It’s undoubtedly one of the most discussed subjects when a group of mothers get together: How can I get my baby to sleep through the night? Here, self-described “Supernanny” Zoe Chu offers her advice for sleep-deprived parents everywhere.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a mother of four, including a set of twins. We lived in Christchurch, New Zealand, for over 10 years before moving to Singapore to be closer to our family.
How did you get into this field?
From the time I brought my twins home from the hospital in 2006, I knew I needed serious help. At the suggestion of a helpful neighbour I started pouring over sleep training books to figure out how to get my twins not only to fall asleep on their own, but also to stay asleep and sleep through the night.
For the first few months I felt like a zombie enduring sleepless nights, but I finally figured out the perfect system. A few years later, along came my third baby, and with that experience I have developed a sixth sense for what babies need to learn to sleep successfully. I slowly became the “sleep guru” among my friends and family who asked me for advice. And so I turned my passion – helping sleep-deprived parents – into my business, so that I can help more families get back that well-deserved rest and sleep.
As a baby sleep consultant, I have helped many babies get the sleep they need, during the day and night. I’ve developed an approach that combines popular techniques from sleep training books and, most importantly, my unique experiences with my own three children who have very different personalities.
Why is it important for children to get enough sleep?
Sleep is a biological need, not a luxury. It’s just as important to ensure that your children sleep as it is to feed them. Well-rested children are happier children and well-rested parents are happier and better parents. Sleep is not just rest for the body; it also assists in a child’s brain development, including learning and socialising skills. Children who are overtired become more hyperactive, aggressive and easily upset, and tend to get sick more easily.
Why is it important for parents to get coaching?
Like it or not, parents set the tone for their children’s routines and habits. Children thrive on structure, and when parents set proper boundaries, they can build and shape the foundation for their behaviour. Parents need to be well educated on how to manage their child’s behaviour, whether it’s sleep or other behavioural issues. If parents give in to a child’s demands, the child will soon learn they are calling the shots.
Four common sleep myths:
- Your baby will outgrow their bad sleep habits as they get older. Studies show that more than 80 percent of babies having sleep difficulties will continue to do so up until three years old, and based on my own clients’ experience some even up to seven years!
- Putting your child to bed late won’t make a difference. Some parents too often allow their work schedules, dinner plans or social arrangements to dictate their child’s bedtime.
- Inconsistent bedtime regimes don’t matter. If some days you rock your child to sleep and some days you bring them to your bed out of desperation, try to find a consistent method that works for you and your baby and stick with it.
- Mobiles and gadgets help sleep. Banish cute colourful mobiles, TV and gadgets before bedtime as they encourage stimulation.
This is an article that first appeared in the September 2016 edition of Expat Living. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue!
Like this? Check out more in our Kids section.