Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Sleep Workshop - Achieve with Carolina, the Pediatric Sleep Consultant


Last week I got a chance to attend a sleep workshop held by Carolina Kolik-Romanyuk, a certified pediatric sleep consultant at Achieve with  Carolina and author of Goodnight Melanie! Good Morning Cory!, a kids' book about sleep. Carolina shared with her audience the science behind making a full night of sleep a reality. Turns out using a specific method is only a small part of it. Sleep training is mainly about syncing the body's internal sleeping clock (circadian rhythm) with an age-appropriate schedule. Figuring out how to tweak the child's routine during the day is what actually helps form a healthy sleep behavior at night. After the workshop I got to chat with our host and find out a few things about her.


Carolina is a mom of two beautiful boys who left a career in finance to pursue her passion in helping parents. She shared with me that whenever she had company over, she would put her children down at bedtime and return to the living room after just a few minutes to amazed glances of her friends. "Why are you here?" - they would ask, expecting her to stay in the kids' bedrooms for hours to get them down, a scene so familiar to many moms at bedtime. Carolina began by sharing her techniques with friends, then quickly realized her expertise was needed in many households, as her friends began to refer her to other sleep-deprived parents. That's how her corporation was born.



Carolina received formal training and certification at the Family Sleep Institute under the guidance of Deborah Pedrick, a pioneer child sleep consultant and founder of the institute. She shared with me one of the most difficult cases she had, where the child was 18 months old and slept in bed with mom, latched on for the entire night, while dad slept on the couch. After two weeks in her program, the little one was trained to sleep in her own room and mom and dad were able to leave her with grandparents and go on a much-needed vacation!


Some things I've learned at the workshop:
  • How to calm a crying baby with a simple breathing technique
  • What is the circadian rhythm and how it affects child's sleep
  • What is a sleep trifecta - a unique concept created by Carolina herself, which involves the right amount of sleep at the right time in the right place.
  • How to prep your little one's room for sleep:
    • Use black out curtains to keep the room dark
    • Ideal room temperature is between 68 and 72 degrees (we use this gadget to check both humidity and temperature)
    • Ideal humidity should be at least 40% (use a humidifier to control!)
    • Fresh air (use an air purifier and a diffuser for essential oils)
    • Sound machine with white noise which should be kept at least 3 feet away from the child near the source of noise (i.e. door, window).

  • Children can begin a sleep-shaping program at as early as 4 months.
  • Scheduling is key. Babies thrive on familiar patterns.
  • Last thing the child sees before bed is the first thing they expect to see when they wake up.
  • Diet is very important in shaping sleep - make sure your little one has the proper amount of magnesium (leafy greens, nuts, avocado, yogurt), calcium (milk, broccoli), Vitamin B (also broccoli, lettuce and beets) and potassium (bananas, great before-bed snack!).
  • Give your little one some time alone during the day. If a child doesn't learn how to spend time on their own during the day, how do you expect them to be alone at night?
  • Pacifiers are a great way to help babies soothe and also prevent the risk of SIDS
  • Above all, stay consistent with whatever approach or method you are using!


If you are battling sleepless nights, spend hours negotiating bedtime, dealing with early wake-ups, have a little one who refuses naps or any other sleep-related issues, consider reaching out to Carolina and discover how she can help your family. Her approach goes far beyond the usual sleep training methods and works with both you, your child, your family dynamic and your schedule to figure out what issues are preventing everyone from getting a night-ful of rest. She offers different packages with consultations done online, over the phone and in person and works with kids from 4 months to 10 years old.

It was a pleasure to meet such an inspirational figure and a knowledgeable expert and I look forward to Carolina's other workshops and events!



Images courtesy of InnaFay.com, kids' & maternity photographer behind InnaFairy.com blog
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