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The Batelle Method

The Batelle Method is a responsive process that supports your child’s ability to sleep more independently. Everyone we work with has a unique story and a one-of-a-kind little person in their family who is struggling with sleep, so we take these details into consideration as we formulate a plan that implements the fundamental truths underlying our method, which are supported by the most up-to-date research on child development and psychology.

They are not “forced” into compliance as a result of nights of disengaging. They are not “trained” to stop calling out to you when they need you. And lastly, they are not “tricked” by putting them down drowsy, and then disappearing.

Our method makes it so that children really and truly are able to sleep without you there with them. If you are thinking, “there is no way, there is no world where my child ever learns how to fall asleep independently or link their sleep cycles (sleep through the night) independently”. . .

Welcome. You’re in the right place.

Where you are now

Your child seems like they will never sleep independently because right now, their sense of safety at night is linked to your presence. When you are there, they can sleep. When you are not there, they cannot. In their minds, they are only “safe” and “secure” when they can see and feel you.

However, that is not true. They are just as safe and just as secure even when you are somewhere else (like in the kitchen).

What we do at Batelle, simply put, is help them make that connection. We help them trust that you are always nearby and will respond, and that they are safe whether you are in bed with them or out of sight.

And if you are thinking, “but I always respond now, and my child still won’t go to sleep without me there (or maybe even with me there!)”, we believe you! That is what is happening with many of our families. The key here is not that you respond (that’s a given in our program), but rather HOW you respond. Our goal here is not to put your child to sleep, but rather to support your child in teaching them how to put themselves to sleep by choice. While other methods rely on disengaging to teach your child to stop relying on you, we teach you how to effectively engage to teach them how to put themselves to sleep.

Once your child really understands that you will always respond and they can predict what you will do if they call for you, they can relax and choose to sleep calmly and independently.

Ok, but how do we do that?

Great question. We believe that if we are really going to solve the issue from the source rather than just get a result at any cost, this cannot be a cry-it-out method. If our goal is for your child to feel so certain that you will always respond – that they feel calm enough to choose independent sleep – there is no world where we get them there through disengaging with them.

Disengaging with a child may sometimes lead to a child who sleeps, but the child is not sleeping because they are trusting. This is why we are committed to a responsive approach, not only because our method works, but because it solves the root cause of the child not sleeping, while reinforcing the secure attachment between you and your child.

So, what is the actual method?

Our method will teach you physical, verbal, and emotional engagement strategies, in other words, how to respond to your child to support them in learning how to choose independent sleep.

Let’s look at a fairly common situation as an example to give you a general idea. We’ll assume your child is 13-months-old, sleeps in a crib, and usually needs to be rocked to sleep. 

Imagine you place your child in the crib at bedtime fully awake, and you are right next to their crib. They begin crying as they want to be rocked to sleep. You will start engaging with your child using Batelle’s strategies.

The goal here is NOT to use these strategies to lull your child to sleep. You likely have a way to do that yourself and don’t need us to teach you a different way. The goal, however, is to balance being fully supportive of your child while allowing them “space” to choose to sleep on their own. Please remember that “space” could involve quite a bit of proximity if they were needing to be rocked up to that point, so even high-level physical interaction and proximity can still be considered great progress.

Night after night, your child will begin trusting your responses more and more, and will start linking those sleep cycles and being able to go to sleep independently. As you progress, we will adapt your plan as needed (with what we know works and reinforces trust given how your child is responding). Pretty soon, you are both sleeping in your own beds all night.

You said this method was responsive, this sounds a bit like the phase-out method to me...

This is not what you’re thinking when you consider the typical phase-out method. Here is why:

When you start putting space between you and your child, at first your child will likely communicate to you (whether in words or tears) that they were okay with what you did on previous nights at their bedside, but now you have moved away, and they do not like that. A phase-out method will have you stay away from your child and not be fully responsive at this point.

Instead, here is what we are doing...

We are getting your child to begin to see, understand, and experience that even when you are a foot away, you still come back, you still respond. This starts to build up trust in the space between you. And once they trust the space between you, once they see that you always come back to them (not to put them to sleep, but to support them in choosing to sleep) no matter where you are in the room, they start feeling confident enough to choose sleep more independently because they know that if at any point they need you, you will be there for them.

As you work through your plan (which is personalized to your child’s age, sleep issues, temperament, bed-set-up, the list goes on…) we continue to build this out—step by step, showing your child that they can trust the space between you. You are fully responsive to them regardless of where you are in their room, or even if you have progressed out of their room, while simultaneously allowing them to learn how to choose to sleep themselves.

By the end of your plan, you get your child to a place where, as a result of this experience, instead of anchoring to your physical presence or contact (or an experience like rocking or feeding), they are anchoring to the trust they have in you and your responsiveness. When they are anchored to that, they don’t need you there to settle to sleep at the start of the night or during the night and are able to sleep independently.

This is what our responsive method looks like, and this is what can change your child’s sleep for the better, while continuing to respect their intrinsic need for your parental love and protection.