How to Sleep Train Your Parents, by Dr Harrison Etherington

So, you’re a baby. You share your home with a couple of large humans, and you’re learning to love this crazy thing called life.

You may have spent the last few months getting to grips with your new surroundings. No longer living in that splishy, splashy swimming pool, you’ve escaped in to the big, wide yonder. But, where you have perfected the art of the cat nap and nocturnal energy, your parents are struggling.

You might now find yourself wondering, ‘Is it time to Sleep Train my Parents?’

I know, I know, it’s a contentious subject nowadays, with so many naysayers saying, well, ‘nay’ to sleep training, but, if your adults aren’t learning by themselves, you might need to give them a gentle nudge.

From my own extensive research, I have designed a program that will do just the trick

*no adults were harmed in the making of this article*

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Step 1 – Ditch the Schedule

Starting with a bit of controversy here. I know that you’ll be familiar with the word ‘schedule’; your adults have probably mastered that word pretty well, and they’ll be using it A LOT (much to your annoyance – can’t they learn a new word, already?!!!), but it is an important word in the world of sleep training.

Schedules should be avoided like the plague if you want to successfully train your parents. The best life is one spent without rigid routines, and un-flexing rules. You need to get your parents away from the schedule, and enjoying the wonderful fluidity that life has to offer.

To do this, try mixing things up a bit.

Refuse lunch when first offered

Don’t worry, you’ll get another chance to eat it later, but this will mean that nap time will be delayed, which is a great start to pushing the schedule out.

Mix up nap lengths

This may be tough at first; you’ll be tired and really wanting ‘5 more minutes’, but reducing your nap from 2 hours to 1 can do wonders for keeping adults guessing. Be sure to balance this step out with some longer naps, too

Cat naps are your friend

Sometimes, try as you may, it’s just not possible to extend a nap. Those pesky parents might reeeeeally want to play at 2pm, and you’ll just have to give up and get up to accommodate them (at least they are cute). This is when the cat nap comes in handy.

Timing is everything when it comes to cat napping. Picture this scenario – it’s 6:30pm, your parents are starting to get fussy and are probably going to try to put you to bed in the next hour. Now is the perfect time for a 5 minute nap. This short step will give you so much extra energy that it’ll likely see you through until at least 8:30pm, maybe even longer.

This is probably your most valuable tool when it comes to kicking the schedule. Use it wisely!

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Step 2 – Keep ‘Em Close

Now that you have successfully ditched the schedule, it’s time to set some standards of contact.

It’s not appropriate for your parent to go without contact for any period of time…EVER! You must ensure that your parent is touched, stroked, or caressed at all times. You can use a variety of mediums to maintain this contact; hands, feet, toys (the harder the better, in my experience), food is a good one too. The important thing is to have SOMETHING touching the adult 24 hours a day.

This step will take some real effort on your part and you should not underestimate how fast these old ones can move. Be ready, be quick, and be committed. They need the reassurance of your love.

Step 3 – A Gentle Reminder

It is preferable to have your parents sleep with you. This is how you will be best positioned to ensure they are safe, and to make sure they don’t do anything silly (less supervision = more siblings).

Sometimes, though, you’ll want your own space. It’s ok for you to take some time for yourself and sleep in your own room on occasion.

If you do this, however, be sure to keep your adults reassured that you are close at hand should they need you. The best way to do this is to give a short, sharp shout, periodically, throughout the night. Once an hour will be sufficient, but you might want to pop an additional scream in every now and then, in case they get scared.

You don’t want them to sleep too deeply as a well-rested parent is an unruly parent. These little interruptions, will help you avoid.

Step 4 – A Good Wake Up Routine

This is the last step, but is vitally important for maintaining the fun that your parents respond so well to.

Schedule at the wayside, you will be starting your day when the sun and the birds announce it. Be sure to get up BEFORE your parents wake. This way you can have the pleasure of waking them.

You can be really creative with this step. I have found that a good kick to the throat wakes my mum up the quickest, and pulling Dad’s beard is guaranteed to start his morning off with a bang.

Sometimes, I use those few minutes before waking my adults to get some cleaning done. My mum likes to have a drink by the bed (t’s a comfort thing for her, bless), but her eye glasses get a bit grubby at times and that bedside drink becomes the perfect tool to wash them.

For those lazy mornings, however, I like to take my time, really think outside the box with my waking technique. This is a great time to wriggle around the bed; try to touch every square inch of the duvet for bonus points. You could try laying on your mums face, putting your toes up Daddy’s nose, and you should never underestimate the joys of hair pulling. The options really are endless.

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Step 5 – ENJOY!!!

These steps may seem daunting at first, but the effort will be so worth it when you see those tired, baggy eyes, the frazzled hair, and the slightly glazed look on your adults’ faces.

With the hard work done – ENJOY!

 

Note about the author –

Dr Harrison Etherington is 13 months old. He has dedicated his short life to the pursuit of tired parents, working tirelessly (literally) to create a really robust sleep training model that babies across the globe can learn from. It’s not all been plain sailing; there was a disastrous month, back in 2015, when the Etherington household slept for 12 hours a night, every night. However, with hard work and perseverance, Dr Etherington was able to get his guinea pigs back to the sleep deprived state that they respond to best.

About our editor –

This guide was edited by one of the guinea pigs from this experiment; afore mentioned ‘Mummy’ (aka Siobhàn, the Eventual Mother). Any typos, punctuation errors, etc, serve as proof of effectiveness in the Sleep Training program.

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10 thoughts on “How to Sleep Train Your Parents, by Dr Harrison Etherington

    • eventualmother@hotmail.com says:

      It’s not me, it’s my son. Promise. He’s on some kind of mission to get the babies to revolt. Us poor parents 😉 x

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