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Celebrity Families

Why Jimmy Rees says NO to sleep training his children

“We’re not the parents that wanted to listen to our little fella scream all night”

By Fiona Wright
Sleep, or lack thereof, is one of the hardest and most challenging aspects of parenthood.
From struggling to get your child to doze off and then keeping them asleep, there are countless books, websites, programs and schools that are all dedicated to the subject of sleep training.
So, when popular children's entertainer Jimmy Rees revealed on Instagram that he and his wife Tori still cuddle their four-year-old son Lenny to sleep every night, the post was met with hundreds of comments from parents all praising this gentle parenting approach to sleep.
In the post, the star of Giggle & Hoot and recent contestant on Dancing With The Stars, wrote:
"Our sleep routine!! Kids and sleep and routines and the constant doubt, "are we doing it right" … "do I need sleep school" … it's very stressful!! From our experience, I'd say don't stress!!! Do what feels right to you!! @rees_tori have always cuddled young Lenny to sleep every night!!
"When he was breastfeeding he feel asleep 'on the boob' - a big no no apparently!! We rocked him and cuddled him and there were times we thought that it would never change, we'd be rocking him all night long!! We tried a sleep regime, we failed!! We're not the parents that wanted to listen to our little fella scream all night!!
"Anyway why am I saying all this because this is how Lenny falls asleep every night, his faced pressed against mine, kissing my cheek, cuddling his dad (or mum). This won't last forever, Tori and I look forward to bedtime, we will cherish every last cuddle coz time flies and soon he'll be 18 #parenting #dowhatfeelsright"
"This is how Lenny falls asleep every night, his faced pressed against mine, kissing my cheek..." (Instagram/ @jimmyrees)
Striking an emotional chord with his followers, Jimmy's post was flooded with comments.
"I needed to read this today. We 'boob' and rock to sleep and everyone tells us we shouldn't," said one user.
"Oh this melts my heart and actually brought tears to my eyes. So so true they won't do this forever so enjoy it while they need you!! I certainly am!!" praised another.
"You guys are parenting goals. Thank you so much for "normalising" this way of parenting and dealing with sleep," wrote one fan.
Lenny with his twin brothers, Vinny and Mack. (Instagram/ @jimmyrees)
Jimmy and his wife Tori are also parents to four-month-old twins Vinny and Mack.
Earlier in the year, Jimmy pulled out of Dancing With The Stars when at just seven-weeks-old, Mack was rushed to hospital after complications following a routine procedure.
Thankfully, Mack made a full recovery.
Story continues after video.
What is sleep training?
According to The Beyond Sleep Training Project, "sleep training" is any technique that involves a parent deciding that their child needs to find sleep independently, in a solitary space.
The position statement on the website says: "It can be hard to know what is and isn't sleep training at first, especially with the slick marketing of sleep consultants. This make it very tricky for a tired parent to distinguish techniques that have been cushioned and trussed up with words that sound gentle and caring. For us, sleep training is any action which draws a line in the sand about what comfort a parent is willing to provide their child."
The following techniques are all types of sleep training that are outside the ethos of this group/project:
  • Cry It Out
  • Controlled Crying/ Comfort Crying/ Spaced Soothing
  • Pick Up, Put Down
  • Camping out
  • Crying In Arms
  • Responsive Settling/ Comfort Settling

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