The decision to hire a child sleep consultant can be difficult. Many factors need to be considered, and it may seem like you don’t know where to start. You probably feel overwhelmed by the amount of information out there on the subject. This blog post discusses with you a few things to consider before you decide to hire a child sleep consultant.
1. What do you need help with?
The first thing to consider is what your problem or issue is. This will determine which type of sleep consultant you should hire. If, for example, the only issue identified up until now are some night wakings, then it might be best to hire a sleep consultant who specializes in that area.
A specialist would know more about why this happens and how to address it effectively than someone who doesn’t focus on resolving specific issues like night waking. There are also consultants specializing in helping families get ready for a baby’s arrival (coming home from the hospital), nap transitions, etc.
2. How is your child sleeping right now?
Before hiring a consultant, it’s essential to know how your baby or toddler sleeps at the moment. If they are not yet sleeping through the night(for instance, waking up once every night), you need to understand if this sleep pattern will be difficult to change in time for them to go into daycare/school.
It may also be that there are other aspects of their behavior that indicate that they don’t get enough daytime sleep and hence would benefit from more consistent napping, so maybe focusing on improving nap transitions might make more sense? A good sleep consultant will always ask about current sleep patterns when discussing potential solutions with parents, so having some information can help understand what direction should be taken next.
3. How long has the sleep issue been going on?
Some issues resolve themselves by simply waiting a bit longer. For instance, some children struggle with transitioning from a crib to a bed and may be up several times every night for months before eventually sleeping through the night in their bed. If your child is not yet school-aged, it’s probably best to wait a few more months or at least discuss this option further with your consultant as they might have other ideas that would help you achieve better results within less time than just doing nothing. It is very important to consider before deciding to hire a child sleep consultant.
4. Is there a history of sleep problems in your family?
If you know that other family members struggled with sleeping, this may be just how life goes for all children. We are, after all, programmed to wake up during the night and feed, so if both mom and dad have had issues falling back asleep after nighttime wakings, then chances are high children will too.
In these cases, maybe hiring an external consultant is not necessary as it would be better to focus on becoming aware of our responses around bedtime (what we say, do, etc.) rather than that from outside trying to change behaviors which might only make things worse!
5. Are you trying to achieve a particular sleep goal, and if so, why?
Hiring professional help is great when we have clear goals in mind. It’s essential, however, not to get too attached to the outcome but instead, focus on how it feels getting there. If your child sleeps through the night often (meaning they don’t wake up more than once every night) does that mean their sleep will be perfect from now on or do some occasional waking after midnight happen even for children who are sleeping 12 hours straight at night?
6. Do you have a willing partner in your sleep goals?
It’s no use hiring an external consultant without support from family or friends. Asking for help is great when we are at our wit’s end and want to feel better about parenting in general, but if this was the case, why not just go straight to a doctor who can prescribe medication right away rather than going through all that trouble of finding someone who will work with us when maybe what we need is more rest?
Hiring a child sleep consultant takes time, effort, and money! So both parents and children must be ready for change. But, make sure to ask yourself these things first.