When you decide you want to hire a Child Sleep Consultant to help you with your sleep challenges it can be a bit overwhelming to work out who the best person is to hire. There are so many sleep consultants out there and with the industry not being regulated, and no single board granting certification, it is important to do your homework so you can feel confident you are choosing the right Child Sleep Consultant for you.
You want to make sure you chose someone knowledgeable whose personality gels with yours and will be your biggest cheerleader on the road to sleep success.
I am going to talk you through the key things to look out for as you chose your Child Sleep Consultant. You can often find this information on their website or ask them during your free 15-minute phone call. Those 15-minute phone calls are wonderful at gauging whether the sleep consultant is right for you and your family.
How many hours of education did your consultant receive during their certification?
There are so many programs out there with a wide range of hours of training needed before reaching certification. The programs range from a 3-day in-person course to 250+ hours over the course of 4 months or more. The IASC (International Association of Sleep Consultants) expects their members to have a minimum of 50+ hours of training to reach certification, but in my opinion, the more hours, the more knowledgeable your consultant will be.
It is important to choose a consultant whose certification course spends a large quantity of time teaching their students all about sleep for newborns into toddlerhood and beyond and requires their students to attend classes each week, write assignments, have exams, practice their knowledge through case studies and a final project with pro-bono cases before receiving certification status.
Who teaches the certification course?
It is important to do your research on the background of the certification course your potential Child Sleep Consultant received their certification through. Check their “certified by” badge on their website and then research the program for yourself. The instructor/s should be knowledgeable in all things child and baby sleep, should have at least 10 years of experience practicing as a Child Sleep Consultant. They should also have complementary professionals teaching the certification course with them. The more years of experience the instructors have the better able to teach their students about the ins and outs of child and baby sleep.
What does the certification course teach?
Along with the amount of experience the instructors have and the time spent training; it is important to ensure your consultant has the specific knowledge to meet your needs. Have they been trained in the science of sleep? Do they have a vast range of sleep training methods under their belt or just one method they are trained in?
I have also found that some certification courses do not focus on things like newborn babies. So if you want help in areas like setting up healthy sleep habits from the start, be sure to investigate whether your sleep consultant has had specific training in this area.
And if you have a toddler or older child, do they have extra training under their belt that is going to help you? The same methods that work for a baby don’t always work for a toddler and knowing that your consultant has extra training in this age group can make a world of difference.
Does your consultant have other qualifications or a previous educational background?
While not absolutely necessary, it can be helpful to know if your consultant has other knowledge or training as well. Maybe they have a background in a health-related field like psychology, social work, nursing, and child behavior or child development. These extra qualifications can add extra value to your experience with the Child Sleep Consultant.
Does your potential consultant value continuing education?
Continuing education is such an important part of maintaining excellence in your field. Some child sleep consulting courses require their graduates to maintain a certain level of continuing education to keep their certification current, whilst others do not. There are always ways that Child Sleep Consultants can enhance their knowledge in the field, so finding a consultant who values their continuing education by taking courses, attending conferences and so forth is a must.
How does the consultant make you feel?
While ensuring your potential Child Sleep Consultant is appropriately trained is important, so is finding a sleep consultant that makes you feel comfortable and you have a good rapport with. Sometimes you’ll speak to one that doesn’t quite feel right and then you’ll speak to another that just feels perfect. A consultant that makes you feel comfortable and like you are on the same page.
Caring, compassion, and support are key in helping you make the sleep changes you want to see. So, make sure the consultant you pick embodies those things to you.
Are they realistic about sleep outcomes?
I have found many sleep consultants promise quick fixes when it comes to sleep. While this can sound wonderful when you are sleep deprived and want to see fast results, this is never a guarantee. Some babies and kids sleep through quickly and become champion nappers in a matter of days, many do not. There are so many factors to consider, like how long term the issues are, how big a sleep debt there is, the age of the child, sleep training method that will be used and a family’s consistency with the sleep plan. Look for a child sleep consultant with realistic expectations, so that you can have realistic expectations of your own – there’s nothing worse than things not going the way you were promised.
Now that you have some key things to look out for when choosing a Child Sleep Consultant I’d like to wish you the best of luck in your journey to better sleep. And if you’d like to see if I might be the right one for you, please don’t hesitate to schedule a get-acquainted call with me.