As part of my continued certification with the International Maternity Institute as a child sleep consultant, it is now required for us professionals to include emotional wellbeing as one of the foundations of healthy sleep habits. According to the Mental Health Foundation, “the emotional wellbeing of children is just as important as their physical health.”
Those of you who have worked with me know the level of commitment that is required for your child to be on a predictable yet flexible schedule, having regular naps, proper nutrition, sleep environment that supports good sleep, how light/dark cycle controls your child’s body clock and having consistent bedtime routine. These are the basic foundations that need to be established before introducing a behavioral approach (timed checks, gradual withdrawal, pick up/put down etc) to fix the problem.
Moving forward, I will now include the emotional well-being of the child and the parent, on top of the elements of foundation mentioned above. Why is this important? It addresses the emotions of the child – fear and anxiety – and even the parents’ emotions around teaching your child to sleep better. This helps parents to understand better how the child is feeling through the sleep work process and can better support the child’s big emotions. This approach allows the child to express his emotions safely and fully, in a way that is completely supported. As a result, it enhances the parent-child attachment with relation to sleep.
I am so excited to apply this approach to my sleep work with clients and I am confident that many parents would be more open to this approach to sleep work process. If you would like to learn more about the importance of emotional well-being in sleep consulting, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.