The Sleep Lady Shuffle: What It Is and How to Do It!
In the first months of baby's life, we concentrate on soothing techniques and establishing some basic rhythms to help babies learn to sleep. But from about six months on kids can begin to learn to sleep on their own without us interfering and we can begin sleep coaching. A central aspect of sleep coaching is the "Sleep Lady Shuffle." Think of it as a kind of weaning for sleep.
The Shuffle varies subtly depending on how old your kid is, but it goes something like this:
- You, your spouse or partner, are going to start out seated by your child's crib or bed, where you can easily comfort and reassure her with your touch and words.
- Every three days, you are going to move a little farther away. First across the room, then to the doorway, then right out in the hall, but you will still be able to soothe her. Sometimes I advise parents to sleep on a mattress or sleeping bag in the baby's room for a few nights, as a reassuring prelude. Sometimes if a baby is responding very quickly to the changes, I have the parent move through the Shuffle more rapidly.
- Finally you will be able to leave her alone for five minutes at a time so she can sleep on her own. This may sound like a huge leap for you, but it's not so huge for your kid. If you follow the shuffle, you've already given her nearly two weeks to prepare for this big moment!
- Stay with your child until she goes to sleep or back to sleep completely at which point you may leave the room.
- Convey a sleepy-time message: Shh-shh or short soft singing is better then a full dialogue.
- You may pick your child up to calm her down but do not hold her until she's asleep.
- Whatever physical and verbal reassurance you offer do not do it constantly or it will become a new sleep crutch!
- Respond to all wakenings in the night and resume your Shuffle position.
Do you think this will work? Are you committed to sitting by her side until she dozes off? Have you ever tried to let your kid cry it out? What happened? 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"
- Do Step 1 of the Sleep Lady Shuffle
- 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