We get this question a lot from parents: how do I know if Batelle is the right program for me?
We’ve always been intrigued to see which families do well and why. After working closely with thousands of people, we have distilled the most successful families into four different “personas”. These are not designed to be comprehensive (a lot of successful families fall outside of these categories), but rather to be allegorical: seeing why certain types of people tend to do well, can help you to better understand the fundamental principles of Batelle and gauge if it’s a fit for you.
As you will see, there is a variety of different paths to success. We have gotten really good at identifying not only what the right path to success is for your child, but also what strengths of yours we can lean into to get you to the finish line.
So let’s dive right in. We have four different types: process-oriented parents, ‘why’ parents, the parents-who-test-things, and lastly the introspective or conscious parents.
Who they are: These parents are the operations managers or personal trainers of the world. They thrive in process and structure. They are excellent at carrying out tasks, are always prepared, and are sticklers for detail. They know exactly what they want, and are out to get it.
Why they do well: These parents are powerhouses. They are exhausted, usually dealing with children (sometimes multiple), spouses, and work, and still have time to pre-read what they need to so that they can be fully prepared for the night. It is their drive, organization, and preparation that leads them to success.
Why these are such useful traits in the process, is that a lot of what we teach you is formulaic. We understand from you certain inputs (child’s age, sleep issues, your preferences, etc), and we present you with an output (aka your personalized plan) that has been proven to work best with your specific set of variables. What this means is that every step of the way is carefully mapped out, and while it can be (and is) adjusted as you go along and we receive more information and data, there is a lot of preparation a parent can do upfront.
One of the reasons why Batelle works is that we coach parents to reinforce to their children that they can trust their response and engagement to be predictable. The more prepared a parent is going into a night, the more present that parent can be (and therefore the more reassuring). But also, the more prepared the parent is, the more predictable they can become. And for all those process-orientated parents out there – predictability is just repeating a process!
These parents excel because they are great at following a plan, preparing ahead of time, and are steady and consistent in their implementation. Read here and here about a story of some parents who took a process-orientated approach.
Next up we have the “why” parents.
Who they are: These are the parents who are always wanting to know ‘why’. These are the philosophers, doctors, therapists, or academics of the world. They are always curious, always in search of fundamental truths that can explain the world around them.
Why they do well: They do well because they always understand the underlying reasons first. Batelle has been built using first principles of early childhood development, and everything we teach is rooted in research and logic. There are good reasons to why we suggest introducing your child to the principles through play. There is a robust rationale for why we first ask you to layer on new behaviors before removing disruptive habits. And if you ask why we use the voice as a key communication strategy – you best bet that we have answers for you.
And the more a parent understands the underlying principles, the better they are able to apply what they learn in a way that is fully aligned with the original intention. Process-orientated people will succeed because they follow instructions. The “why” parents on the other hand will succeed because they understand the intention of the instructions. They may not follow things exactly to the letter, and they may not even be that prepared going into a night, but they understand the essence really well – and therefore are able to achieve the outcome, even if the delivery looks a bit different.
Here are some examples of our curious-type parents who took the principles and ran with them.
Not that dissimilar from the “why” parents, we have the “parents-who-test-things”, or the other way I like to refer to them as the “entrepreneurs”.
Who they are: These are the tinkers, the advertisers, business owners, social media experts, and marketers. The thing they know how to do really well is test, iterate, and adapt. They tend to be spontaneous – happy to wing it and see what happens. They are hungry for feedback and learning, constantly wanting to improve or optimize something. They learn best by doing and getting feedback at the moment rather than being told what to do or learning from others.
Why they succeed: we do not see a lot of preparation in these families, but their high level of coachability means that they learn really fast, and we can guide them at the moment. One of the values we offer to parents is an in-the-moment coaching function. This gives parents access to our experts day or night, where they can not only ask questions but are even able to ask for what we call “live guidance”. Live guidance is what it says on the tin: we coach parents in real-time through bedtimes and/or wake-ups. Parents are able to speak to our experts via our App and get help troubleshooting what is going on. We even gave parents the option to purchase a camera, which gets linked up to our dashboard. This enables our experts to be able to see and hear what is going on so that they can more effectively coach parents on exactly what to do, how to interpret what is going on, and how to improve their responses.
For the live guiding to be most useful, the parent in question has to be coachable and open to the feedback our experts provide. We see parents with a testing and learning mentality do best with this support, as they are able to assimilate information quickly, tweak their responses, and learn on the go. They tend to be very open-minded and are happy to try things out, even if they don’t fully understand the rationale or have low confidence in its success. These parents are comfortable in some chaos and have this uncanny ability to stay calm and focused even when they don’t know if they are doing things correctly.
The real secret for these families is that they are able to figure out what works and what doesn’t very quickly and are looking for maximum impact rather than perfection. They are not fixated on getting bedtime perfect or their communication to an A+. Instead, they tend to follow something closer to the 80:20 rule (what 20% of work will provide 80% of the impact). These families have often adapted something to suit their needs and will feel comfortable graduating even if there are still a lot of improvements they can make.
Once a family joins Batelle, they have access to coaching for ~5 years after graduation. Our testing parents are the ones who don’t come back for advice until they need to (as opposed to our process parents who are always prepared for changes like travel, moving house etc. way in advance!). But given that these parents don’t need to know everything ahead of time, this ability to ask questions in an on-demand-style, we find works really well. This family exemplifies a parent who approaches sleep school with this mindset.
Lastly, we have the introspective parents, or “conscious” parents.
Who they are: These are the parents who have read all the parenting books they could find. They know who Dr Becky and the Good Inside is, they have read Dr Shefali’s “The Conscious Parent” book and they probably know all the theories around attachment parenting, Montessori’s or Waldorf. They have read up about all the sleep training methods, and do not want to do cry-it-out or Ferber techniques. They work in all industries but have a yoga, breath work, or meditation class booked in weekly and are masters of self-regulation, calm, and presence.
Why they succeed: the parents who fit this category are often some of our biggest advocates. They resonate a lot with what we teach, either because it intuitively makes sense to them, or because it aligns with a pre-established parenting philosophy. While Batelle is not wedded to any one philosophy, our grounding in early childhood development principles shares the same roots with a lot of these other schools of thought. For example, in order for us to address the root causes of sleep disruptions, we need to meet a child’s need to feel safe and reassured: very similar to what conscious parenting practices teach. In order for a child to learn how to be more independent at night, they need to understand what the expectations are (holding clear, kind boundaries) and be given the space to express their response to these expectations, without a parent trying to appease or placate them.
Another example is that we use ‘play’ as a key strategy to help a child learn and become comfortable with upcoming changes. This helps them assimilate information more quickly as they are able to model desired behavior in a non-threatening environment (think of it like a dress rehearsal). We also involve a variety of senses (sound, sight, touch), which improves a child’s learning process. This is probably the same reason Montessori employs these strategies.
These parents are often doing Batelle as a way to not only solve a problem but to deeply connect with their child. Why these parents become such advocates is that they really lean into the challenges and create meaning in each moment. They are able to handle their child’s big emotions with calm and love and really hold space for whatever emotions a child needs to express. When a parent is able to model this calm, while also validating a child’s needs, the outcome is always going to be positive. These parents may not be the most organized, they may not need as much guidance and they may not even want to know the underlying reasons for everything. For them, this is about relationships. And if you approach this process with your relationship with your child at the front and center, you can’t go wrong.
Here are some examples of our parent advocates.
There is no one approach that succeeds in our program. These personas are overly simplified, and there is a good chance you see yourself in multiple of them. Hopefully what you take away from this is that there are a number of different ways we can support our families.
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