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Self Soothing vs Self Settling - The Sleep Nanny

let's talk about self-soothing. Self soothing  is often a term that people search or people  

assume means negative things and especially  because often we talk about it in relation to  

babies and we think babies can do things by  themselves so let's be clear right from the  

start that self soothing does not mean leaving  babies or young children alone to cry that's not  

what it means self soothing is in fact a form  of self regulation which is an imperative life  

skill it's absolutely vital that we learn self  regulation self soothing really is about being  

able to soothe yourself reassure yourself and help  yourself to feel better and it's yeah it's often  

really as taken as a negative thing and and and  people people do think that in order for a child  

to self soothe and means that you just ignore  them and leave them to it couldn't be further  

from the truth actually you can teach this this  valuable in you know absolutely vital life skill  

and we do teach this to our children and we teach  it to our children in many many other ways so it's  

a shame that it gets so misconstrued and get some  negative press really so I wanna talk a little bit  

about the difference now between self soothing  and actually homing in on self settling because  

self settling is what I talk about a lot more and  is a lot more relevant when we're talking about  

sleep because self settling isn't the same as self  soothing you can soothe yourself be because you're  

upset about a child snatched a toy from you and  you can soothe yourself over that issue that's not  

anything to do with sleep self settling is when  we talk about settling one's self to sleep a lot  

of people don't realize that that is and skill  in other words it's not like breathing we just  

come out knowing how to do that it's not something  we just yet it's a learned skill it means we need  

to be taught it and it means we can unlearn it  too we can figure out how to do it it's a skill  

a lot of people don't realize that particularly  parents and situations where they don't realize  

they've taught their child how to self settle  you know I didn't teach them anything they just  

go ahead they just sleep they did teach them they  just it was all very subconscious you know they  

probably just got into a really simple routine  the child took to that routine it was a good  

match it happened accidentally but they were  still taught and and so it is it absolutely is  

a learned skill Arthur's situations you'll find  you may have done that three times and then you  

have child number four and you think what's going  wrong this time and actually nothing's going wrong  

it's just that the way and the approach and what  you did with your other three children there's a  

little right match for this child and this child  musically different approach and that can catch  

you out and I see that happen quite often so  you know in the same family in the same you  

know the same bloodline and the same parenting  techniques can actually differ from Todd child  

so if your child needs a different approach if  your child needs you to be for instance taking  

a more active approach rather than it being quite  easy and accidental and yeah just a nice routine  

and it works for us maybe you know you have a  child but it's a bit more difficult and and they  

need you need to really hone in on what exactly  is right for that child let's ask this question  

why is it important for babies to learn to self  settle laws parents will go well why what do you  

know what's wrong with me just giving my baby a  cuddle and putting them to sleep or what's wrong  

with me feeding my baby off to sleep why why do  they have to self settle and the answer is they at  

the beginning they don't have to at the beginning  it's fine if you help them along if you rock them  

to sleep or if you fear them to sleep you're  actually you're doing it for them the settling  

bit you're doing it for them beginning that time  but it won't work forever you're not going to  

carry on doing that when they're 7 a so it won't  it won't work it's not sustainable over the long  

term so there comes a point where you have to say  okay well it I've been doing it for my baby now  

I'm gonna start to do it with my baby and help my  baby to do a bit more of this settling thing and  

bit by bit you hand the reins over so that then  eventually your baby's just doing it on their own  

they're doing it and you don't have to do it for  them you could still be there with your baby you  

can still give all the love and attention in the  world but you're not actually doing the settling  

bit for them so that's why it's important it's  absolutely vital there's going to come a point  

where you won't be out of feed your baby to sleep  on rock your toddler to sleep or whatever it may  

be they need to learn this skill and the sooner I  say the sooner the better you can't do this soon  

you know from birth but it's best to not leave  this like going on into toddlerhood and into early  

childhood because it becomes harder a happy itself  harder to then shift and change and and it's just  

tougher for them so it's better to work on this  earlier rather than waiting until those habits  

really ingrained into total hood and Beyond which  leads onto my next question which is when can you  

teach this when can you teach self settling and  they say from 18 weeks some people think it's  

six months it's um you know somewhere in that  ballpark in in the for four to six month period  

and your child will become cognitively ready and  developmentally ready to go through practices  

which will help them be able to develop and master  that skill so it's somewhere in that and obviously  

different children are gonna be different what I  would say to you to be on the safe side is that  

under 18 weeks don't try to actually teach them  this scale just get into some good rhythms just  

get in some good rhythms and practices points you  past the 18 week mark then you can start to up the  

ante on that practice and just take it down a bit  more of a teaching route where you're showing them  

a bit more helping them a little bit more giving  them a bit more direction and handing over the  

reins bit by bit if your little one is six months  or older than I would say yeah absolutely go for  

it and there's no doubt from that point on they're  very malleable and very ready to learn and also  

from six months the things you're doing will  start to ingrain a lot more so if they're not  

long-term sustainable things then you definitely  want to shift them onto a path that's going to  

be more long-term sustainable so if you're at the  six-month mark then absolutely it's a great time  

anyone who's way past that thinking on gosh they  missed the window it's never too late it's never  

too late it just can be a little tougher and if  there are habits deeply ingrained and that they're  

not going to want to let go of but there are loads  of things you can do to help a little one to shift  

onto a healthier and more conducive path that's  gonna help them become a really efficient skilled  

sleeper and the last thing I really want to talk  about is the sleep nanny ethos around the whole  

self settling thing our ethos is not in any way  about leaving little ones to cry and I say that  

all the time we are wired as mothers and as  parents generally we are wired to respond to  

cries and it's right to respond to cries we need  to meet baby and young children's needs we do also  

need to differentiate needs and wants because  sometimes a want isn't the best thing for the  

child the needs need to be met but it might not be  a need it's like feeding if they need feeding feed  

them but if they don't actually need feeding they  just warrant feeding that might not be the best  

thing so differentiating the needs and the wants  is really important as well and and the other  

thing is I think is really important to not try  to push a baby or young child into doing things  

they're not ready to do and that's another part  of our resource of sleep nanny what we do want  

to do is we want to squeeze the best out of them  we want to get them to their personal best we want  

to get them doing the best they can do just like  we want for our children throughout life you know  

throughout their education and and their lives  we want them to be giving it their best and we  

what we don't want to be doing is suffering with  parental sleep deprivation and you know child's  

development and everything else being hindered  health and well-being everything hindered by  

sleep deprivation when they could be sleeping  better that's the key when they could be sleeping  

better let's help them to sleep better if they're  doing their absolute best for their developmental  

readiness their age their personality and  everything else if that is the best they can do  

that's the best we can expect and that's great but  it's about not settling or suffering for less when  

things could be improved and that's what we're all  about here it's neat money I hope this has been  

helpful for you and I hope that it clears up and  gives you a better understanding on self soothing  

and self settling why it's important and how you  can actually go about implementing some of that  

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