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What Makes a Good Sleep Educator?

April 17, 2018

There are so many different consultants and experts in this field of practice, but since there is no regulatory body governing the operation or quality of practice, the different levels of professionalism and quality are largely varied. We strive ourselves and our students to be the best of quality in this field of practice. We want our students to be highly knowledgeable, empathetic to clients, objective to all parenting styles and preferences, and understanding of each persons’ choices. If our students are all of these, then we feel that we are on the path to creating a great team of sleep educators, who will be highly recognised and appreciated.

 

Knowledge is power:

 

One of our main priorities when educating our students is to load them with knowledge around sleep. And not just any knowledge, proven information. We pride ourselves on following evidence-based practice. We read papers, scholarly articles and peer-reviewed research to broaden our knowledge on the psychology and science of sleep. Everything we understand about sleep, is gained from reading and understanding proven facts. A good sleep educator can read relevant articles or follow evidence-based practice, moulding their mind frame around everything they have ever learnt to adjust to the new evidence. We are always upskilling ourselves and passing on our knowledge and a great sleep educator will use their knowledge gained throughout their studies and consulting to empower themselves and their clients.

 

Empathy goes a long way:

 

As a sleep educator, you don’t need to be sympathetic. Clients do not want our sympathy; they don’t want us to feel sorry for them or look at them with sympathetic eyes. They want to be understood and perhaps, relate to how they’re feeling. A good sleep educator can talk to their clients and educate them without judgement. Understanding how the client is feeling and how they came to be in the situation they are in and not judging them for that, can build a strong relationship where the clients trust you. They will put their trust and faith in you to provide what you are offering as they know that you have the heart and good nature to help them through this tough time. They know that you will be there with them every step of the way as you want to see the win too!

 

Objectivity is key:

 

A good sleep educator knows that there is not a ‘one-size fits all approach’ and that every single child is different. What works for one child will not work for the next. A parenting style that works for one parent will not work for another parent. And a families philosophies or goals will be different from one family to the next. As an educator, what works for you as a parent will not be suitable for everyone. You need to transform your personal parenting preferences to a unbiased view and educate your clients on all options around the different approaches to sleep. This will allow you to provide them with enough information to make an informed decision on what is the best for them, their child and the whole family. If a client is able to make their own choices around sleep guidance with the support of their educator, they are much more likely to succeed with the sleep plan. If a client is coerced into doing something that they do not feel comfortable or confident with, then they are not going to see the sleep plan through. This will show poor results for you as an educator so being objective to all factors is definitely key to bringing you the results you want.

 

Understanding things as a whole:

Understanding your clients current situation, sleep goals, parenting styles and parenting preferences, along with your own sleep philosophies, the psychology and science of sleep and evidence-based practices will see you to be a very successful sleep educator. Sleep education isn’t an area of minimal information; it is jam-packed full of necessary and proven information. All the pieces of the puzzle need to be in place for any sleep plan to work. Understanding all the pieces of the puzzle to then put them all together will help you guide your clients to success and achieve the results you want to as a sleep educator.

 

Shereen is a Director and Lecturer at the Institute of Parenting Support Services and Director and Senior Educator at Early Childhood Parenting. She practices in Adelaide, South Australia. She is the mother of two beautiful children. You can reach her at 0419820474 or shereen@parentingsupportservices.com.au

 

 

 

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