"Sleep training" either sends parents running for the hills, or it makes their eyes light up with hope. There are usually two teams here, and those that strongly discourage sleep training basically aren't 100% sure of what it means. Sleep training is not a cruel or mean-spirited way of forcing your child to cry through the night alone and in the dark. Sleep training is not going to scar your children for life. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Sleep training can be gentle and soothing, as well as a positive life-changing experience for both the child and the caregiver. So why should you sleep train your little one? Here are a few reasons I have on my mind:
Baby Bedtime vs. Parent Bedtime: In case this wasn't clear to you until now, your child's bed time is probably not your bed time. Unless you had the worst day of your life (it is possible) or you work the late night shift at the hospital, it is not likely you would go to bed between 6:00 and 8:00 PM. Do yourself a favor and savor those few hours between putting baby to bed and putting yourself to bed.
More sleep = More sleep: What I mean is...the more kids sleep, the more they want to sleep! If you train your babe to sleep well at night, they're going to result in being a better napper and overall happier kiddo. Sleep begets sleep is a common phrase, because it's true. When we sleep well, our bodies learn what to DO with that sleep and become accustom to it. Small children need good sleep to develop and process everything they learn each day.
Sleep Seals the Deal: Everything kids see and do all day is solidified in their sleep. When they sleep, the process all of the new words, symbols, places, people (etc.) that they come encounter with! See your baby struggling to try and crawl? Sleep will help! People have witnessed children who wake up from a nap with a new word or a new skill.. it's a real thing!
Naps = Breaks: Naps are not just breaks for babies to recoup their energy from the daytime work they're exerting, but it's also a break for you! Whether you are using nap time to rest your eyes or to do the dishes, both are totally legitimate and necessary. Helping babies sleep for daytime naps is a win-win for everyone!