How To Choose A Sleep Consultant
I recognize that sleep consulting is a growing field, a growing practice, and I am super pumped about this!! I sincerely hope that sleep consulting becomes just as normal as having a doula, or a lactation consultant!! We’re all here to help your parenting journey go way smoother, right? We’re all here to help you. I acknowledge the fact that this is a growing field, and there are lots of independent consultants and lots of group consultants out there. So, I wanted to share an article with you on how you can go about finding a consultant that is right for you!!
The 3 things you should look for when finding a Sleep Consultant for your family:
Practical for your Family
I’m also holding YOU accountable too! At the end of this I’m sharing 3 things YOU need to do when you do find a consultant to work with.
PREFERENCE: What’s your sleep training preference?
There is no ONE way to sleep train, but there also isn’t an infinite number of ways to sleep train. There are a handful of ways that we can sleep train your child. Methods range from a no cry sleep solution all the way to extinction method, cry it out. Those are the extremes. Sleep consultants will fall somewhere along this spectrum. I would encourage you to think about what method you are most interested in not doing, or which method you are most interested in doing.
Most people who come my way know that they don’t want to close the door and do extinction, and they recognize that there’s no such thing as a no cry sleep solution. (Did I just point you in a biased direction? 🙃) I don’t believe that we can sleep train your baby and somehow not have any crying. Most everyone who comes my way knows they don’t want the extremes. They want to be somewhere in the middle. That’s me. I’m right here in the middle.
In the big world of finding a sleep consultant who might hear some say they are a “Gentle Sleep Consultant” or, “Certified Sleep Consultant” or simply “Sleep Consultant. Some of these titles have to do with their methods and some have to do with them being certified by a recognized program. After you’ve recognized your preference on crying, you may need to decide if you prefer an in-town consultant or if working virtually suits you fine!
While I I have a lot of families here my hometown of Richmond, Virginia, I also have threads in Louisiana because that’s where I got started. I have family in California and Texas, so I have a lot of clients out there! While I love working with families around the world, you may find that I’m not the right person for you. If there’s someone in your town and you would rather someone come into your home to work with you, then please, have someone who actually can come into your home! If you’d prefer to have someone in the flesh, then research a consultant in your area!
PERSONALITY: Do you jive?
I would highly encourage you to hop on the phone with the sleep consultant if you’re looking to hire them for one-on-one coaching. When any family wants to work with me to do any of my personal one-on-one coaching, I want to be on the phone with you so that we can see if this is a good fit! Speaking on the phone is a great way to tell if you and I are a great fit. I actually have been on the phone with people before and realized very quickly…”Yeah, this isn’t going to work out!”
Often times people are already listening to my podcast and understand my personality. Sometimes, I just am a little too much for some people, and that’s okay!! Everyone has a different personality style, and knowing what matches yours is key! I would encourage you if you are going to be investing to work with a sleep consultant, please hop on the phone with them. See how they are able to speak with you, talk with you, and understand your situation.
This is also really crucial because they are going to be super intimate with you for a few weeks. I know so much about the families that I work with. They cry on the phone with me, they are really, really exhausted when we first start. They are putting their hope in this plan, and it’s a lot! It’s a huge emotional process, and they want to know that they can trust me. It’s a huge deal to me. I count it as a huge honor to get on the phone initially with families and talk through what we’re going to do. We are very, very close for several weeks, and I just want you, whoever you work with, to know that you feel confident, comfortable, you can trust the. Plus! You look forward to hopping on the phone with them for your next call!
I know some consultants will offer email support while working with families, and this is also a personality fit! I have actually chosen to not offer email support, and this may surprise some people. The reason I stopped taking e-mail support last year is because I cannot understand your tone. Likewise, you can’t understand my tone through email! This is extremely important to me because sleep training is so difficult. I want…and I need to… be able to get on the phone or get on our walkie-talkie app, and talk about what’s happening in an open, honest, and real way! Because, let’s be honest. It’s easy to be really mean over email, and then get on the phone and it’s a completely different story. Maybe that’s protecting myself, but it’s also protecting the clients that I work with. No, we don’t want to do email support. I prefer phone support. If phone support freaks you out, then maybe we’re not meant to be!
Through my Sleep E-Coaching™ programs I actually send you a daily voice message, just like a mini-podcast! These messages are just a few minutes every day. It’s important to me to be able to tell you what’s going to happen and what to expect. I really love the ability to speak into your sleep training process. It’s important.
PRACTICAL: FOR YOUR FAMILY
Consultants run their business and packages in many different ways. So when looking at a consultant you jive with, ask them:
"How long will we be working together?”
“How long do you need me to stay at home with baby during sleep training?”
If they reply, “We’re going to work together for two to three weeks to solve your child’s sleep” and you know you can commit a couple of weeks, then that’s a good fit. If they say you’ll be working with you for several weeks to several months, and you’re okay with that commitment, then it’s a good fit. (As a heads up most “no-cry” solutions will claim to take months to implement.) Figure out the timing that works best for you, combined with the method they use! For my clients having 2-3 weeks of training together doesn’t mean that you have to take off work for two weeks. That’s not something that is mandatory for my sleep training. I have some parents who choose that, but it is not mandatory by any means!
I want you to understand the timing your consultant is asking, how much time are you going to invest with this person, and of course… the actual financial investment.
Is their financial investment worthwhile to you?
I am priced very specifically for where I am in my carrer and what I offer families. But I wasn’t always this way!! I am so incredibly grateful to all of the families I worked with in the first three to four months of when I started this business because they took a huge chance on me! I will never forget holding a check for $150 from my very first client!! I was like, “YES! This is real!” It was just an awesome experience. I am so grateful for that family! They took this opportunity to work with someone who was just starting and the investment price was a perfect fit for them. Now, let me be 100% blunt. Don’t find someone just because they’re cheap. Sometimes cheap is going to mean cheap results. Financially I want you to work with someone that you can afford. Most sleep consultants will offer a wide variety of packages depending on the support level, so choose the consultant that you have the preference for, the personality matches, and their investment matches what you would like to spend.
While you can’t put a price on sleep, if you are ready to invest in a good night of sleep, then you will definitely find a consultant with the price point who can match what you’re looking for, and that is so good!
The final thing that I would look for when matching a consultant to your family is to fill them in on any medical situations or circumstances that are a bit different. Maybe grandma watches them multiple days of the week, and grandma is not going to be on board for sleep training. You need to let that consultant know up front and ask them how they’re able to manage that. If you’re little one has medical conditions, are they able to work through that? If there is any type of extenuating circumstance that you maybe need to bring up in that initial phone call with your consultant, please talk to them about that because it’s really, really important.
There are going to be times where the consultant has not worked with that before, and that doesn’t mean you should just shut it off. I’m so grateful for families I’ve worked with who came and said, “Hey, my child is on a feeding tube, can you help me?” I was very honest and said I’ve never done that before, but I am very excited to work with you guys, because of my access to resources and professional groups that I learn from.
I would always want to make sure the consultant you’re working with, if you have extenuating circumstances, that they are willing to work with you, if they can. They won’t always say they are confidence in that, but if they are, then we need to know they’re going to educate themselves on how to do that, they’re not just going to apply a blanket statement and say yes. I just want to make sure for you that if you have extenuating circumstances, they’re able to help accommodate that, if necessary.
When you finally do get started with a sleep consultant, whether it’s me, through my personal coaching, through my E-Coaching, or whether it’s with a local consultant, wherever you are…I want you to know it is extremely normal for you to have instant buyer’s remorse!!!
With anything we purchase you’ll feel very cautiously optimistic because you’re totally doubting the fact that your little one actually can sleep! Maybe it’s been months or years of fighting bedtime and having these wake ups. It just seems crazy to you that something could be different.
When you have found that consultant who matches your preference, matches personality, and is definitely practical for your family, there are three things I want you to sign off in your heart for. Can you do this for me?
The first thing is I want you to be committed.
Commit, commit, commit to whoever, whatever you’re working with because that is the key. I want you to be honest with them. Not only are you committing to working with them, you’re not digging your nose into other sleep blogs or other things. You are wholeheartedly committing to them, and their process.
I want you to be honest with them about everything.
Tell them how you’re feeling. Tell them what you’re thinking. I always want the families that I work with to be so open with me, because that’s the only way I can help them is if they are crying on the phone, and I know they’re upset about something. Then I can encourage them. If they hide those tears from me, and I think they’re doing just fine, I’m not able to serve them where they really need me most. It’s important to me that my clients are committed to me, and they’re also very open and honest.
The final thing, this is like the golden rule, be nice!
Be nice to your sleep consultant. I know if you’re a sleep consultant reading this, you’re like, “Praise! Thank you!” Seriously I need you to, be nice to the person you hire. I always want my clients to know that I will always, always, always be nice with them. I will always have your back and I will always be there, but let’s make sure that in return, we are all nice to each other. It makes this process so much smoother. Of course, in that same line of thought, I tell my clients it is okay to be mad at me, and if you want to be mad at me, send me a message at 2 AM through our walkie-talkie app, and tell me that you don’t like me very much right now, because I would rather you be upset with me than your spouse!! If that happens, then everything will fall apart. I have had people not be very nice in the middle of the night, and then a come the morning, they’re like, “Hey Becca…Sorry about that”, and it’s okay! I can take it! But when I’m asking you to be nice to your sleep consultant, I want you to give them a chance. If they said that you’re going to be working together for two to three weeks, then commit yourself, be honest and open, and be nice to them for two to three weeks.
If for whatever reason you have had a bad experience with a sleep consultant, first of all, I am sincerely sorry for that. I don’t want that to cause a mental block for you that now all sleep consultants are like that. They’re not. There are so many. We didn’t even get into certifications or education o anything like that because many times sleep consulting is kind of becoming unregulated.
If you want to know my certification, my background, my history, and of course if you want to see any of my personal packages, virtual packages, you know my personality through this podcast, and if you are wanting to get to know me more, hop on Facebook, or Instagram, or shoot me an email.
I would love to hop on the phone with you and talk about how we can make sleep a thing for your family. It’s super important to me. No matter where you are, no matter the age of your little one, I truly believe it is never too late to resolve a child’s exhausting sleep habits. Thank you guys for being here with me today! Sweet dreams! See you next time!