
What should you look for in a sleep consultant?
When you are ready to sleep train your child or seek out advice for whatever your challenge may be, you want to make sure you do your research before you decide to hire your sleep consultant.
- Qualifications: You will want to make sure that they are certified with a reputable institution that has extensive experience and training background behind them. There are many certifications out there and it is recommended that you do some homework so that you know the principles, mission and philosophies of that certification.
- Flexibility: A good sleep consultant should be knowledgeable and experienced with various sleep training methodologies and flexible to adhere to your individual parenting beliefs and philosophies.
- Trust: Your consultant should be available to have an initial conversation with you so that you can make sure that you feel comfortable with each other and that you can learn how they work, while they can learn more about you and your situation and parenting style.
- Continuing Education: Ask about additional certifications and continuing education. A good sleep consultant should always be learning. They will usually have additional training in related fields and always be advancing their education and updating their knowledge.
What is the process and what can you expect?
Every sleep consultant works in their own way, however there are some key steps that you can expect.
- Intake Form: You can expect to receive an intake form to fill out so that the consultant can have a clear view of your child’s current sleep habits, schedule and how the parents are handling their sleep.
- A consultant may do an in home visit, or the consult can be done over the phone, email or Skype.
- Customized Sleep Plan: You should receive a customized sleep plan that is specific to your child and your individual circumstances
- Follow Up Support: Your consultant should be available to give you follow up support (that is very key to the success of your sleep plan) which is usually part of the package you purchase.
What costs can I expect to pay?
Costs will vary greatly between sleep consultants. It will also depend on what service you require and how much follow up support you may need. Consults can range as little as $40 for some email exchanges or up to $2000 or more for a whole weekend (including overnights).
The average costs will usually be within the $150-$350 range.
On the other hand, some who have benefited from one would say that the experience with the right sleep consultant is priceless.
Loving, compassionate, passionate, knowledgeable, patient and understanding. These are all words that you should be able to easily use to describe the sleep consultant that you select to take you through the journey of giving your child the Gift of Sleep.