Awake? How is that possible?

Awake? How is that possible?

When you are teaching your child the art of sleeping the best way to be successful is for your child to be placed in the place or sleep (bassinet or crib) awake. People often look at me sideways and say.. “is it that easy?”

Well, it may seem “easy” but the reality is little ones often cry when placed in the crib. It does not have to be difficult. It can take time and there are many things that you can do; however, the first thing you need to remember is that it is not your job to get your child to sleep. It is your job to provide your child with the opportunity to sleep.

 

Say What?

I often hear from people that they cannot get their child to fall asleep and it becomes an exercise in frustration to get their child to sleep.

A great deal of time, little ones are falling asleep in someone’s arms and then being transferred to the crib. Put yourself in that little human’s place..

You fell asleep all comfy and cozy in someone’s arms and then you wake up in this crib! You have no idea how you got there. Not sure about you but I would be mad!

Okay, So Now What?

The first step is to make sure you are offering your child the chance to go to sleep when your child is physically ready. Your child should be in the state between not tired yet and overtired. This is where focusing on how much time your child can handle being awake comes in handy (Wake time).

Now that you have an idea of when your child should be ready for sleep, you then place your little one in the crib awake (or at least drowsy). If your little one has fallen asleep in your arms, gently stir your child as they go in the crib so they are aware that they are in the crib. This is when the tears can happen.

If your child is crying you can respond by giving your child a chance to settle on their own, you go be present, or you can try picking up and putting down until your little one falls asleep. I usually recommend that you use the 5 steps until your little one falls asleep. Here is a link to an article ( members only..not a member become one today) that helps with the 5 steps..

https://parentingfoundations.net/night-waking-how-do-i-respond/

It seems to take a long time..

It is important that you look at the clock when you are doing this as it does feel like it takes forever but in reality, it may not be that long. If it is taking more than 15 minutes for more than 4 days for your little one to fall asleep then I would look at the time your little one is awake between periods of sleep.

As your child gets used to going to sleep on their own you will be able to lay your child down and walk out of the room. This dream will soon be your reality!!

Key Night Time Phrase..What is the Point?

Key Night Time Phrase..What is the Point?

 

Once a child is over 4.5 months of age they will begin the process of producing melatonin. Melatonin is the sleep hormone that allows are little ones to go to sleep and stay asleep for long periods of time. When we use a key phrase to identify that it is time to sleep, it can help with our little ones settling down and preparing for sleep which can cause the melatonin to start to produce.

I have had the opportunity to hear many different key phrases that people use for sleep. The following are some of the most common:

  • “Night Night”
  • “Sleepy Time”
  • “Good Night”
  • “Do do”
  • “Time for Sleep”

This key phrase comes in really handy in the middle of the night or early morning when your child requires a reminder that it is still time for sleep. When you use your key  phrase it is often enough to help your little one attempt to go back to sleep. It basically does 2 things. It reminds them that it is still time for sleep and it allows them to hear your voice which can be very calming.

A key phrase may seem like a very simple tool; however, sometimes it is the small things that make a huge impact!!

The Power of 15 minutes

The Power of 15 minutes

I often find it incredible how a simple 15 minute time interval can make such a difference. 

When we are teaching our young children how to sleep I find that people will move mountains, buy all the gadgets available, read all the books and not be aware of the power of a time block that will improve sleep immensely.

It can be really frustrating as a parent when a little one seems to be getting in the groove of sleeping and then bam, sleep has exited the building. Adding 15 minutes of being awake before each sleep can be an absolute game changer! 

If your child has been sleeping okay and then things fall off the rails, simply add 15 minutes of awake time before you offer a nap or bedtime. Falling off the rails usually means waking up several times a night, waking for a long period of time, waking at the crack of dawn, or fighting going to sleep. Often when you add the 15 minutes of awake time your child gets back on track quite quickly.

 You may find that you are adding 15 minutes of awake time every couple of weeks. That is quite normal!

Another way to use the 15 minute block of time is to only spend 15 minutes trying to get your child back to sleep after a short nap. I often hear families that will keep trying to get their child back to sleep every 30 minutes or so after a short nap. This turns into an exercise of frustration for the child and parent.  After 15 minutes of trying to get your child back to sleep, stop and wait for the next period of time when your child is ready for sleep according to her desired wake time.

Do not underestimate the power of the 15 minute block!

 

Communication: Another thing to add to the Job Description of a Parent…

Communication: Another thing to add to the Job Description of a Parent…

There are a number of duties or responsibilities that a parent has that if you put them on a resume you would land a job pretty fast 🙂

One of the roles that came to mind as I was reviewing all the information about communication in young children is Interpreter or Translator. 

Let’s just think about this for a moment…

 

For the first 6 to 9 months of your child’s life you knew what your child needed by the sounds that they made, especially their cries. 

Around the 8 to 9 month mark you started to be able to understand what your child wanted by their actions or gestures. When your child started to wave bye bye you knew they wanted to leave.

A great example of this happened today while I was out shopping. A little guy around 10 to 11 months was shopping with his mom and he was pointing and making noises. At first she said “I don’t know what you want” and he pointed again and she then handed him the grape he was pointing at without even realizing what she was doing.

When your child was between 1 to 2 years of age, you understood what she needed when she stated one word. That one word had a great deal of meaning. When a child this age states one word it can mean many different things so you help your child be understood by others by translating what that one word means. Here is a great example.

Around the age of 3 your child will become a really good communicator; however, they still struggle with actually communicating their feelings. You will be the person that understands what is going on for your child most days (there will be some days that you will feel like you have no idea who your child is) and you will help them inform others as to how they are feeling.

As your child approaches 5 to 6 years of age your role of the translator will reduce. There will still be times when you know what is going on for your child and even they will not have a clue as to why they are behaving the way they are. 

Until the day my Dad passed away he knew what I was feeling just by the tone of my voice. 

Being a parent seems to gives you the superpower of understanding this little human more than even you will know!

Keep on being the Interpreter or Translator!

 

As Always, Be the Parent You Want to Be!

 

 

 

 

 

Safe Place to Land

Safe Place to Land

I often have conversations with parents that tell me that their child acts completely different around them. People will complain that their child will throw epic meltdowns, scream, yell, cry, or are rude to them. I will then congratulate those parents.

Say what!!!

When children feel safe they unload feelings. Feelings are unloaded through tantrums, verbal expression, and other actions. When a child unloads feelings they have found their safe place to land.

Your child is not being difficult and saving it for you. they are letting go of all the day’s frustrations and hurts that pile-up. You may be thinking “awesome I am the dumping ground, sweet!”. If your child did not unload the unwanted feelings then your child could end up having mental health issues.

How do you know if there is more going on and they are not just unloading?

Typically, if the meltdowns are happening in other situations with other people I begin to look at other possible reasons for the behaviour. The golden rule is if the behaviour is occurring in at least 2 different places. The most common places are at home and at school or daycare.

I also get concerned if the child’s meltdowns are increasing a great deal in intensity for a long period of time or the meltdowns include harming oneself or others.

Okay, now I am concerned. What is next?

 

1. The first step is take a step back and breathe. Try to take a realistic look at the behaviour. 

2. Next step, talk to your child’s doctor and make sure there is a note made of your concerns. Then follow the advice of the doctor.

3. The next step is to speak to your child’s teacher(s) to see if they are concerned. Ask for a referral to services they have access to. This can take a while to get your child resources that are available.

4. Look for private resources. Ask your network of friends or family for their recommendations. The best way to find the appropriate resource depends on what you think the underlying issue is. If you are not sure what is going on you can start with an appointment with a child psychologist or counsellor.

5. Develop a plan of how you can help your child through the difficult emotions and be your child’s advocate.

 

As Always, Be the Parent You Want to be!!