Sleep schools have been relatively common in Australia for quite some time. They are an oft recommended option for parents struggling with babies and toddlers who won’t settle and have little in the way of sleep routines. This pattern of sleeplessness can be detrimental for parents, and although sleep schools target babies and toddlers, the entire family can benefit.
Despite being far from unheard of in Australia, there remains a distinct lack of cohesive information about Australian sleep schools. A quick search will show a number of ‘native experience’ articles about mums and dads who’ve tried sleep school and either succeeded or failed. But there aren’t really any guides for parents to educate them on what a sleep school does, who it might work for, and where they are located.
Well there is now!
What Is A Sleep School?
Essentially, a sleep school is a kind of clinic where parents can come to get assistance in training their babies to sleep through the night. By the time a baby is about three months old, they should be starting to sleep through the night, but for some babies this process is far from instinctual. For new parents, the idea of their baby sleeping from 7pm – 7am is entirely foreign, and their own sleep deprivation can have a marked effect on the wellbeing of them and their child.
Sleep schools tend to run a number of different programs for parents to attend, and in some cases siblings and partners are welcomed. Usually, the programs are in the form of 5-night or 7-night stays, but intensive two day visits are sometimes offered. The schools are often headed up by a sleep specialist, and when parents arrive they are assigned a specially trained nurse who will guide them through the process of training their baby to sleep.
The idea behind sleep schools is that the habit of sleeping must be learned. It begins with babies learning to self-sooth, which will allow them to wake between sleep cycles and fall asleep without disturbing their sleeping parents.
Who Can Attend A Sleep School?
There are now a range of sleep schools in Australia that provide baby sleep training services. Each of these schools have their own regulations about what age they’ll accept babies, and you’ll need to check the specifics with the school of your choice. Some schools will take babies from the three-month point, or even a little before, while others do not allow babies until they are already six months old.
What Are The Costs Involved?
Again, this depends on the sleep school, and on your own health insurance. Some of the sleep schools are available through private health insurance with minimal excess, while others may not be covered. Talk to both the school, and your insurer, before deciding on the best option.