“Sleep training”. I don’t like the term. It sounds like we’re making our kids do something they don’t want to, like we’re forcing them to sleep. I prefer the term “sleep support”. We’re teaching them a skill they yet don’t have. Just like we teach them to use the potty and dress themselves, they also need to learn to put themselves to sleep.
While some people frown upon the idea, here are some reasons why sleep training is good for your child and you:
- Children need sleep to grow. In fact, it’s how they do most of their growing. And just like adults, good sleep helps healing and improves their immune system.
- Lack of sleep in parents increases the risk of depression, and in new moms, the risk of postpartum depression. It also puts a strain in relationships between couples.
- The amount of sleep your child gets sets the tone for the rest of the day (and the following day). It’s a snowball. A tired kid is a cranky kid. Try to put an overtired kid who hasn’t had a nap to bed, and you’ll be surprised by how hard it is for her to sleep. Chances are she’ll be so restless she won’t get enough sleep. Which drags into the next day. You get the idea.
- When you’re well rested, you have more energy for your kids. More energy equals more quality time. I personally find that I’m more willing to engage in games with my girls if I’m well rested. On days when I’m tired, you can find me curled up in a corner hugging a cup of coffee.
So just remember: Teaching your little one to sleep only means you’re a great parent. You’re on the right path to help them and bring back your sanity, quit coffee and resume date night. In all seriousness, your kids will be happy. You’ll be happy.