Using the Chair Method for Sleep Training

Baby Sleep Training With The Chair Method

Okay, here’s a harsh truth when it comes to sleep training: it’s not easy no matter which method you choose. It’s called “training” for a reason. You’re meant to train your child to fall asleep on his own and as with any new habit, especially when it comes to your baby, that can be a challenge.

All of this said, when it comes to baby sleep training and the chair method, some experts believe that it’s gentler than say, the cry it out method. But will there be tears? Yup! Will some nights seem easier than others? Probably! Will it happen overnight? Absolutely not!

If you’re even wondering what is the chair method for sleep training? Keep reading for info about the chair method for sleep training for your baby, the chair method sleep training for your toddler, and the chair sleep training method in general!

What is the chair method for sleep training?

The chair method for baby sleep training helps your infant feel safe and secure because even though you’re not holding him, he knows that you are close by… in a chair… or on the floor… or couch…  reassuring him with your presence and occasional touch as needed.  It’s also known as the “pick up / put down” method because you are sitting close enough to pick up your baby to comfort him, and then put (him) down for sleep. 

How do you do the chair method?

The chair method involves sitting next to your baby while he learns to fall asleep on his own. The idea is that you get farther away from him in his sleep space, every couple of nights, so that he learns that even when you’re not physically holding him, that you are close enough to help soothe him if he struggles to fall asleep. This doesn’t mean you’re changing your nighttime routine, not at all! Do the usual… bath, books, light music, darkened room, cuddles, feed, etc., and then take a seat close to his sleep space. This is when the training begins!

Here’s how it works: once you put your child down for sleep - while he’s drowsy, but still awake - you take a seat close to his sleep space.  

Try not to stimulate him with too much eye contact. In fact, pretend you’re not even there (easier said than done, we know!). When baby stirs, and he will, try some soothing shushing sounds before reaching in to soothe him or picking him up. This gives baby the assurance that you are close by in case he needs you.

This kind of close but limited contact is the essence of the chair method. Baby learns that you are close by to offer comfort, but also that he can get to sleep on his own. The entire process will take a couple of weeks as every few days you will move your “chair” farther and farther away from baby’s sleep space, until you are finally out the room, and baby is blissfully sound asleep.

Does the chair method work?

No sleep training method happens overnight, and while some experts and sleep consultants encourage the chair method for sleep training due to its gentle approach, it does take time and patience. As with most things baby-related, it’s important to be consistent! Routine, routine, routine will always work in your favor, especially when it comes to sleep.

Also, remember that every baby is different. What works for your best friend, sister, other child, doesn’t mean it will work for you and your baby in this very moment. Sometimes it’s as simple as realizing that bedtime may be too early... or even, too late.

It may take some trial and error to get your little one to sleep on his own. Remember, be kind to yourself, be patient with baby, and if needed, consult with your pediatrician or professional sleep consultant to help with these transitional events.

Why do parents like the chair method?

Some parents like the chair method because it allows them to soothe and comfort their baby as they sleep train, without making their little one “cry it out.” That doesn’t mean there won’t be crying, most likely there will be. But the chair method is a gradual way to sleep train with seemingly, less tears.

Why do babies like the chair method?

Babies seem to like the chair method because it allows for mom or dad to be close, soothing, and comforting while they learn to sleep through the night on their own.

Can you use the chair method with toddlers?

Most babies are ready to sleep train between 4 – 6 months, but if you’ve missed that window for any reason, don’t beat yourself up! Parenting is hard and sleep training takes patience and persistence! For some toddlers, just sensing that mom or dad is near is all the soothing they will need to fall asleep. With others, they may need a bit more. Here are some things to try to help with chair method sleep training for toddlers:

  • Be consistent with your bedtime routine
  • Make sure your toddler knows that he needs to stay in bed
  • He may cry! So give him the reassurance he needs without going overboard
  • It’s okay to leave the room, let him know you’ll be back – start doing this during daytime hours so he knows he can manage on his own for a few minutes
  • Praise him and let him know he’s doing great – you can even have a sticker chart for sleep and give prizes every week

What else can I do to help my baby sleep?

With so many sleep training methods to choose from, it really comes down to personal preference and comfort level. Consistency is key, in fact, we all do better with routines in place. A simple google search will reveal a myriad of ways to help baby sleep.

When it comes to a product that can help baby sleep, the Dreamland Baby weighted sleep sack is designed to help baby feel calm, fall asleep faster, and stay asleep longer. The gentle weight naturally reduces stress and increases relaxation through deep-pressure stimulation to give baby feelings of security and comfort. This typically results in longer stretches of quality sleep for baby… and the rest of you, too.