Do Step 1 of the Sleep Lady Shuffle
The time has come to teach your kid how to go to sleep (and back to sleep) ALL BY HERSELF! Yipee!
Before you start the Sleep Lady Shuffle I recommend you check out the previous challenges and educate yourself about your kid's sleep habits, keep a sleep log , create a sleep plan and check off your sleep coaching checklist. Once you've done all that, it's time to get your kid's sleep on!
The Sleep Lady Shuffle is broken down into three night increments, so Step 1 lasts for three nights. Are you ready to help your kid rely on herself, and not YOU, to put herself to sleep? Good! Let's do it!
Here's how to do Step 1:
- Do your soothing bedtime routine.
- Close the bedroom door.
- Put your kid to bed "drowsy but awake." In other words, you don't want to use your former sleep crutches (rocking, lying down with your kid, nursing etc.) to get your kid out cold before she gets into bed.
- Grab a comfy chair (you might be in it for quite a while at first!) and sit right next to your kid's bed or crib. This is your "Shuffle Position."
- Try not to get into a power struggle over your kid lying down or staying in bed; you won't win! If she's sitting or standing in the crib, pat the mattress and encourage her to lie down. Try to stay calm and say things like "Shh shh", "Night night", "It's OK, lay down." If your kid is in a bed and gets out, pat the mattress and encourage her to get back in. You don't want to chase her around and put her in bed. Stay calm and by your child's bed and continue to encourage her to come lie in her bed.
- You can stroke, pat, rub, shh-shh or sing to your child intermittently. But try not to do it constantly until she falls asleep or it will become her new sleep crutch. Stop the stroking, shh-shh or singing when she's starting to fall asleep. (Some kids don't like to be touched as they fall asleep, follow your instincts and her cues.)
- If your kid becomes hysterical you can pick your baby up or hug your child to calm her. BUT...Stay in her room, don't walk around the house, and try not to let her fall asleep in your arms.
- When she's calm, kiss her, put her back in the crib or bed and sit near her in the chair. Make soothing sounds and pat or stroke her as outlined above.
- Stay by your kid's crib/bed until she's sound asleep at bedtime. If you rush out of the room the second she closes her eyes, she'll wake up, notice you're gone, be upset and you'll have to start all over again. Particularly if your kid is a year old or older. When she's fast asleep (ahhh...), you can leave.
- When your kid wakes up in the night, return to your "Shuffle Position" (yes, even if it means getting out of bed at 2am!) and follow the above steps each time she wakes until "morning time" at 6am. It's tough, but it'll be worth it in the end!
- Do this for three nights in a row, keeping your chair in the same "Shuffle Position." By the end of the three nights you should start to learn what works to soothe your kid (singing, patting) and what makes matters worse. Your kid may even begin to develop her own self-soothing methods! And that's what this is all about!
- If you have a toddler or older kid, review your kid's sleep manners chart and dole out praise and stickers first thing in the morning. Make sure you have her attention (no T.V.) and make a big deal out of giving her the stickers or stars for her chart. Focus on what she did right and the behaviors you want to see more of!
- Control the touch! Don't let your kid fall asleep grasping your finger or hand, for example, because she will wake up when you move and you'll have to start all over again. Pat or stroke a different part of her body or the top of her hand. If you have an older kid and she keeps putting his leg on yours or persists in trying to touch you, scoot your chair away. You can still lean in to touch or reassure her.
- If you have a toddler or older kid make sure to review the sleep plan and talk about the sticker chart before hitting the hay.
- If you pick your kid up because she's hysterical and she immediately calms down, you've been had. Instead of YOU training her to sleep, SHE trained you to pick her up! Wait a little longer next time. Trust your instincts and your knowledge of your child. You will know within a night or two whether picking her up helps or further stimulates her. If your kid cries during this process, remind yourself that you're not hurting her in any way. Your child needs to learn the essential life skill of putting herself to sleep and you are there to support her through it!
Do you think this is going to work? Have you tried sleep coaching methods before? Are you worried, nervous, concerned about starting? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
More sleep advice articles:
- Commit to Getting Your Kid to Sleep
- Educate Yourself About Your Childs Sleep
- Start a Sleep Log
- The Importance of Consistency When Sleep Coaching
- Create a Soothing Bedtime Routine
- Create a Sleep-Friendly Bedroom
- The Importance of Putting Your Kid to Sleep "Drowsy but Awake"
- The Sleep Lady Shuffle: What It Is and How To Do It
- Do Step 2 of the Sleep Lady Shuffle
- Do Step 3 of the Sleep Lady Shuffle
- Be Your Kid's Nap Coach
- Check Off Your Sleep Coaching Checklist
- Create a Solid Sleep Plan
- Nightmares and Night Terrors (And How to Tell the Difference)
- Potty Training and Sleep
- End Early Rising
- The Sleep Lady on Transitioning Your Kid from a Crib to a Big-Kid Bed
- Ending Bedtime Stalling