Certified Gentle Sleep Coaching
What is Sleep Coaching?
Using evidenced based, gentle sleep techniques, Shelley will expertly assess your child’s sleep situation to establish a plan, and then support you during the process as you gently shape your child’s sleep.
Shelley works with families with children aged 4 months to 6 years developing personalized sleep plans.
If you are experiencing any of the following with your child, Shelley can help:
- Frequent waking throughout the night and during naps
- Worry that your child is not getting enough sleep
- Your child often seems fussy and tired
- Your child has difficulty falling asleep
- You child is an early riser
The gentle approach used by Shelley respects all parenting styles and is always non-judgmental. Shelley strongly believes in making informed choices about everything related to parenting and sleep coaching is no different.
Learning sleep skills is critical regardless of your parenting choices. If you are an attachment parent, co-sleeping or breastfeeding, Shelley will work with you to find a sleep plan that works with your family.
Shelley knows there is always more than one way to achieve desired results and partners with parents to turn sleepless nights into healthy sleep habits.
FREE 15 Minute Sleep Consultation
Schedule a free 15 minute consult with Shelley right now to see if your child could benefit from improved sleep habits.
Shelley’s philosophy about sleep coaching
Shelley has a deep respect for the child-parent relationship, goals, and parenting styles of each family. As a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, Shelley has completed extensive training, passed an exam and completed clinical supervision with The Sleep Lady™ Kim West.
It is Shelley’s belief that all children can learn how to sleep (yes, believe it or not, sleep is a skill!) with a gradual and gentle approach. Shelley promises that she will never recommend controversial cry it out methods.
Since 1 in 4 babies and young children struggle with sleep, it is Shelley’s job to partner with parents to turn sleepless nights into healthy sleep habits through confidence and empowerment.
When is the best time to start Sleep Coaching?
It is important for parents to understand that there are certain times in their child’s development that it is unadvisable to sleep coaching/ sleep train. It is a relatively small window, and it doesn’t mean that you need to do nothing. Formal coaching and behaviour shaping can start around 6 months, but there are many factors to consider. Shelley has been extensively trained to screen for other issues affecting sleep (and refer out when necessary), identify sleep issues and establish a plan to help parents reach the goals they are hoping for. Outlined below are the age categories and recommendations for each.
Birth to 4 months:
During the newborn period, there is no evidence to support sleep training, however in children under four months of age, parents can do gentle sleep shaping to establish a solid sleep foundation. Parents can either choose to take the Positive Sleep Foundations Class (prenatal or early parenting to four months), or Shelley can come and do a Gentle Sleep Foundations Consultation at your home with you and your partner.
Age 4 Months to 6 Months:
Shelley has received special training and certification to work with children in this delicate stage of development. This is highly specialized, due to the rapid brain development of children during this stage. Shelley can work with you to find a gentle solution to help you and your baby.
Age 6 months to 6 years:
While evidence says that it is easiest to change sleep behaviour before nine months of age, with the right support, families can gently and gradually teach their babies and children to sleep with a plan and individualized coaching with Shelley during the process.
Working towards better sleep habits
Shelley wishes for you to make sure that Gentle Sleep Coaching is for your family, and does a free 15 minute phone consultation to learn a little about your challenges, and explain how she can help you and your family get the rest they need.
Once deciding that hiring Shelley is right, parents are given a series of history forms and logs to complete. This process generally takes 4-7 days to complete. Then a 90 minute consult is scheduled with Shelley to come to your home (or via Skype or WebEx) to review and discuss the forms and logs, and most importantly establish a plan based on your unique sleep goals.
After the consultation Shelley will follow up with you via telephone on a regular basis as your implement your plan.
To explore individual sleep coaching plans, click below.
Shelley can help you and your family get the rest they need!
Frequently Asked Questions about Sleep Coaching
How does the process work?
Then, once deciding that hiring Shelley is a right fit, parents are given a series of history forms and logs to complete. This process generally takes 4-7 days to complete. Then a 90 minute consult is scheduled with Shelley to come to your home (or via Skype or WebEx) to review and discuss the forms and logs, and most importantly establish a plan based on your unique sleep goals.
After the consultation Shelley will follow up with you via telephone on a regular basis as your implement your plan.
To explore individual sleep coaching plans, click here.
What qualifications does Shelley hold?
Shelley is a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, and is 4 and 5 month old certified as well. Both courses are very comprehensive, and are taught through the Sleep Lady™, Kim West. Shelley is also a certified Lamaze® Childbirth Educator and holds a degree in Psychology. Shelley’s entire career has been focused on coaching families through challenging periods. It is her combined education and almost 15 years of practical experience that Shelley can offer families solutions that fit with their unique needs.
There are many “sleep trainers” out there, but few are trained and certified. Aside from her degree in Psychology, and Lamaze® training, Shelley took the Sleep Lady™ training because it included over 80 hours of in class training with an impressive faculty of medical doctors, psychologists, lactation counselor, postpartum doulas, and family therapists.
Anyone can come in and suggest a sleep plan, it takes skills and experience to understand a families unique needs. In addition to an extensive curriculum, the course also included training on how to assess for issues affecting sleep that may require medical attention and know where to refer. There was a rigorous set of exams and clinical observation cases to complete. The 4 and 5 month old program is a separate specialized training course. Babies during this period undergo enormous developmental changes and therefore require a different, gentle approach in order to protect the precious brain development.
In order to maintain certification, Shelley regularly attends continuing education lectures.
With this extensive training, Shelley collaborates with a network of professionals in the community to ensure her clients receive the best consulting services possible.
How long will it take?
As much as parents would like it, there are no magic wands! Every child is different and handles the coaching process differently. If does take a bit of time, but with parents dedicated to the plan, it generally takes about one week to ten days to see improvement. Generally, Shelley spends about 2 weeks with a family as they implement their plan. As with any plan, consistency and a united front are the key the success!
Do your coaching plans use cry it out strategies?
Never! You may have been advised by well-meaning friends and family to try cry it out methods. Maybe you tried it, and spent those minutes on the other side of the door crying just as hard as your child. Luckily, Shelley will never suggest you just leave your child alone and walk away. Shelley’s methods are gentle and gradual and will teach your child how to sleep (yes sleep is a learned skill).
Cry it out methods usually do result in quicker results, and the waking behaviour ends, but all that the child has learned is that no one is coming to them, and they fall asleep exhausted. Studies have shown that babies undergoing cry it out methods have high stress hormone levels, and these high cortisol levels stay elevated even after baby falls asleep. They continue to remain stressed. This is detrimental to brain development in the long run.
Will there be tears? Your child may not be thrilled with the changes, but as a coach, Shelley is there helping you be a supportive parents during the process. Just as your child learns new skills such as walking, we don’t scoop them up and tell them they never have to walk because they got frustrated and cried when learning, nor do we just leave them to learn all on their own and walk away. As with all parenting, children need parents to support them through all their developmental stages.
Will my baby cry during the process?
There is no such thing as no cry learning for children. When children are learning new skills they often get frustrated and cry. Sleep training is a learned skill, and takes time. Your child may be less than thrilled with the new changes to their sleeping arrangement, but as they learn and become more confident in their abilities to get themselves to sleep and back to sleep, they will cry less. Most importantly, you the parent will be right by your child’s side, responding consistently and appropriately as they learn and you learn.
No one likes sad, crying babies, but sometimes children will cry. The key is that someone is there guiding them along and not abandoning them while they learn. All of Shelley’s sleep plans focus on providing a supportive environment for their child.
What kind of commitment is required of us?
Sleep training is a commitment that requires you and your family make the process a priority over everything else for usually the first 1-2 weeks of coaching. The key is consistency and commitment! Shelley is there right along with you helping make sure you continue with your plan and make adjustments along the way. For example, if you are about to move or go on vacation in a week, that is probably not the best time to start sleep training/ coaching your child. It will be too difficult to maintain the commitment necessary. Often families choose a week that is quiet, and plan to implement their plan on a Thursday or Friday night when they have the time and energy to follow through.
How do you create your plans?
After analyzing the family situation through a detailed History Form and Sleep Logs, Shelley then works with each family to create a customized plan based on their needs. For example, the plan for a co-sleeping family might look different than the plan for a child sleeping in their own bedroom. There are many factors to consider in each plan, and Shelley evaluates all of them and then considers goals, needs, and dynamics within the family. It is only when the family is 100% ready to implement the plan that coaching moves forward. Sometimes there is a preparatory phase of the plan. Each plan is different so parents are making informed decisions with confidence and commitment.
Why coaching instead of a book?
With sleep consulting packages, you are getting the wisdom and experience of a seasoned coach. A book can be very helpful to learn the basics, and highly recommend you read The Sleep Lady™ by Kim West, but what it can’t do, is help you by making suggestions, recognizing factors you hadn’t considered, and offer support along the way. Even establishing goals in the first place can be difficult, and Shelley’s consulting services offer all this and more. Coaching gives you the one on one support you need as you work your way through your plan.
Will sleep coaching work if I am breastfeeding?
Of course! Shelley will work with you to establish a plan that works for you and your family. In fact, Shelley respects all parenting choices, and supports breastfeeding mothers. There is always more than one way to reach a goal! No one way is right for everyone.
I am co-sleeping with my child. Will sleep coaching work?
Admittedly it is a bit more challenging and can often take a bit longer, to sleep coach with a co-sleeping family, but by no means impossible. Shelley respects all parenting choices, and supports co-sleeping families if that is what they wish to continue with. For some families, they wish to move their child from a co-sleeping situation into their own bed or sleep space, and the plan is focused on those goals. Some families wish to simply move their child out of their bed and into a crib in the same room. It all depends on the family’s needs. Sleep coaching, that is teaching your child valuable sleep skills is possible regardless of the sleeping arrangements, provided there is a united front, and commitment to the plan created.
What is the cost of your services?
Every family has different needs, and require a different level of support. If you aren’t sure what you need, contact me and we can discuss your situation. In the meantime, check out the Sleep Consultation options here.
Does Shelley work weekends?
I offer consultations Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5 pm. Depending on the circumstances, a different time can be arranged if it suits you better.
During the coaching process I work one weekend morning for follow up calls with families once they start their sleep plans. Those follow up calls will be scheduled with you and Shelley.
Who is the Sleep Foundations Workshop for?
This class is for any new (0-4 months) or expectant parent. The goals of this class is to provide parents with the knowledge of normal newborn behaviour so they can get sleep off to a good start by knowing what is expected, and what is not possible. It is also an opportunity for new and expectant parents to learn what factors affect sleep. Parents will learn what the current recommendations are, and how to ensure safe infant sleep.
Newborn Sleep Foundation Classes & Coaching