Early Mornings Getting the Best of you??

Early Mornings Getting the Best of you??

This time of year I get a flood of inquiries about early morning wakings. If your child is waking up way before you are ready to wake up, know that you are not alone!

What is it about this time of year that causes this common theme?..any guesses??

The answer…the longest day of the year is fast approaching!! What??? With the longest day of the year comes a great deal of sunshine. That light creeps in really early which affects your child’s circadian rhythm (body’s internal clock). How do you fix this?

Blackout the light as much as possible. The light can creep in where you least expect it!

So your child has a very dark room and your child is still waking early. Now what??

Well with the increased daylight often comes increased outside activity. The outside activity can lead to your child getting tired a bit earlier. This can be an issue because the earlier bedtime can lead to your child being ready to wake up sooner.

If your child is not going to bed earlier your child may be getting overtired. A child that is overtired can also lead to early mornings.

It may seem like you are darned if you do and darned if you do not.

I would recommend that you bring your child’s bedtime 15 minutes earlier than usual which may still seem like your child is still wanting to go to bed a bit earlier. You can keep your child awake with mild activity and child-directed play.

If you are still experiencing the early mornings then send me a private message or post in the facebook group if you are a member of Parenting Foundations (Parenting Foundations Membership). If you are not a Parenting Foundations member then you can book a free 15-minute call.

 

Naps: When do I just give up!

Naps: When do I just give up!

“What do I do if my child just will not fall asleep?”…sound familiar. It should because it is a very common question.

Many families that I work with wonder what they should do if their child is simply refusing to nap. You would think that if your child is tired they would simply go to sleep; however, this is not the case for all babies. When this starts to happen there are a number of things to consider.

1. Are you offering a nap at the right time?

If your little one was sleeping fine and all of a sudden refuses to go for a nap when you offer it then it is time to either increase or decrease the time your child is awake from wake up to nap, I lovingly refer to this as wake time! (you may have heard me say this once or twice 🙂 )

Sleep Learning 101: Wake Time

Wake Times

2.  Are you in the process of reducing a sleep association?

If you are trying to make changes to your child’s sleep so you are offering sleep in a different manner. For example: reducing the feed to sleep association, rock to sleep association or sleeping on an adult. This takes time, persistence and consistency for improvement to be noticed. 

Sleep Learning 101: Sleep Prop

3. Developmental Milestone

If your child is in the midst of a developmental milestone they may struggle with going to sleep. The reason for the struggle going to sleep is that nap time seems to be when our little ones attempt to practice their new skill instead of going to sleep. Once your child has mastered the new sill they typically tend to go back to their regular sleeping skills.

So now you know why your child is refusing a nap but you are probably wondering…

What can I do? When do I give up? 

 

Typically I recommend that you continue to offer the nap. I would give your little one the chance to go to sleep by using the sleep teaching method of your choice for naps. 

So you have been trying for over 30 minutes, now what. Depending on your tolerance/frustration level. You can get your little one up and try again in 30 minutes or try for 1 hour and 15 minutes and see if your little one will fall to sleep.  If your little one has not fallen asleep at the end of the 1 hour 15 minutes then I would get your child up and try again in 30 minutes or go to an Emergency nap.

 

Emergency Nap?

 

You may be wondering what I mean by an emergency nap. An emergency nap is when you take your child for a walk in the stroller or for a drive in the car. Some families will place their child in a swing. I usually do not recommend the swing as this is often a sleep association the family is trying to remove. 

The reason for the emergency nap is that “sleep does beget sleep”. If your child is overtired your child’s nighttime sleep will be affected. An emergency nap is better than no nap. 

Using an emergency nap once or twice a week is okay. When you are sleep teaching you may find that you are going to emergency nap at least once a day. This will get better with time and consistency.

 

If you have any questions please feel free to comment on this post or send Parenting Foundations a Private message if you are a member of Parenting Foundations membership. Not a member yet? Click here for more information.

 

Parenting Styles: Conscious Parenting

Parenting Styles: Conscious Parenting

 

In recent years, there has been an overwhelming amount of information about how our parenting can impact our children. There are times when the information presented can make you feel like a failure as a parent. This feeling then affects your ability to parent.

I have had several families contact me to get clarity on all the different parenting styles. One style that is on the rise in the media and parenting networks is Conscious Parenting.

It is not uncommon for me to hear…”WTF is Conscious Parenting?”.

 

Conscious Parenting in a Nutshell

Conscious Parenting’s main focus is not the child. Say what??? You read that correctly. The main focus with this parenting style is the parent.

It took me a bit of time to wrap my head around the difference between positive parenting, mindful parenting and conscious parenting. The biggest takeaway I have had from my research and practice of the different methods is that they all focus on a positive approach to parenting.

Both positive parenting and mindful parenting focus on interacting with your child in a way that helps your child produce the positive behaviour because you are focused on molding your child’s behaviour using positive interaction or you are aware of (mindful) of your child’s needs.

Conscious parenting focuses on your feelings and the way you are dealing with certain behaviours. It takes the pressure off trying to fix your child and focuses on fixing your view or the way you handle a certain situation.

Tell Me More….

When you are parenting in a Conscious manner you are analyzing and reviewing how your feelings are gearing your reactions or the way you help your child with undesired behaviour.

You look for triggers. I am constantly asking myself..”is this my issue or his?”.

A great example of this is when he struggled with the beginning of grade 2. He would come home pretty upset and concerned that he was not going to be able to complete his work.

After much reflecting I realized I was not helping. My school based anxieties were preventing me from listening to him. All he needed was a safe place to vent and then he was fine but I dragged it out. I was trying to help him learn to write properly and it was becoming a battle. I backed off and listened. Helped when he asked for it and in time things got much better. He felt confident and flourished at school.

As a Sleep Consultant I have a number of parents that I work with that take it personally if their child is not sleeping well. I help parents reduce the stress they put on themselves to improve their child’s sleep and the work on things in a slow progressive manner. Even infants feed off their parents emotions. 

So to parent in a more conscious manner, it is important to work through your issues, identify ways that you can empower your child, set your child up with the tools needed to accomplish the desired behaviours and remove your emotions from the equation.

I actually find this style of parenting to be freeing and less exhausting. I can let way more things go and get the bottom of things way sooner. There is a lot of deep breathing going on.

Please feel free to reach out for support on how you may be able to parent in a more conscious manner. 

 

Parenting: Clear the Way!

Parenting: Clear the Way!

There are so many different ways that people choose to parent. There are two different styles that have made the news in the past few years that I want to discuss.

Most likely you have heard the term “Helicopter Parent”. This is one style I would like to discuss..

Helicopter Parenting??

A Helicopter Parent is a parent that hangs around and tries to do most things for their child. When their child is facing any sort of adversity they are they trying to fix it.

I have seen a number of examples of Helicopter parenting in my professional and personal life. I had to give my head a shake when Simon first started school to prevent myself from becoming a Helicopter parent.

When I was working in schools I would see the parents that were coming and talking to teachers or the principal about their child’s grades or unfinished assignment. When on the playground, I still see the parents that are right there and their child is 6 or 7. That is a Helicopter Parent!! The person that is constantly hovering around and fixing things for their child.

What happens with the children of Helicopter Parents?

Children that have helicopter parents are often looking for their parent to clear up any issues they have to deal with. They are not even sure how to deal with situations without their parent there.

These children are often looking for their parent to guide them or do it for them. They often do not feel like they can handle things on their own.

How can you prevent yourself from becoming a Helicopter Parent?

To prevent your child from looking to you to protect and fix things for them it is important to step back and let your child know that they can handle the situation.

Discussing possible solutions and empowering your child to problem solve will set your child up for success and prevent you from being a Helicopter.

The next type of Parenting I want to discuss is “Lawnmower Parenting”.

Lawnmower Parenting??

A Lawnmower parent is a parent that is trying to clear the way for their child to make sure their child does not have to deal with any issues. Adversity is moved out of the way and the child can breeze through without issue.

A good example of a Lawnmower parent is a parent that would pay to have their child be given a back door way into a school or sporting programming. (Trust me it happens more than you think…)

Another example is the parent who drops what they are doing to bring their child an item that forgot home. This child would not have to deal with the natural consequence of forgetting things at home.

What happens with the children of Lawnmower Parents?

These children are also very dependent on their parents. They can expect their parents to drop everything they are doing and focus solely on them.

“What do you mean you will not bring my homework to school?” This was something I actually heard a child saying on the phone to their parent. This particular parent was always bringing things to the school and realized she needed to stop as her child came to expect her mom to “rescue her”. 

Often these children then expect that all adults will solve their issues. It become obvious very fast which of our older boys friends had lawnmower parents in university. These students were on their own and afraid to make decisions or completely reckless and unaware of the possible repercussions of their behaviour.

How can you prevent yourself from becoming a Lawnmower Parent?

Just like preventing yourself from being a helicopter parent, you can prevent yourself from being a lawnmower by standing back and allowing your child to try new things. Let them know they can try things and let them feel what happens when things do not go according to plan.

Let your child make a mistake and teach them how to learn from them. Mistakes are great!!

 

 

If you have any further questions about this, please send me a private message or post in the Facebook group.

 

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!!

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!