Self settling or self soothing comes up every day in my practice. It is a key component in achieving great sleep. However, it is often misconstrued and seen as a negative thing by those who assume it requires unresponsive parenting to achieve self setting.
If you remember the movie Meet The Folkers, you will have seen how ‘Grandpa Jack’ used Ferberizing as a technique to teach ‘Little Jack’ to learn how to self soothe. I think this movie brought up a lot of questions over how loving this was and whether a child would actually learn that their cries are unheard.
Now, the movie is a comedy so lets not take it too seriously and let’s also remember that the child was responded to, but Grandpa Jack had certain rules around how and when what responses were allowed. We also know that the grandpa had positive intentions.
In the real world we see a whole bunch of variations on this approach. Some are safe and suitable in the right circumstances.
If a child learns that no-one comes when they cry, they stop crying – true. This happens in orphanages and people are shocked to walk into a room full of babies but it’s so quiet.
As human beings we don’t continue with behaviours that don’t serve us, so they don’t cry if it isn’t getting a response. This is terribly sad and you can understand why a baby would not have a healthy attachment with their parent if they employed this approach.
This approach is actually called extinction or ‘Cry It Out’. It may be effective but at what cost? This is NOT something we advocate here at The Sleep Nanny®
So when we talk about ‘sleep training’ and ‘self soothing’, all those who hold negative connotations will automatically attack this with assumptions that it must involve ignoring a baby’s needs – It most certainly doesn’t with our ethos at The Sleep Nanny®
We advocate sleep training and teaching self settling with a secure attachment focus. We ensure a baby or child is always responded to and their needs are always met. We want to teach a baby or child to happily self settle and here’s why…
Self settling is an essential but learned skill. In other words, it has to be taught. Those who feel they didn’t do any teaching of this skill will have done without realising it and probably had a pretty easy going, adaptable child. Something as simple as a routine can teach the skill with some personality types.
For others it is a bigger task. Super alert temperaments require a lot more support in learning how to self settle and we are not given the knowledge of how to do this as parents.
There is not one simple answer for ‘how’ to teach a child to self settle. If there were, we would all know it because it would be very well publicised. But if you acquire the knowledge for how to work out a suitable way for your own unique circumstances, that’s got to be powerful knowledge!
Why is self settling so important? Why can’t I just settle my child to sleep until she doesn’t want me to anymore?
This is a great question.
We explored this question in our monthly members club: Empowered Parenting. We also looked at 5 techniques for teaching your child to self settle happily while maintaining a secure attachment and we wanted to share some of that session with you as a special episode.
We hope you enjoy this and if you want to become a member and get in on these LIVE training sessions each month, it’s just £20 per month and you can sign up below.