Chair Method Sleep Training: A Complete Guide

Chair Method Sleep Training: A Complete Guide

Struggling to keep your eyes open after another challenging night? Does a sleep schedule seem impossible? Is your little one constantly battling you at bedtime? … exhausted? 

Don’t worry, parents, you’re not alone. 

In fact, almost all new moms and dads experience some sort of sleep deprivation. But there’s good news; implementing a gentle sleep training technique — such as the chair method — just might be able to help. 

What Is the Chair Method of Sleep Training?

Sworn by exhausted parents and baby experts everywhere, the chair method is a “no tears” sleep training technique that teaches little ones to drift off to snoozeville without being picked up when they fuss or cry. 

Also known as the “disappearing chair,” “camping out,” or the “sleep lady shuffle,” this approach is pretty popular because, unlike other sleep-training methods — such as the cry-it-out or Ferber methods — it allows parents to stay with their precious baby during sleep training.  

What Is Sleep Training? 

Simply put, sleep training — aka sleep coaching — is the process of teaching your baby good sleep habits so that they can learn to self-soothe to fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up happy in the morning. 

It contains many scientifically proven elements, from establishing a solid bedtime routine and peaceful sleep environment to multiple behavioral methods to help your little one develop and master independent sleep skills. 

Is the Chair Method Effective? 

Absolutely! However, it’s important to keep in mind that no two babies are exactly alike. In other words, what works like magic for one family may not work so well for yours and vice versa. 

Many parents have had great success using the chair method, but if it doesn’t bring the same triumphs for you and your tiny tot, simply shift gears and try something else. 

You might even consider enlisting a little help from some sleepy essentials, such as our Relaxing Pillow & Linen Spray. This snoozy mist is infused with our signature NaturalSnooze fragrance, featuring dreamy scents proven to create a peaceful rest environment that helps with falling asleep and staying asleep. 

When Should I Start Sleep Training?

Most experts suggest waiting until your baby is around 4-months old and weighs at least 12 lbs before starting your sleep training journey. Why? Because it is usually at this age, little ones are ready to learn how to self-soothe. 

And while sleep training will help tiny tots learn to love sleep (and sleeping independently), babies this age under 12lbs may still require nighttime feedings — nourishment is very important. 

If you need help figuring out if your baby is ready to begin sleep training, talk to your pediatrician, who can guide you in the right direction.  

How Does the Chair Method Work? 

So, how exactly does the chair method work? 

The chair method isn’t a tricky or convoluted process to master. All you need is a comfortable chair next to your little one’s crib, a positive attitude, and a whole lot of patience. You simply sit in the chair, so your baby is aware of your presence as they try to catch some Zzzs, and you can soothe them if they fuss or cry. 

Every few days, slowly move the chair closer to the door until eventually, you’re entirely out of the room, and your sweet angel is fast asleep. Confused? Don’t worry — we’ll break it down for you below:

Put Your Baby Down To Sleep 

Watch for sleep cues. When your little one is awake, but showing signs of sleepiness, go through the bedtime routine before placing them down in their crib to sleep.

Remain Close By in a Chair 

Most babies fuss a little before settling down — this is perfectly normal. Keep your chair close to the crib and quietly tell them it’s time for bed. Stay as calm and quiet as you possibly can, trying your best not to overstimulate your tiny tot by making eye contact or talking to them.  

If needed, offer soothing reassurance until your baby is fast asleep. Once your infant is sleeping, you are free to leave the room.  

Console Your Baby as Needed 

If your sweet pea cries, you can gently soothe and comfort them, but then sit back down in your chair while they try to settle themselves. You can coo or sing softly, but try not to interact too much. 

When your baby is asleep, you are free to leave the chair again.   

Move Chair Further Away Each Night 

Move your chair closer to the door after three nights next to the crib. Continue sitting in the room and comforting your little one if needed while they self-soothe and drift off to sleep. 

Your goal is to move your chair closer to the door every few nights until after about two weeks, you have reached the doorway. 

How Much Should I Comfort My Baby During the Chair Method?

Remember, you’re changing how your little one goes to sleep. Gentle sleep training techniques like the chair method are all about coaching your baby to catch zzzs on their own — without your help. Some tiny tots go along with the process without much protest, while others complain a bit more. 

If your sweet baby needs a little comforting during the chair method, it’s OK to offer some soothing reassurance such as a gentle coo or soft, “shhh.” Just try to avoid picking them up or making eye contact as it could be overstimulating, making it much more challenging for them to drift off to sleep.  

How Long Does the Chair Method Usually Take To Work?

The chair method may take longer than some of the other sleep-training techniques because it’s a gradual approach to teaching your baby to snooze on their own. However, if you’re consistent and patient with it, most parents generally find success with this gentle sleep training method in as little as two weeks. 

Who Can Benefit From the Chair Method? 

The chair method is an excellent and practical approach to sleep training for little ones who find the presence of their parents at bedtime calming rather than distracting or overstimulating. Even if they are quieter than a mouse, having a parent in the room can keep some kiddos wide awake. 

When To Try Something Else 

Have you stuck to the bedtime routine? Watched for sleep cues? Remained consistent? If your little one doesn’t seem to be the biggest fan of the chair method, or it simply doesn’t appear to be working after giving it a good effort, don’t give up on sleep training altogether. 

Take a deep breath, reorganize your thoughts, and try a different technique — such as the pick-up put-down method or the fading method. 

Sleep training works. Sometimes, you just need a little patience to find the correct technique for you and your family. And of course, never hesitate to ask your pediatrician for guidance if needed — that’s what they are there for! 

The Bottom Line 

If you’re not particularly fond of the Ferber method or the cry-it-out method, you might be interested in a gentler approach to sleep training — like the chair method. 

Many parents advocate this popular method, suggesting that it feels less severe or harsh than other sleep training techniques. There’s no harm in trying it so if you’re going to give the chair method a whirl, just remember patience (and a comfy chair!) is key. 

Here at Little Yawn Collective, we know how tough bedtime can be for little ones. That’s why we masterfully created our pediatrician-approved line of sleepy essentials to help! Whether your sweet baby is battling an upset tummy or simply struggling to summon the sandman, you can always count on us to bring on the Zzzs.  

Check us out today for happier bedtimes tomorrow!


Sources:

Long-term effects of pregnancy and childbirth on sleep satisfaction and duration of first-time and experienced mothers and fathers | SLEEP | Oxford Academic

Choosing a Sleep Training Method That Works for Your Family | Child Mind Institute

Ferber Method Sleep Training - When to Start? | Sleep Advisor

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