"How do phone consultations work?", is a question I've received a lot, since we all became stuck at home, thanks to COVID isolation.
While lots of parents out there, still need help with their children's sleep, I'm surprised to find that phone support might be considered a poor alternative to in-home tuition or a week at sleep school.
A common trend among the parents who contact me, is a feeling that they've been gifted with the worst sleepers in the world! They often worry that their's will be the trickiest case I've ever seen and often assume that a simple phone conversation (the cheapest option) just won't do!
The truth is, I've had clients from interstate and overseas use this option very successfully, for years, now. It's not a new service but is certainly becoming more popular, of late, and the results have been fabulous.
The secret is, when helping with baby or toddler sleep skills, it's always the parents who's behaviour I seek to change first. Don't shoot me! This is not meant as a criticism. Its merely what works for me. Let me explain.
Mindset. My first job is to help parents find the right mindset. Developing the belief that change is possible and that sleep is neither an unrealistic or selfish expectation and that they're not cruel to insist upon it. Choosing to strive for quality sleep is as important as selecting a healthy diet and getting enough exercise. Its not an optional extra when it comes to good health. Particularly right now, as we all seek to boost our immune systems.
The Vibe. My next mission is to work on improving everyone's communication, simplifying routines, identifying obstacles and most importantly, calming everyone down. A change in the vibe at home, can only come from parents, but in many cases, they need help to identify the triggers and discover ways to keep themselves mellow.
So you see, much of what's involved in my type of sleep work, centres on the parents. Building them up so they can be relaxed and confident guiding lights for their exhausted and overwhelmed children. I'm really not a mystical visitor, who just magics the kids to sleep!
So how DOES a phone consultation work?
Firstly my clients choose between a simple phone call or a chat via Zoom webinar. Either works just fine, but I do love webinar functionality (when its working well). Not only can we connect face to face but clients can also show me practical insights, like bedroom layout, window coverings and bedtime clothing, etc.
Background. A phone consultation usually takes around 90mins. I begin every one, by asking my clients to describe their journey to parenthood. We discuss...
· Post-partum period
· Their infant feeding journey
· Adjustments to becoming parents
· Physical and emotional health of parents
· How much support is available from others
· Baby's medical history
· Illnesses/allergies etc
· Baby's character
· Baby's development and latest skills
Once I've gathered all the necessary background information, we then explore their current challenges, aims and the reasons why my clients feel it's important to make changes, now. How life will improve or how things will unfold if no action is taken, at all. Getting clear on the vision, before we move forward is critical to success.
"Will you tell me what I need to do? "
With an understanding of the family's routine and priorities, practical settling techniques will always be a part of the discussion. It's important clients are helped to choose the most suitable method for them and their child. One size does NOT fit all! I always make recommendations, based on my understanding of the situation and we then customise the techniques precisely to suit their needs and challenges. I do not issue generic routines for textbook babies. Those type of children just don't exist!
The Plan. Following our initial appointment, I then send through an email summary of our chosen plan, together with the pdf version of my hand book, as a reference. Daily follow-up calls are included so we can review our approach and adapt techniques, as the situation improves or in case clients feel that something isn't working. This follow-up then continues on a weekly basis, for as long as my clients feel it's necessary. In most cases this is around 4-6 weeks but may be longer for young babies with extra challenges.
Moving Forward. Once the challenges are resolved and the aims are achieved, I always encourage clients to stay in touch via the Katie's Babies Facebook support group. This was created for my clients to ask questions, share tips and seek encouragement. All members have been on a similar journey and have much wisdom to share.
Some families make their changes really quickly others prefer to make changes more gradually. The beauty is, there's no rush at all. We don't have the pressure of a 4 or 5 day deadline as in the case of sleep school. Neither is there the worry that your baby will choose to sleep through on the very night I come for a sleep-over. Clients progress at the pace that suits them.
So that's how my phone consultations work. I hope that's answers a few questions and dispels a few myths. Physical isolation doesn't mean help is not available. Far from it.
If you have any further queries then please don't hesitate to get in touch.