The most important rule for parents when deciding to sleep train is remaining consistent. This includes the bedtime routine, where their Little Darling sleeps or even what the consequences would be for older children if they left their room.
Consistency is absolutely essential to gain regular and good quality sleep, I can not stress this enough.
However, there are times in life that other things out of your control play a factor. This can be special occasions, family gatherings or even emergencies. These things can call for an exception to be made for your Little Darling to stay up past their usual bedtime or miss a nap.
When can exceptions be made then? Well, I would say, “As rarely as possible, but as often as is absolutely necessary.”
In all honesty, if you are visiting family or friends and you allow your child to stay up late in order to extend your visit, the chances are that they are going to be rather a handful the day after. Therefore, I challenge you in these instances to ask yourself this question:
“Is this exception worth the exchange of potentially challenging child tomorrow?”
I also think it is really important to take into consideration how well your child adapts to changes in their routine/schedule. Some children can find even the slightest of changes a challenge.
I truly don’t want to sound like I am condemning parents to a lifetime of boredom and monotony. It is important to have new experiences within childhood and so yes, sometimes exceptions should be made. I would just ask you to evaluate the costs vs the benefits when making that choice.
I would also warn against making changes to routines and schedules if you are just starting the sleep training process. If you have only this week for example, started to make changes to your child’s sleep, then I would not say this is the perfect time to take a family trip.
Once you have a month of really good, quality nights under your belt then you can start playing around with the rules every so often.
Sometimes instead of breaking the ‘rules’, you could try simply bending then instead.
If you are visiting family when your baby is due their nap, maybe consider taking along a travel cot or their pram to allow them a chance to sleep independently.
If you have to drive to where you need to go, you could plan the journey around nap times.
I realise that I may be coming across as authoritative but the worst enemy of sleep is overtiredness. Children that are overtired find it more difficult to fall asleep, which then leads to a poor night, which leads to even more overtiredness and before you know it, you are in a vicious cycle of poor sleep.
You are the one that can make the choice whether to break/bend the rules or not. If you feel that your child can handle it, why not give it a try?
If you think your child would struggle with the changes, if possible, play it safe.
As your Little Darling gets older, you will find that they may be more adaptable to changes in the schedule, but teaching them to be super star sleepers in these early years will go a long way towards that goal.
DO YOU HAVE 15 MINUTES TO CHAT ABOUT HOW WE CAN SOLVE SLEEP? I'VE GOT A SPOT TO TALK WITH YOU! FIND A TIME HERE: