Today we’d like to introduce you to Tina Patterson.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
From a very young age, I knew I wanted to work with children. I started as a mother’s helper around age 12 and babysat and nannied for years afterward. After graduating from college with a BA in Elementary Education, I spent some time working as a paraprofessional in the school setting, I realized that I didn’t want the responsibilities that came with having my own classroom and instead wanted something more specialized within the school setting. My brother grew up stuttering and still has an amazing relationship with the speech therapist he worked with for 15+ years. Because of this connection and the way in which I personally saw the difference a speech therapist can make, I decided to pursue my MA in speech pathology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Even though I was passionate about stuttering, I decided to pursue working with the deaf/hard of hearing population instead; a population I’ve always felt drawn towards. For seven years, I worked in a school district as the speech pathologist on the deaf/hard of hearing team in addition to starting my career as an early intervention speech therapist for the deaf/hard of hearing population.
This kept me busy until the spring of 2018 when I had my first child. During my pregnancy, another teacher that I worked with had just had a baby and she had her baby sleeping through the night very early on. Even with my extensive background in working with kids (and young babies!), I realized I had no idea what I was doing when it actually came down to going home from the hospital with a little person and diving into the world of infant sleep, feeding, and survival. I decided right then to read all of the same books that my coworker had so that I too could have a baby who was a good sleeper from a very early age.
After having my now four years old in 2018, I stopped working in the schools and began working two days a week only as an early intervention speech therapist. I was working with babies birth-3, with hearing loss, in order to actually help prevent language delays that may result from their hearing loss. During this work, I often came across families struggling with sleep as well. I would give advice (for free!) to these families and to many local friends and family friends over the last few years. I love talking baby sleep and helping these families find better sleep! After having my second child in April 2020 and reliving the importance of newborn baby sleep, I continued to give out lots of sleep advice to anyone who was interested. Because of this newfound passion for infant/toddler sleep, I decided to pursue a certification to also become a pediatric sleep consultant. I completed my certification program through The Cradle Coach Academy in February 2022 and launched my business, Sleep Talkers, the same month.
Since launching, I have joined the Highlands Family Business Group and have made many local connections through my local mom groups. I have worked with a continuous stream of families – both local and throughout the United States. I am certified to work with babies and children from birth to age five. Before four months, healthy sleep foundations are outlined and actual sleep training can be introduced and implemented after four months of age. My business is virtual and is conducted mainly over text, phone and email. I can work with babies all over the country and all over the world! My sleep work is a great complement to my continued work as an early intervention speech therapist. I love helping young families with both their sleep and speech needs. By getting your baby on a healthy sleep schedule, you are able to sleep better to then better enjoy your days as a parent and your time as a family. Sleep is a vital part of our health and everyday lives and I love being able to support families in their ongoing quest for more rest and quality overnight sleep.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The actual certification program and understanding of how to support families’ sleep needs has been the easiest part. I had a lot of prior knowledge from my book reading prior to my having my oldest and I’ve always thrived working with people, building relationships and helping them better their everyday lives through more quality, restful sleep. I have met new sleep clients on airplanes, I have met new sleep clients who are related to other friends I already have, and I love being able to keep these small-world connections throughout the process.
The hardest part for me has been the business side. I have a people-oriented brain and not a business-oriented brain. I learned how to design my own website (and wanted to design it myself so I knew how to improve and fix it myself!) and launched all of the appropriate social media accounts. After doing that though, doubt and anxiety crept in. I had seen “influencers” and other sleep consultants build large social media followings and felt for sure that I wanted to do the same thing. The pressure to suddenly appear on social media, build a following, and keep growing on there, was huge. There were many sleepless nights thinking and worrying about how I would do it all if I wanted to do it all, and what that would look like. I’ve finally come to a middle ground. I’m trying to continue to take baby steps into the social media world (especially that of Instagram), while mainly focusing on my local connections and the word-of-mouth referrals that mean so much more to me. There are other “business” aspects of my new business that continue to intimidate me – Google ads, optimizing SEO, starting my email campaigns, implementing a CRM program, etc. But for now, I just need to take it one little bit at a time. I have heard that it can take two full years as a sleep consultant before you really feel solid and settled in your business practices. And if that’s the case, I still have plenty of time to learn and grow and get some of those growing pains out. All while hopefully continuing to support many local and not-so-local families with their babies’ and toddlers’ sleep needs.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Sleep Talkers?
My business is called Sleep Talkers (since I am a pediatric sleep consultant in addition to an early intervention speech therapist). Sleep Talkers is a pediatric sleep consulting company that helps parents of babies and toddlers work through sleep issues to achieve better sleep for their children and for themselves. My process begins with a free 15-minute Discovery Call where I get to hear a bit more about your current sleep needs while also explaining a bit about my processes and my sleep plans. I create personalized sleep plans for babies and children four months and older. These sleep plans can be up to 20 pages long and go over the basics of a safe sleep environment all the way to age-appropriate daytime schedules, sleep training methods, and ideas for daytime feed schedules and nighttime weaning plans. I create plans for parents of toddlers who need to be by their toddler’s bedside in order for them to fall asleep or plans for parents who find that the bedtime routine takes hours and they aren’t getting any quality time on the couch with their partner or spouse in the evenings.
My favorite feedback from families are the ones who get their evenings back, can watch endless Netflix on the couch, who sleep through the night for the first time in over a year, and who can finally start enjoying more of their life as parents. That is the part that keeps me coming back to do this over and over again. There is a science to sleep and sleep plans for these young babies and toddlers. With age-appropriate schedules in place and a consistent plan and way of responding, positive changes can be made in order for everyone in the house to start getting better sleep. My personalized sleep plans differ by a number of days of support. I am available via text, phone calls or emails during the day for a set amount of time. My Mini Sleep Talker plan includes three days of support. My Classic Sleep Talker Plan includes seven days of support. And my Deluxe Sleep Talker Plan includes 14 days of support. During our Discovery Call, I will recommend one plan over another based on your sleep needs and the length of time necessary to see successful change. To book a free call, you can visit my booking page on my website via https://www.sleep-talkers.com/calendar. I would love to help support you and your family on the path to better sleep.
What are your plans for the future?
I am just looking to continue to build my business by continuing to support more and more families on their quest for better and more restful sleep. I have many things I want to do on the business end – such as setting up my email campaigns and establishing a more efficient CRM process. Down the road, I love the idea of filming a sleep course so that I am able to help more families achieve better sleep – or even doing something creative and fun like a podcast! But for now, I am happy with where my business is. I am happy with taking one step at a time and building lasting relationships with the sleep families I am fortunate enough to connect with and get to know throughout the sleep consulting process.
- Website: https://www.sleep-talkers.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sleep.talkers
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sleeptalkers
Audrey Rouge Nicole Meganck Teresa Kellogg