Better Sleep Toolkit - Module 5

Gentle Sleep Coaching Strategies

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Module 5 Contents

Module 5 describes 5 Sleep Coaching methods and techniques. All of these methods are considered gentle and minimize crying. There are no cry-it-out methods presented below.

Kinder Method


Kinder Method Essentials (Length 1:56)

Kinder Method Traditional (Length 38:05)

Kinder Method Light (Length 7:54)

Loved to Sleep Method

The Loved to Sleep Method is our gentlest strategy. It is a cue-based fading method that is highlighted in the "Loved to Sleep" book, by Jen Varela and Andrea Strang. It takes longer than the other methods, but can completely eliminate crying. The first video is the Loved to Sleep Essentials.

The Loved to Sleep Method is a nurturing strategy where you invest more time and reduce the amount of crying as you improve sleep. It is highly adaptable and you will likely need to adjust your steps as you progress. With the Loved to Sleep method you will gently nudge your child to better sleep. You focus on small "sleep shifts" towards your goal while keeping tears to a minimum. In fact, when your baby does cry, you can calm them right away. The second video goes into more details about the Loved to Sleep Method.

Loved to Sleep Essentials (Length 4:03)

Loved to Sleep Method (Length 11:23)

Sleep Shuffle or Chair Method

The Sleep Shuffle Method is a behavioral fading method. With this method, you gradually fade your physical presence as your child develops sleep skills.

With the Sleep Shuffle or chair method, the parent doing the sleep coaching is constantly in sight of the child. It can work well for sensitive children that need visual reassurance and that aren't over stimulated by seeing a parent. The parent starts at the crib/bed side and moves farther away from the child over time, until eventually they are outside the room. Support can continue to be given at this point, though most children will not need it by then.

Sleep Shuffle Method (Length: 10:02)

Bedtime Fading Technique

The Bedtime Fading technique involves putting your child to bed very late initially, when the sleep pressure is greater. This may be an hour or more later than the usual bedtime (essentially after the Wake Maintenance or Overtired Zone). The goal is to use the increased sleep pressure to help your child accept the new bedtime coaching easier and to help them develop a stronger association with the bedtime routine and falling asleep. Once your child is falling asleep within 20 minutes, then you can move the bedtime early again. The first video is the Bedtime Fading Essentials.

The Bedtime Fading technique is not a sleep coaching method that I recommend using on its own. I typically recommend including it with another method in circumstances where your child is already having a hard time falling asleep on their own. If your child is awake for more than one hour at bedtime, or you are worried that they will take a long time to fall asleep when you start your coaching plan, we might consider incorporating bedtime fading into your child's sleep plan. The second video is the Bedtime Fading Technique.

Bedtime Fading Essentials (Length 3:36)

Bedtime Fading Technique (Length 7:43)

Constant Presence Technique

The Constant Presence Technique is adapted from the book Sleeping like a Baby by Avi Sadeh. 

With this technique, a parent is present in the room with the child, either sleeping or pretending to sleep, for the entire night, for about a week. This reassures the child that their parent is present and that it is OK to go to sleep, or to go back to sleep. This technique is effective with children who have separation anxiety.

This technique combines very well with the Sleep Shuffle, though it can be incorporated into any of the sleep coaching methods.



Constant Presence Technique (Length 8:26)

Preparing for the First Night of Sleep Coaching

Before you start your sleep coaching, here's some reminders of what you should be worrying about, and NOT worrying about, on night 1.


Preparing for the First Night of Sleep Coaching (Length 2:20)