8 of the Most Common Sleep Training Challenges and How to Get Through Them

Sleep training is no walk in the park. It may be our specialty at Sleep Shore, but there’s a reason we had to get certified. It’s HARD work, but so worth it! Whether you have a baby or toddler, it’s never too late to start! Sleep training can drastically improve your quality of life. Today, I’ll be discussing 8 common sleep training challenges and how to navigate them! 

Sleep training challenges

8 of the Most Common Sleep Training Challenges and How to Get Through Them

Sleep training is so rewarding, but it’s a journey. There are many sleep training methods, challenges, and mistakes that are easy to make as parents. Sleep training isn’t one-size-fits-all, but I’m sharing tips to get through some of the most common sleep training challenges. 

Sleep regressions

Sleep regressions are extremely challenging- but so normal. You can expect sleep regressions around 4 months, 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, 2 years, and 3 years old. Although HARD, they’re to be expected. Sleep regressions are a result of your child developing, learning, and growing, so even though they’re called “regression”, you can think of them as more of a “progression”! They may be frustrating, but it’s a sign that your little one is learning and growing, which is all we can ask for as parents. They typically only last for a few weeks, and then you can get your sleep training back on track. Hang in there and read my blog posts on sleep regressions for more tips- you’ve got this! 

Difficulty self-soothing

This is one of the most common sleep training challenges and often a major reason why parents want to sleep train their children. Independent soothing buys you back SO much time as a parent- time that you need to recharge and show up as your best self! If your little one is having trouble self-soothing, stick with the sleep training. Once they’re developmentally ready to begin self-soothing, it may take time for them to get the hang of it, but they will eventually. Whatever method you choose for sleep training, make sure to stick with it. Pro tip- this white noise machine makes a HUGE difference when it comes to self-soothing. 

8 of the most common sleep training challenges

Naptime feels impossible

Maybe bedtime has become easier, but naps feel impossible to get under control. Whether you’re trying to get your baby to take longer naps, manage nap transitions, or drop to one nap, it can get confusing. The key with naps is to get the timing right and stay consistent with your routine. If you’re struggling with nap math, pick up one of my schedule notepads! It helps keep track of naps, feedings, and sleep schedules all in one place. 

The timing is out of whack

Sleep training challenges like super early waketimes or falling asleep way too late can be REALLY draining. Hang in there, I know it’s hard! Check out my blog post on wake windows by age to help get into the groove of things and work with their natural biological clocks. 

Sleep training challenges: illness

Illness 

Having a sick kid seriously throws off sleep training. Maybe you feel like you’ve made so much progress, you’re almost there…. Boom. Suddenly, your kid gets sick and all progress feels lost. Hang in there- sleep training when your baby is sick is tough stuff. Meet them where they’re at and refocus on sleep training when they’re feeling better. 

Too tired or not tired enough

When your kid is under-tired or overtired, getting them to fall asleep is extra challenging. Wake times, when to nap- it all gets a little tricky. Here’s a chart that can help simplify the timing to make it easier for your little one to get adequate sleep!

Sleep training challenges: wake time chart

Inconsistency

Sleep training is not for the weak. It’s HARD to stick with it and have the patience to follow through every night. Consistency is one of the most important parts of sleep training, which is why it’s commonly a challenge (for parents especially). It’s easy to get discouraged when it feels like sleep training isn’t working, but trust me when I say to stick with it. Inconsistency will drag out the process and confuse your little one, making sleep training even harder. The days that sleep training challenges feel extra tough are the days that matter most! 

When life happens

Having a big move, sudden change, new sibling, etc.… Life happens. These disruptions can make sleep training extra challenging. Planning is key here- it may be a good time to plan ahead before you start sleep training to make sure the timing feels right. Like I said above, consistency is key. If there’s something big happening that may rock the boat, it may be a good idea to hold off on sleep training until everything is back to normal. 

How to Make Bedtime Easier 

Sleep training challenges are inevitable to some extent- one way or another, your child will find a way to make it feel difficult (toddler moms especially, you know what I mean!). There are, however, some tips to make bedtime feel MUCH easier. These steps can make sleep training less challenging and hopefully reduce the bedtime resistance you may be experiencing. 

Create a solid bedtime routine 

Studies show that bedtime routines are SO beneficial to children. They provide comfort, security, and will help to establish something that your little one can come back to every night. It provides a sense of ownership and control and will help your child develop positive sleep habits. Develop a bedtime routine with your little one that will help them relax and wind down before bedtime. If you have a toddler, there are tons of bedtime activities for preschoolers that will help set them up for a good night’s sleep. 

Sleep training challenges and ways to get through them

Eliminate screens at least 30 minutes before bed

Screentime messes with our circadian rhythms big time. If you want your little one to be wired and unable to fall asleep, give them a screen. The blue light messes with their sleep cycle, making it nearly impossible for them to feel sleepy and relaxed. Blue light is a huge contributing factor to sleep training challenges, and removing this obstacle will make your life so much easier! 

Create an optimal sleep environment

This is so key! We all feel better when our sleep environment is peaceful- our kids are no different. Make sure the room is dark, set to a temperature of 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit, and quiet with white noise in the background. There are so many baby sleep products and toddler sleep products that are conducive to solid sleep! 

Make a reward chart for toddlers 

At the end of the day, your toddler wants to be told that they’re doing an amazing job! It can be exciting for them to keep track of bedtimes that go well. If you’re struggling with sleep training challenges, a sleep routine chart with rules that can be checked off can be super beneficial for toddlers. Click here to download my sleep routine chart and sleep rules– these are a game-changer for toddlers! 

Patience and consistency

The most important part of combatting sleep training challenges is to stay consistent. Inconsistency leads to confusion and ineffectiveness. Stay patient and find comfort in the fact that while it may be hard now, your life will become so much easier when you and your little one are both able to feel well-rested. 

Sleep training challenges- how to stay consistent

Sleep Training Service Options

There are so many ways you can sleep train your little one! At the end of the day, each child is different and has unique sleep needs. Sleep training looks different for everyone! 

Following guides or ebooks 

There are tons of helpful guides and resources that can help you get the hang of things as a sleep-training parent. I have tons of digital sleep guides for parents- from my Newborn Digital Course to my Toddler Sleep Guide, there’s a resource for whatever your sleep concerns may be! 

One-on-one consultation 

One-on-one sleep training is personalized sleep training tailored specifically to YOUR child’s needs. Sometimes, cracking the code to your little one’s sleep issues can feel impossible. Having outside help to look at your unique child through a professional lens can make a world of difference. I offer several one-on-one sleep support packages to help your family get the sleep that you deserve: 

  • Newborn Sleep SupportWhether you’re pregnant looking to establish a healthy sleep foundation, or your newborn is struggling to sleep- I’m here to help. My Newborn Sleep Package comes with a 30-minute recorded call with me, my Newborn Sleep Guide, 2 15-minute sleep calls, and optional add-on text support. 
  • Infant Sleep SupportWhether your baby is struggling with daytime sleep, nighttime sleep, or BOTH, I’ve got your back. My Infant Sleep Packages offer phone consultations, a customized sleep plan, a private sleep log, a future look sleep plan, and access to a private Facebook support group. Choose which plan makes the most sense for your little one! 
  • Toddler Sleep SupportHave a toddler who you just can’t get to sleep? It’s time for you both to enjoy a consistent sleep schedule! My Toddler Sleep Package includes 3 phone consults, a customized sleep plan, a private sleep log, a future look sleep plan, and access to a private Facebook support group. 

In-person sleep training 

There are many benefits to in-home sleep training. In-person sleep training can provide extra support and guidance from a unique outside professional perspective. An extra set of eyes can not only help figure out the root causes of sleep issues- it can help create a plan for long-term sleep success. 

I offer in-home sleep training in Boston and the surrounding areas such as Brookline, Weston, Newton, Winchester, Sudbury, Concord, and Natick. My team is located in Traverse City and Clare, Michigan to help provide in-home sleep training near them. We’ve helped hundreds of families through different sleep training services and methods- it’s our passion! Contact me here if you’re interested in learning more about our in-home sleep training! 

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