CHE RUDDELL – AUSTRALIA – CERTIFIED MARCH 2017
- What drew you to making the life changing decision to study and become a sleep consultant?
Like most parents, my respect and understanding for sleep and how important sleep is for children deepened when we had our first child. This is when I developed a deeper desire to help my children sleep in the best way possible. From the time I had my first child, I started to research and read as much as possible about children’s sleep, in order to try and gain as much information as possible to help my children sleep their best. But it wasn’t until my third child was about 7 months old, that I decided to study and complete the Baby Sleep Consultant Training Program.
- What sort of clients motivate you the most? Tell us a story if you have one.
To be honest, all my clients to date have challenged and motivated me to continue helping more children and families sleep happy again.
A big motivation for me is knowing that any time spent with families is going to help restore more sleep and life balance into the family and child’s life. Like my husband says, ‘sleep deprivation is the root of all evil’ and by working together with a family we are able to help reduce and even eliminate that dreaded sleep deprivation for everyone.
Sleep training (or coaching) can have such a huge and even immediate impact on a family and child’s life.
For example, I worked with a family who were wanting help with their 5-month-old daughter. This young baby had been dealing with ‘reflux’, minimal sleep, only pram day naps and multiple night time wake ups from approximately birth. For this family, they had chosen a 12-hour home consult and phone call follow up for the next 2 weeks. A sleep plan was written and discussed before our home consult, then during our home consult we started the sleep plan, which was personalised for the baby. From day one, this baby responded really well to her learn to sleep method and sleep plan.
From day one, she had 3 perfect day sleeps (with minimal resettling) and then slept through the night from night one. She also confidently put herself to sleep from day one, with less and less protesting at each sleep time.
By the end of my 2 weeks together with this family, we had settled any little issues that occurred and she was sleeping, feeding and started on solids like a gem. The parents were also able to stop her relax mediation as she no longer needed it. This was such a great result for this family as this was baby number 2, dad worked really long hours and mum was exhausted.
This is just one example of what a significant life changing impact a little extra sleep and learning can do. Helping a child who is struggling with sleep, to gain more sleep has significant health benefits for not only the child but whole family. Understanding how hard life is for everyone when a child is struggling with sleep, it motivates me to do my best to help as many families as possible hopefully elevate any unnecessary sleep deprivation.
- Is the role rewarding, what do you find rewarding?
Being a Sleep Consultant is defiantly a rewarding and enjoyable role!
As well as being a Sleep Consultant, I am also a Paediatric Registered Nurse. I am so lucky to have 2 jobs I truly love which I’m passionate about. Throughout my career in Paediatrics, I have nursed, dear I say, hundreds of families and children whose stress could have been alleviated that little bit more, by gaining that little bit more sleep. I now find it so rewarding to be able to help families when children are still struggling with sleep, as well as those who are just needing that extra sleep support. I am so grateful for the extra knowledge and skills I have learnt (and still developing). The satisfaction and rewarding outcome that comes from helping any family gain more sleep is worth more than gold.
- What has been your biggest challenge to date, how are you dealing with this?
I have been so blessed to date to have worked with the most wonderful families and children.
My biggest challenge so far would have been one of my earlier families I had worked with. The sleep issues that we were working on were relatively straight forward, but for some reason the sleep wins were small and frustrating. Towards the end of our time together it became very apparent to me that the child’s mother was really struggling with parenthood and life, greatly to do with the lack of sleep. But unfortunately, I believed it just wasn’t the right time for her to help her daughter learn to sleep better. This really rattled me and I was devastated that I could not have helped out more. However, sleep improvements were made and she had all the tools to complete the learn to sleep process when she was ready. I was so happy to hear from this family a few months later, telling me that they had completed the learn to sleep process and their daughter had been sleeping well since. This was a great outcome in the end, but still an area that I am very aware of; are parents ready to start the learn to sleep process, and how can I keep everyone on track to maintain the best sleeping outcome for their child.
- Why do you believe sleep is important for all families?
Without sounding dramatic, I believe ‘sleep is the foundation of our whole existence’. A well-rested body will not only function at its best, but also allows us to have mental clarity and enjoy life that bit more. I also believe that healthy sleep habits and sleep quality is under rated and even laughed off. But in real life facts, sleep deprivation, short or long term has significant and even damaging effects on our mind and body. Healthy sleep habits and sleep quality is one of the more precious gift you can give your children!
By creating a healthy relationship with sleep from the youngest of ages, we are essentially setting our child up in life to be the healthiest, most amazing versions of themselves. Without going into too much science talk, sleep deprivation in ALL ages has frightening physical and mental effects on our body. Therefore, by creating a happy sleeping relationship for your whole family we are helping everyone enjoy life to the fullest and for the longest time possible.
- Tell me one thing you learnt in your studies that will stick with you forever?
The biggest lesson I believe I learnt was how to listen to the families I am working am with. I learnt (and always still learning) how to ask the ‘right’ questions to gain the most information possible about their child. This helps me to write the most accurate and personalised sleep plan, tailored to suit their child’s sleeping needs. The textbook information, modules and lecture are wonderful, so informative. But unless you have the skill to put all that knowledge into practice then it can be a struggle for everyone. I really appreciate the fact that I am still learning how to improve families sleeping goals. However, I believe my respect and understanding for how I need to work with families is a skill I am very grateful for and vividly remember Emma and my mentor (Louise) talking about during my course.
- What are your plans moving forward for the next 12 months?
During the next 12 months, I hope to help more families. I am looking forward to getting involved in more community projects, as well as holding more Learn To Sleep Workshops for my local community. I am passionate about children learning to sleep happy and families gaining more sleep all round. Therefore, I will be doing my best to work with more and more families to help achieve a more balanced and well resting life for all.
- If you could tell tired desperate parents one thing, what would that be?
I have so many families contact me desperate for sleep and to help with their little ones. But sadly, what I find happens is they get cold feet and worry that it’s all too hard and stressful. I also have families who will contact me on and off for 6+ months regarding how sleep deprived everyone is, then when they finally commit to the learning process it’s often fast and less stressful than they think. This is true, the learning process is defiantly not as scary, hard or long as you may think. Once the learning process has started, your child is often so amazing and everyone is sleeping and feeling better sooner.
So, my advice to tired desperate parents is to ask for help and commit to the learning process. There is help available for everyone’s sleep deprivation, don’t let your fear as parents hold us back from gaining more sleep for everyone. Never feel that you’re alone because everyone struggles with their child’s sleep as some point, but the struggle does not have to continue. It essentially your choice as a parent, but know that teaching your child to sleep is a holistic and loving process for them which can only bring a happier, healthier version of themselves.
CHE RUDDELL – April 2018