Parenting can come with love and support from family and friends. It can also come with unsolicited advice. The topic of sleep is one that friends and family tend to chime in on regularly.
We have a few suggestions for how to express your parenting decisions to your friends and family who may have different opinions.
Explain Your Why
Take the time to clearly express why your family takes a healthy sleep schedule seriously. After sharing the many benefits, they might be more likely to understand and respect your boundaries around sleep.
Plan Your Social Time Accordingly
If you know that you want your child to be asleep by a certain time, make your social plans accordingly. It can be hard to stick to your plan when you have an audience, especially if they have opinions opposing yours. You don’t need to be apologetic or negotiate what your parenting choices are. Kindly let your family or friends know your expectations and boundaries. Let them know when you plan on putting your child to sleep and wake them up and how you need to plan around that. Do not feel bad for sticking to what you know your family needs for everyone to be well rested and functioning at their best.
Don’t Let Pressure Make You Change Your Mind
You will probably experience some pressure or guilt trips from loved ones trying to get some extra time with you and your little one. Honestly, the odds are that if you are off schedule for one day there won’t be long term effects. It’s when you start caving into this pressure on a regular basis that your child’s sleep can be genuinely thrown off. You will most likely be dealing with a situation that takes effort to correct once you get into a cycle of your child being overtired and their cortisol production being too high.
Working Through Your Feelings
While you may be confident in your choice in prioritizing sleep, you may still experience guilt or doubt if you feel like you are letting others down. We have all been in a situation where a friend or family member has wanted to spend extra time with us or with our child and we feel bad for sticking to our boundaries. We may be hurt by feeling judged and not understood. Take the time to remember why you have the values that you have and that you do not have to sacrifice your family’s well being for others’ happiness or opinions.
Stand Firm In Your Decision
You are the parent and this is your child. You have the right to make the final decision on what is best for your family. You are doing what is best for your little one, their health and growth, by protecting their sleep and keeping them on schedule. Your friends and family will have their opinions on all aspects of parenting and that can be tough to navigate. You can advocate for your family’s values by clearly and kindly expressing your boundaries and expectations. At the end of the day, you have final say over what you accept for your little one. Of course there will be days where life throws you a curveball and you have to go with the flow. We are focusing more on the controlled environments and circumstances that you chose to put your family in. It’s ok to have an occasional “off-day” but you should aim to have a majority of your days being structured and predictable for the best results.
If you need assistance or additional guidance, please consider scheduling a free consultation with us. We’re here to be your ally in your efforts to help you and your family get back to peaceful, restful sleep.