You know the scene — a new dad jubilantly announces to his friends that he and his partner are expecting. After a few brief words of congratulations, his buddies start offering advice and words of wisdom about the new baby. Those “words of advice” so often include warnings that involve never having the ability to sleep again.
PSA for all parents: just because you chose to have kids does not mean you are bound to go for years without any good, quality sleep in your house. No parent should have to drag themselves through their days in a foggy haze because of kids having trouble sleeping. Once a baby leaves the newborn stage, good, quality sleep is achievable for any family. Period.
A United Family Front
Typically moms are most involved with kids’ sleep. This may be because of breastfeeding at night, or possibly because most of the caretaking responsibilities fall to her within the family. Sometimes this is not the case and dad takes on most of the responsibilities around sleep periods. Either way, we love most when parents are on the same page when it comes to big family decisions. And making the choice to sleep train their child is one of them! When parents form a united front, everyone in the family wins. In other words, teamwork works!
To illustrate the impact sleep training has on parents, we need to look no further than to our client testimonials. Kimberlee, one of our recent clients, had to say about working with the Sleeper Teachers. She came to us to teach her 4 month old the skill of sleep independence. After two weeks of working with the team, she wrote:
“[It was] the greatest family investment we have ever made. We were all tired, we were all grumpy, the days were long and our nights even longer. We were riddled with anxiety each and every night as we got ready for bed, anticipating the antics that our 4 month good sleeper-gone bad, would throw our way throughout the night. I can’t thank [the Sleeper Teachers] enough for helping build a united sleep team between my husband and myself and for giving us our lives back.”
The impact on a marriage or partnership can be as life-changing for dad as much as it is for mom!
Why Families Decide to Sleep Train
Families come to us for help with a variety of sleep issues. These issues vary so much from family to family. Some seek help to move kids out of their beds and into their own rooms. Others want to put a stop to the never-ending night wakes. Others wants to lengthen naps and sort out their child’s sleep schedule. Whether mom is more involved on the sleep front or it’s the reverse and dad takes on the job, one thing we know for certain is that when the little one is sleeping, the entire family wins!
So if you’re having trouble getting Dad on board, or you’re just simply curious about how teaching sleep independence can lead to Dad living a healthier, happier life, then this post is for you.
When Dad Sleep Trains, His Sleep and Quality of Life Improves
Regardless of which parent handles drawn out bedtime battles, night wakings, or crappy naps, a child in the home struggling with sleep affects the quality of sleep for the whole family. This means sleep is negatively impacted for mom, dad, and other kiddos nearby.
Teaching a child the skill of sleep independence results in less stress at bedtime and more restful nights for everyone. It also leads to quality of sleep improvements, better daytime behavior once the overtiredness is gone, and more personal time during the day with kiddos who nap consistently.
Let’s Hear from a Client
Take Demetri, a struggling father who reached out to us for help with his 4 year old’s sleep habits. After working with Sleeper Teacher Amanda for two weeks, shared the following testimonial:
“We were facing burnout with our 4yo son and his sleep habits. He was difficult to get down, up twice per night, coming into our bed, and generally not getting enough rest. He is our first and we didn’t know enough about kids’ sleep needs to identify what was wrong. Sticking with the sleep plan over two weeks has yielded tremendous results. Bed time is now a snap. Mom is no longer required at each step, we’re all sleeping better and our son is much happier and healthier.”
Despite their son’s attachment to mom around sleep, the situation certainly impacted dad’s quality and quantity sleep. It also led to more stress during the day due to having an overtired toddler. And after teaching their son the skill of sleep independence, not only did both parents have their bed back and begin to get full nights of quality sleep, but they also saw an overall improvement in their son’s daytime behavior and mood.
Mood and Behavior Improvements Abound
Overall mood improvements are often an unexpected added bonus of sleep training. Many parents are shocked at the daytime behavior changes they witness after their child’s body regulates and begins to get the amount of sleep they truly need. For babies, parents report less fussiness, feeding issues disappearing, and a better general mood. For toddlers, parents report a decrease in the number and intensity of tantrums, less mood swings, better eating habits, and overall improved daytime behavior.
It’s not only Dad’s health and happiness that is positively impacted by better sleeping children. Sleep training also impacts his relationship with his partner, in more ways than one!
The Partner Relationship Improves When Dad Sleep Trains
We can all agree that a prerequisite to having a functional, happy romantic partnership requires both parents get an adequate amount of sleep themselves. It’s extremely difficult for a partnership to function well if one or both parents are sleep deprived! We are all crankier and have less patience when we are tired A lack of sleep for any parent makes facing the challenges of parenthood far more difficult than parenting already proves itself to be!
Time and time again we hear from our clients that their marriage or relationship significantly improves after sleep training their child. Mom and dad get their bed back when dad sleep trains. They also get their “us time” back in the evenings after kids go to bed. And because of overall sleep quality improvements for everyone, connecting with each other becomes more seamless and possible.
What Our Clients Have to Say
Erica is client who came to us for help to teach her son the skill of sleep independence. Her main goal was to move her 16 month old out of her and her husband’s bed and into his own sleep space. After working with the Sleeper Teachers she wrote:
“Before using Sleeper Teachers, my husband and I had been co-sleeping with our 16 month old since birth. Once the evening hit about 8:30pm we were whispering to communicate and one of us had to lay with him to ensure he’d stay asleep as long as possible! Now by 8:00pm at the latest, both of our kids are asleep and happy in their own rooms while my husband and I get to reconnect. We watch movies or shows together or even play board games like we used to do! It’s been so great for our marriage to have our evenings to ourselves again!”
Chelsea, another former client and twin mama, shares her story below. The lack of sleep in her home was taking a toll on her marriage and motherhood experience:
“I was on the verge of breaking down, working a full time job with only 4.5 hours of sleep a night. My shift lasted from 8pm-1:30am and my husband took 1:30am-6:30am. I missed my husband, and I missed being happy with my twins! Fast forward, and I can sleep in the same room as my husband again. Now I am the happy mom I have always wanted to be with my twins.”
No more taking half-night awake shifts for each parent to take care of the sleep deprived twins. After working with the Sleeper Teachers, both Chelsea and her husband started to get a full night’s sleep while their twins slept peacefully through the night beginning just a few days after starting the program!
When Dad Sleep Trains, His Relationship with His Child Improves
Oftentimes we see that children are emotionally dependent on mom to get through bedtime routine and soothe back down during night wakes. Teaching a child the skill of sleep independence decreases their dependency on mom, and thus allows for dad to play a bigger role in the sleep process moving forward. Dads who are more involved with caretaking, and not only around sleep, tend to have stronger relationships with their children.
Patrick, a father of 3 month old Joey, had this to say after working with Sleeper Teacher Sarah:
“I feel equipped to my son with sleep changes going forward too! Thank you, Sarah! Our quality of life is much improved thanks to you helping us teach our baby to sleep independently.”
When dad sleep trains, he is equipped with the knowledge and skills to be more involved with his little one which fosters stronger bonds in the family. It also leads to dad feeling empowered and proud of his parenting abilities. Studies have shown that a more involved father improves his cognitive skills, health, and his capacity for empathy.
Additionally, an engaged father leads to better development outcomes for a child, especially when it comes to sleep. For example, let’s look at a study focusing on paternal involvement and child sleep published in the International Journal of Behavioural Development. It showed that fathers who reported more frequent engagements in emotional support with their child had children who slept longer at night 1 year later. So, a dad who learns how to help their baby sleep makes a great investment in the father-child relationship in the long term.
A Positive Impact on the Whole Family Unit
A well-rested family is a happier, healthier family. Time and time again our clients share the positive impact sleep training their child has had on the whole family. Mood and energy levels improve, family members get along better, the parent relationship has time and space to develop. Everyone in the household wins.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe all of the ways that teaching sleep independence can benefit the dads in our lives. But after working with over 800 families, we’ve seen the positive impact countless times. Want to see the success for yourself? Check out our nearly 200 Google reviews here!
If dad is on the fence about sleep training, help him climb down! We hope this article helps to clarify the many ways that sleep training is a win for him, a win for you, and a win for your whole family. And remember… When dad sleep trains — the whole family really is happier!