The chair method is the next option in our sleep training series.
It is considered gentle or gradual, but yet 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.
What is The Chair Method?
The Chair Method is a great technique for parents who want to be present with their child as they’re learning independent sleep skills, while still having structure. 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 move further away.
Get more tips for your baby’s sleep with the FREE Sleeping Through The Night Guide.
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.
If you’re not sure if this method is right for you, contact Baby Sleep 101 today and we can help you determine what is best for your family and put together a customized sleep plan.
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.
We did this with my first son when he was 14 months old. It initially worked. It took 8 nights and then he slept through the night. But then every time he got sick, Teethed, etc we had to redo the training. A year later we gave up. I think with whatever sleep training method we picked we would have had to retrain him. I wish that we knew that the training would have to be redone so many times.
I did this with my daughter when she was around 2. It was very successful. My goal was to shorten my involvement at bedtime, since it had started to drag on for 30 minutes or more. Just in the nick of time, too, since I became pregnant shortly afterwards and I wouldn’t have been able to deal with the long bedtimes in my first trimester.
Drawbacks though: my husband was not doing it and would stay with her until she fell asleep (we took turns doing bedtime). I think this ultimately sabotaged the method. I would not do it again if both parents were not doing it. Also, we stayed overnight at my in-laws during this period and I didn’t know what to do. Or how to retrain after a setback: start from the beginning? Back up one stage?
We used this method with my daughter. It worked really well at night time but naps were
Still a struggle even months later. My second child is 3.5 months old and I’m
Thinking i’ll probably use this method again, but it will be very hard to
Do with a toddler at home