Too many of the parents that I speak to start the conversation with this exact phrase. I am here to tell you that, hell no! It is not and has never been your fault.
You really have done nothing wrong. The minefield that is sleep and the copious amounts of advice available is what I think is the problem, personally.
I have been working in this field for the last ten and a half years and year upon year the statistics rise. When I started as a sleep practitioner it was around 25% of children that had sleeping difficulties this has risen to 50%. (Bang goes the theory that children grow out of sleep issues; I have challenged a few people on this!).
Every conversion that I have with parents they feel they have tried everything; I have no doubt in my mind that you have tried everything that you have read.
If you google sleep help for kids and you are met with an absolute obscene number of tips, methods, strategies, and camps. (Too many opinions!).
You mustn’t do this (insert method) as your child will be emotionally damaged forever
You must do these (insert method) as it is quick and there will be no harm to your child. That goes for every single method in the book.
No wonder it is confusing and overwhelming.
What is missing from the tips and strategies is the actual family the child, the parent, the caregiver.
What about them?
What about their views?
What about their personality?
How tired they are, right now?
What can each parent manage and achieve at that given moment?
What can the child manage and achieve at that given moment?
There always must be a realistic starting point! Always.
There is too much scaremongering in sleep advice, way too much! Therefore, people feel guilt and then blame themselves for a sleep issue. These sleep issues can leave you feeling like you can’t see the woods for the trees. That is not ok, not by any means!
There are 1000 ways that a sleep issue can become overwhelming. It almost always creeps in overtime and before you know it, it feels there is no way out. There almost always is.
Then you try find someone to help, this can often cost the earth or be unavailable to you because of course sleep services are a postcode lottery.
There is so much emphasis on the strategy and not nearly enough on basic sleep science this often leads to families not feeling confident with the sleep strategy which can then often lead to it failing adding to the already enormous guilt that you feel.
Anyway, I’m on a bit of a rant here, as a practicing sleep practitioner the number one starting point should always be that a parent feels empowered with knowledge about sleep for their child and themselves- It’s essential in making positive changes.
We all need to achieve something positive to start with this gathers momentum and that is exactly my role. You must feel comfortable and do it your way! Not mine!
So, for any parents questioning themselves I really want you to know you really have done nothing wrong. Sleep is a basic human need the same way as water and nutrition is. We all do what we have to do to get the sleep that we need to be able to function with everyday life.
If you are ready to make positive changes that FEEL right to YOU, please get in touch.