The next method in our sleep training series is another one that is considered gentle or gradual, but yet is a bit more structured than a no-cry method or Pick Up/Put Down. Before you begin implementing any sleep training technique, it is important to have the fundamentals in place so that you have success, so please read over all the tips and suggestions in Part One. If you’re worried about the amount of crying your child is going to do, then reading Part Two will also be important.
The Chair Method is a great technique for parents who want to be in the room with their child as they’re learning how to fall asleep independently, but yet have a structured plan to eventually be out of the room. However, it does have its drawbacks and isn’t for everyone. Let’s examine it more closely.
This method consists of gradually weaning your presence from your child’s side by initially sitting right beside them and then slowly lessening your involvement and distancing yourself from their crib or bed.
Depending on your child’s age, temperament, previous sleeping location etc., you would begin this method with either sitting in a chair beside your child or on their bed until they fell asleep. Every few nights you would gradually move further away. If your child woke during the night and they didn’t need a feed, you would return to the chair until they once again fell asleep. The same idea would be repeated for naps as well.
It seems simple enough on paper, but like any sleep training method, it is important to be disciplined with yourself and keep going, even when there are bumps in the road. This method is definitely not for every parent (or child), but can be successful for those that are committed to seeing it through.
A Few Tips For Success:
1. Write out your plan ahead of time so you know which nights will be the night that you will move further away.
2. Be prepared! Get a comfortable chair as you might be sitting in it for awhile.
3. As the days progress, minimize the amount of soothing that you do. Respect’s your child’s need for time and space to get back to sleep on their own.
4. Keep moving your chair every few nights, don’t get stuck at one spot for too long as it will set progress back when you do move.
5. Try to use your voice before touch to soothe. When you do speak, be calm and confident.
How Long Does It Take To Work?
As with all sleep training, progress will likely be evident sooner at night and naps will take longer to change. On average, this method takes about two weeks to complete, but nap lengths may still fluctuate. The more consistent you are with this method and stick to your plan, the quicker you will see positive changes.
Pros and Cons of The Chair Method
- You are with your child as they fall asleep each sleep period and every night waking
- This method is structured and follows a set sequence
- This method is simple and uncomplicated
- It can be difficult to be in the room with your child and not interact with them
- If you have other children to tend to, this method isn’t always suitable, especially for naps
- It can be hard to remain consistent during long night wakings
The chair method is a great sleep training method for those parents who wish to remain in the room with their child as they learn how to sleep independently. To be successful with this method it’s important to have a solid routine, remain consistent and to keep progressively moving your chair further away.
To read about the next method, please continue onto Part Six.
Have you ever tried the Chair Method for sleep training? Share your experience in the comments below.