In a world first, an online sleep and settling program for children from newborn to five-years-old has been developed by a paediatrician that focuses on dads (or the non-breastfeeding parent) as the secret weapon to a good night’s sleep.

Dr Daniel Golshevsky has designed and written the Dr Golly Baby Sleep Program to empower parents with the skills and knowledge to ensure the whole family gets a good night’s sleep.

This is music to any parent’s sleep-deprived ears, especially for father-of-three and four-time AFL premiership winner, Jordan Lewis.

Jordan and his wife, Lucy share three boys, Freddie, Hugh and Ollie. Being a busy working parent and a professional athlete, Jordan admits to having concerns about his sons’ sleeping routines and how this affected his on-field performance. That’s why Jordan reached out to Dr Golly to ensure no one in the family was bleary eyed.

The 35-year old chats to Bounty Parents about his family’s experience with the Dr Golly Sleep Program, the importance of rewarding your child after a good night’s sleep and how getting the kids to sleep will benefit the whole family.

AFL star, Jordan Lewis with his three sons and wife, Lucy.

What has your family’s experience been like with the sleep program?

Our experience has been fantastic and has definitely benefited everyone in our household. Our children Freddie, Hugh and Ollie were great sleepers until they were about two-years-old and we had to start transitioning from sleeping in a cot to a bed and cutting back on the amount of naps throughout the day.

These transitions became really difficult and made our boys quite unsettled, so that’s one of the reasons we reached out to Dr Golly. He gave us the reassurance that we were doing our best and doing the right thing, but it was great to get some extra tips along the way that really helped smooth the process.

Techniques such as playing white noise in that settling down period and ensuring the room is dark really helped.

Part of Dr Golly’s philosophy is that dad’s are the secret weapon to getting their baby or child to sleep. How did you find this work? 

Lucy and I have always taken a team approach to getting the kids settled and putting them into bed. When the boys were younger it was easier for me to settle them at night because I didn’t smell of breastmilk and therefore, they never expected me to feed them! This also meant that Lucy could sleep, which was so important for her body regeneration. I’d encourage more fathers to get involved in the settling of their babies, the benefits extend far beyond than just establishing a good routine.

When we had our twins, with me more involved in the sleep routine, it meant that Lucy was able to spend more quality time with our oldest. This also prevented him from acting out from not being the centre of attention once the new babies arrived.

Did any of your children have sleep issues?

Freddie was a good sleeper, but our twins would often wake each other when one of them became unsettled. We had to teach them how to calm themselves down because they were in the same room. Once all the boys transitioned to a big bed, we introduced a Gro Clock at night so the kids knew that if it was a certain colour it meant to stay quiet so the other baby could keep sleeping.

Any tips and techniques you have learnt after doing the program?

We have implemented the CALM technique (Chart; Award; Lead back to bed; Model behaviours), which is a great way to help the kids learn to stay in their bed and sleep through the night.

A component of the CALM method that really worked for our family was creating a bedtime rule chart and then rewarding the kids when they followed the rules such as staying in your own bed, being quiet or not getting out of bed till the sun comes up. We found that the awards gave our boys a lot of positive reinforcement, they settled down quicker and their bedtime routines became more consistent.

The award wasn’t a big gesture, it was as simple as a sticker or a stamp. Once they started to get the hang of it and received lots of awards, we changed it to a full week of stickers meant watching two episodes of Bluey on a Saturday morning! We had to make it as fun as possible so it didn’t lose its effectiveness.

What were the benefits of the whole family getting a good night’s sleep?

Once the kids were able to sleep through the night, we went to bed knowing we weren’t going to be getting up and we were all able to fall into much deeper sleep. In terms of body regeneration, sleep is so important from a professional athlete point of view. The benefits were huge waking up in the morning, being able to go to training without feeling like you’re fatigued already.