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Baby Sleep Technique – Who Knew Pavlov’s Dogs Could Help Your Baby Sleep?
Pavlov’s dogs paved the way to help your baby sleep. Really!
Anyone who has ever heard of Ivan Pavlov or his experiment with his dogs can appreciate the benefits of conditioning. In a nutshell, Dr. Pavlov trained his dogs to salivate from a bell chime simply by consistently ringing the bell before feeding them. Over time, the dogs became accustomed to the schedule and eventually associated the bell with food. Easy, right? The bell was a “feeding cue” and the dogs reacted accordingly upon hearing it.
“That’s great… but I don’t have dog slobber problems. I have a baby sleep problem!”
It’s the same concept! Sure, your baby is NOT a dog but you should be conditioning him or her similarly. You should go through your baby’s evening routine and pick out “sleep cues” that you can use to help train your baby to know when it is time to go to sleep and respond by realizing he or she is tired and mentally preparing to go to sleep.
What a great concept, huh? Watch out though because it’s not as easy as it may sound. There are two major components that you have got to get right or it simply won’t work.
First, you have to have a consistent schedule planned for your baby. This is monumentally important because:
- a schedule = consistency
- consistency = predictability
If you consistently follow the same evening schedule every night, your baby will be able to predict what comes next and eventually realize that your cues mean it’s time to go to sleep!
Second, you must pick cues out of your schedule or create them if they don’t exist. One of the cues my wife and I used (and still use) with our three children is bathtime. Every one of our sons knows that when it’s dark out and we start talking about bathtime that it’s time to begin our evening routine. After bath we get into our pajamas and cycle through a few other sleep cues, all of which reinforce our schedule and let our sons know it’s time for sleep!
And that’s how Dr. Pavlov and his dogs can help you condition your baby to sleep through the night.
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