Before you start consulting as a Sleep Educator, you will need to have your own philosophies and ideologies on how you will practice and help families resolve their sleep issues.
There is much to know about sleep and once you are educated on all relevant information, you need to then decide what sits well with you as an educator, what resonates with you, and you do need to consider your personal philosophy and determine what it is that you really believe in. It is important to know where you are headed in this field of practice and who your audience is. You need to consider the needs and parenting styles of your clients but then offer them advice based on what sits well with your professional philosophies.
If you’re going to choose to work with all types of sleep guidance methods, whether it be cry-based or gentle, and that is what you feel confident and comfortable doing, then that is fine. If you choose to swing towards one form of sleep guidance, be it either gentle or cry-based, because you feel that gentle sleep training is too slow or that cry-based methods are too unsupportive to a child, then that is also your prerogative. You need to remember your audience’s needs and consider if your philosophies will be able to align with these, and if they don’t, whether you comfortable with that.
No matter what the situation, the choice is yours. You can decide to work with children who have a strong bond with a sleep props or not, you can work with families who choose to co-sleep or you can waver away from this. Or you can recommend only gentle sleep guidance or provide support for cry-based methods as well as gentle methods. You need to establish a clear philosophy to be able to showcase who you are as an educator and let your potential clients decide if you are a good fit for them. You are not going to be the right fit for everyone and that is ok. You may need to be somewhat flexible when first writing your philosophy and consider the fact that some families will choose not to work with you based on your ideologies, but you also need to consider if you are okay with this and if you want your personal philosophies to sit well into your practicing philosophies. You may be a gentle parent, but happy to offer information and support around cry based methods or you may not because you don’t feel comfortable with it.
At the end of the day, you need to feel comfortable with the advice that you are giving and the support that you are providing. You should have a clear picture on whether you are going to whole-heartedly stand by your personal beliefs around parenting or if you will forgo your personal parenting beliefs to support a client who needs you. Either way, the choice is yours.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org