When you have reached breaking point and decide to get some professional help, it can be an overwhelming task trying to find someone. Some people go on recommendation or the first internet hit whilst others trawl through websites. How do you decide? This post is a guide to help parents make the right choice for them. We may not be the right consultants for you but we hope it will empower you to find the right fit.
The reality is, sleep training is a completely unregulated profession which is pretty scary. You do not need to have any experience, training, DBS, first aid or insurance which is shocking. There is no regulatory body or standards to adhere too. Therefore we would recommend that you do a bit of research to find out who you are going to work with. In our opinion, a good sleep practioner has years of childcare experience as well as good quality training. They will set good professional standards and have a DBS check, first aid, and are insured. If someone says there are certified or registered sleep consultant/coach you should question that. With the lack of regulatory body there to set standards and hand out qualifications, you may be certified by the course you have attended but you are not certified in the same way a doctor or accountant may be.
One of the reasons parents struggle with their child’s sleep is down to the lack of information about how sleep works. We wish there was a magic spray that would help your little one to sleep but mostly it comes down to science. A good consultant will explain how sleep works and why the behavioural problem is in place. If you understand the mechanics of sleep and how we sleep you can already understand why your child is unsettled.
It can seem like there are many different sleep training methods but in reality there are just a few that are evidence and research based. They are called by different names and they have different interpretations but we find that by explaining the core methods, you can make an informed decision and then we tailor that to fit your family. There is not a one size fits all approach so it is important that you work with someone who gives you choices and explains the pros and cons of them. You should not feel pushed into choosing one over the other. As a sleep professional we should be completely neutral, we are not asking you to prescribe to our style of parenting but to find your own ideal sleep scenario.
Sleep consultants work with behavioural sleep problems. Before any sleep training is undertaken you should be filling in some sleep history notes to insure that this is just that. A child in discomfort will not sleep and sleep training isn’t going to solve that. All good professionals should use a holistic approach. You need to understand what is going on in the day in order to improve the nights. Sometimes there are changes that need to be implemented before you work on the sleep problem.
Sleep training is a journey and often a tough one. It can feel overwhelming and at sometimes an uphill battle and that is the benefit of using professional help. We are not doing it for you or telling you something that you can’t find online but giving you the support and confidence to move forwards and all get the rest you deserve. If you are unsure if this is the right course for you ask to speak to someone first. Any good consultant would be happy to have a quick chat to discuss how they work and to give you an initial feeling if they will be a good match.
A successful outcome is a collaboration of our knowledge and experience with the fact that you know your child best.