Blog - Sleephaven Sleep Consultation: Helping Tired Families Sleep

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SIDS and Sleep Safety

Talking about SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is never easy – especially if you’ve had personal experience with the loss of a child.  Many parents struggle under the weight of guilt over what they might have done differently, or are fearful that history may repeat itself if another baby arrives.  We are sharing this excellent article written by Fiona Bright (Lecturer with the Faculty of Health and Medical Science, University of Adelaide) in the hopes of shedding some light on this puzzling syndrome that has ravaged so many families. 

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Setting the Clock Back

On the November 5th weekend the clocks roll back.  “Ahh… another hour of sweet sleep”, parents sigh.  Unfortunately for families with little ones, the time change can wreak havoc with sleep schedules.  If your baby or toddler is already waking too early (before 6:00 am), then the time change will trigger an even earlier waking.  In other words, his body clock will not recognize that the clock on the wall has shifted, and he will wake when his body says it’s time to get up.

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Nightmares and Things That Go Bump in the Night

When I was a kid, I used to have bad dreams in serial episodes (which would make good material for a Netflix thriller today!).  I’m sure that you have stories about your own vivid dreams that struck terror into your heart at the time. Nightmares are considered...

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It’s Time to Coach When…

You know it’s time to step up efforts to support good sleep skills when: Your baby is developmentally ready to soothe herself to sleep and back to sleep on her own.  She will go through a great deal of change, particularly during the first 6 months of life.  Along the...

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The Picky Eater Challenge

As parents, most of us want what is best for our kids. We want them to grow strong and healthy in mind, body and spirit (which includes sleeping enough and eating well). I think that’s one reason that picky eating can be so challenging to deal with: it strikes at the core of what it means to be a “good” parent. Somehow we think that when this tiny human being enters the world in our care, we “should” know how to protect and provide for our child in the basics of eating and sleeping – and if that little one doesn’t sleep or eat well, that somehow it’s our fault.

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Baby Sleep and Temperament

I am delighted to share an insightful article written by Macall Gordon, a colleague in my Gentle Sleep Coach community. Macall has completed a Masters of Arts in Applied Psychology, is a Child Development and Infant Mental Health Specialist and owner of That First Year.

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Weaning Pacifiers: “Bye-bye Binky”

A couple of months ago, I posted an article about the pros and cons of pacifiers.  Perhaps you have reached the conclusion that it’s time to say, “Bye-bye Binky!”  How you go about weaning the pacifier will depend on a few key factors:  your little one’s age, his temperament, and other coping strategies in your child’s repertoire.

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Sleep Tips for the Holidays

As we head into holiday celebrations, sleep becomes more important than ever for happy family gatherings. In this blog post, I am sharing an article posted by Gentle Sleep Coach founder, Kim West, in December 2016.

The holidays are quickly approaching, and while they are some of the most joyous times we can experience with our family, they can also be some of the most stressful times. This is especially true with young children whose sleep routines can easily get thrown out of whack!

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Binkies, Bo-Bo’s and Dummies: Weighing in on Pacifiers

Sooky, Goo-gee, Suce, Plug, Chewy or Pacifier – no matter what you call it, there’s no getting around the issue.  At some point as a parent, you will have to decide what to do about the Pacifier.  Here’s the “quick and dirty” on pros and cons of Pacifier use, guidelines for using a Pacifier, and what to do if you are constantly re-plugging it through the night.

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Help for Little Worriers (Part 2)

Several months ago I shared an excellent article by Renee Jain, Life Coach, about how to understand and empathize with your little Worrier.  Here’s how I summarized some of her key pointers:

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Beat the Heat: Sleeping Through Hot Summer Nights

Summer brings lots of perks: lazy days at the park or beach, a more relaxed schedule with kids out of school, time to tackle jobs around the home and yard, and vacation adventures. But summer also means a few stretches of hot, sticky nights followed by days with out-of-sort children (and parents!) who didn’t get a good night’s sleep. Here are some tips to help you and your little ones weather the heat!

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Camping Adventures

We took our daughter camping for the first time when she was 3 months old.  I was a new mom and we were stumbling along when it came to figuring out baby sleep needs, so it was more by grace than good planning that our mountain adventure was a positive one.  We have spent many happy summer campouts together with our children since – first tenting, and later graduating to an ancient tent trailer.  I have also learned a lot more about setting babies and young children up for sleep success.  So, here’s some wisdom drawn from my own life experience and that of others – paired with my training as a Gentle Sleep Coach – to help make your camping adventures ones that you can look back on and smile.

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Help for Little Worriers

As children get older, they become much more aware of the world around them, and with that understanding comes the realization that “scary things can happen”. If your child is a worrier, bedtime can become especially challenging when the threat of “monsters” (real or imagined) seems to grow in size. In this post, I want to share some insights from Renee Jain, a Life Coach and visiting speaker with the Gentle Sleep Coach community. This article was originally aired through Yahoo Parenting in March 2015. Next month, I’ll look forward to sharing more sleep strategies for the Worriers in your family.

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When Grandparents Visit

I have the privilege of collaborating with a world-wide Gentle Sleep Coach community and draw from their rich variety of expertise and professional resources.  In this post, I am happy to share wisdom from my colleague, Linda Szmulewitz (a licensed Social Worker and owner/ operator of Sleep Tight Consultants) adapted from her article entitled “Keeping Sleep On Track With Grandparent Visitors” (July 2015)
 
Just when you thought you had all of your child’s sleep challenges worked out, here come the grandparents for a visit. While grandparents mean well and are absolutely fulfilling their grandparently duty by spoiling their grandchildren, I believe it was Dr. Marc Weissbluth who called grandparents the “enemy of sleep.” Make no mistake:  they, of course, do the things they do out of love, but they often don’t adhere to the same limits that we work so hard to establish for our children. Here are some tips to help everyone get through these visits with minimal disruption. Although we will mostly be talking about grandparents here, these tips and guidelines can apply to any visitor who disrupts your child’s daily routines.

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Say It with Pictures

Do you know someone who “talks with their hands”, or whose facial expressions add punch to their words? When you listen to a speaker, do you like to watch their body language as well? When we receive messages, we do so much more than just listen to words.  We use our eyes to pick out key information. Children do the same, especially when their language skills are just unfolding. As your child develops good understanding and communication abilities, they still take in a lot visually – through pictures, gestures, facial expressions, body movements and print. When he is stressed – hungry, tired, anxious, angry or over-excited – your child has a hard time hearing and absorbing your words. That’s when you need to use visual tools. While you can use visual tools throughout the day, I want to highlight several tools that are helpful at bedtime.

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The Bedtime Pass

When your child is old enough to be in his own bed (and, ideally, when he is at least 2.5 years old), you may run smack up against what I call the “Jack-in-the-Box” syndrome.  No matter what you do, your little one will NOT stay in bed.  He needs a drink.  He needs to...

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Helping Baby Roll

Rolling over is one of the first skills your baby will develop that lets her explore her world in exciting new ways. Rolling strengthens muscles throughout her body and lays the foundation for sitting and crawling for starters. And once your little one rolls from...

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My Favorite Sleepy Time Gifts

Holiday celebrations are fast approaching amid much anticipation. Be sure and check out some valuable tips on Sleeping Through the Holidays with all the added excitement and stresses.

As you are completing your Christmas shopping, or looking ahead to birthdays, here are some gift suggestions to also share with family and friends – gifts that support sleep!

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Back to Work: Questions for Your Childcare Provider

One of the hardest decisions you may ever have to make as a parent is who will care for your child should you plan to return to work outside of the home. Undoubtedly, you will ask questions about certification and licensing, staff training, staff-to-child ratios and childcare costs. With your tour of the daycare or day home facility, you will take note of how clean, engaging and welcoming it is, and how staff respond to children. You may decide to check out the menus and observe playtime or an activity circle. You’ve made a great start!

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Moving from Two Naps to One

Most children will make the transition from two naps a day to one afternoon nap between 15 – 18 months. But how will you know that YOUR little one is ready for the change? This article, which ran in the August 2013 edition of Parents magazine, offers some excellent...

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Nap Coaching

Now that your baby is starting to put himself to sleep at bedtime and during night wakings, you are ready to tackle naps. Naps can be challenging, as we all know. It’s harder to leave the excitement of the day and settle down to sleep for morning and afternoon naps....

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When Tears Break Your Heart

Attachment: [uh-tach-muh nt] /əˈtætʃ mənt/ Noun [Psychology] an emotional bond between an infant or toddler and primary caregiver, a strong bond being vital for the child’s normal behavioral and social development.  One of your main goals as a parent is to set a solid...

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Negotiating Naps: Get Set for Success

Do you have a “Nap Warrior” in your home? Or have you ever heard someone say, “If you want your baby to sleep through the night, just cut out their nap(s)”?  Common sense would tell us that if we stretch our children and get them extra tired, they will be overcome by...

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Gently Wean Your Breastfeeding Toddler

As a sleep consultant, I often field questions around breastfeeding and how it impacts on sleep. “My toddler nurses to sleep (and sometimes back to sleep). I want to stop breastfeeding at night but I’m afraid that no one will get any sleep! Where do I start?” Perhaps...

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Weaning Night Feedings

One of the biggest challenges parents face is frequent wakings during the night to attend to night feedings, especially as baby moves beyond the 4-5 month developmental spurt. But how can you feel confident that your little one can make it through with fewer or no...

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Transitioning from the Crib to a Big Bed

Perhaps you have a champion climber, a child who protests loudly at bedtime or one who fights naps in the day. You may be tempted to see a move out of the crib into a “big kid” bed as a solution to your child’s sleeping woes. But how do you know when your child is...

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Safe Sleep Guidelines

When I give presentations to parents on “Getting Started on Good Sleep”, I always include some information on sleep safety. Thanks to the “Safe to Sleep” campaign, most parents are familiar with the A,B, C’s of safe sleep promoted by the Canadian Pediatric Society,...

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Gentle Sleep Strategies: Part 2

As I mentioned in an earlier post, there are several reasons to rely on gentle sleep strategies and delay formal sleep coaching. These include: Baby is too young. Wait until your baby has settled down from the “4-month sleep regression” (often appears around 19 weeks)...

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Sleeping Through the Holidays

As we approach December and celebrations with family and friends, one question rises to the top: how will we/ our children enjoy the holidays without succumbing to fallout from sleep loss? Lots of excitement, a change in eating patterns and too-little-sleep create the...

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Gentle Sleep Strategies: Part 1

“How can I encourage good sleep habits right from the start?” This is the question uppermost in the minds of many new parents. The good news is this: you can help your baby move towards sleep in many gentle ways until he is old enough to figure out how to get to sleep...

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Catch the Sleepy Cues

You all know what it feels like when you are overtired: you collapse into bed, your eyes close out of exhaustion … and your mind kicks into top gear. Is that not the most frustrating experience? When this happens, you have missed your “window” for sleep, and your body...

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Sleep Training Primer

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information available on how to raise your child?  And when it comes to sleep, there is no shortage of opinion on how to get your baby sleeping through the night! There are basically 4 ways to tackle sleep challenges...

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Sensory Play Stations

Let me introduce my guest Blogger, Val Johnstone and founder of Born 2 Create. She is a mom to two lovely and energetic kids who keep her and her husband very busy. Val has been a special education teacher for 16 years. She established Born 2 Create with a desire to...

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Sleep Schedules

Sleep patterns will change dramatically, especially in the first 2 years of life. Just when you think you have settled into a predictable pattern, your child will undergo further brain development that spurs on growth in motor, sensory, language, emotional and social...

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Teething and Sleep

Ask any parent or health professional about the effects of a new tooth pushing its way through baby’s gums, and you will hear reports of sleep disturbance, diarrhea and diaper rash, congestion, irritability, increased biting/ drooling, decreased appetite and fever –...

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Make a Family Sleep Manners Chart

A Sleep Manners chart is one type of tangible reward system that can be used to help your child develop good sleep behaviors.  A very simple chart can often be introduced once your child is 2 1/2 years of age and is easily adapted as he grows older. Sleep Manners...

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Handling Criticism

As a Gentle Sleep Coach (GSC), I am part of an ever-growing, world-wide community of coaches who hail from a variety of professional backgrounds. Kim West, founder of the Gentle Sleep Coach training program, provided me with a solid foundation for my work with tired...

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Diffusing Bedtime Battles

You know your child is tired and needs to sleep – but that doesn’t stop the nightly power struggle with your child over when and how bedtime happens. Bedtime resistance can arise from anxiety, difficulties saying “goodbye” to fun, wanting to have control over what...

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Pen Your Own Sleep Story

Children learn new skills by watching others, through trial and error, or when they are taught step-by-step. One way to teach a new skill is by creating a Social Story. Social stories were originally created by Carol Gray (an educator working with exceptional...

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I Love You Rituals

“You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” Remember these words that Aibileen the maid spoke into the heart of her little charge each day in The Help, by Kathryn Stockett? As Aibileen recited these familiar words, she filled the love tank of her little girl with...

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Crying 101

Crying - does it put you on edge, make your heart beat faster, and bring you to your baby's side quickly?  If it does, you are not alone.  In fact, your quick response is designed to ensure your baby's well-being and foster trust in your relationship. To understand...

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Tackling Tummy Time

You’ve probably heard this one before: give your baby lots of tummy time. But what if your baby HATES tummy time? First, let’s talk about why tummy time is useful, and then dive into some easy activities that build your baby’s endurance for being on her tummy.  ...

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Hello September

I don’t know about you, but I always look forward to September. To me, it feels like the start of a new “year” with the drama of fall colors, school starting, and fresh learning possibilities ahead. September often means exchanging the relaxed, spontaneous rhythms of...

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Getting Enough Sleep

Although sleep researchers still have many unanswered questions about sleep, this much is certain:  we are generally not getting enough of it. The invention of the light bulb over 100 years ago, and current access to information 24 hours a day through the internet has...

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Sleep Environment: Setting Your Child Up for Success

Your child is sensational – he uses all of his senses to explore his world, to learn, to build relationships… and to put himself to sleep. Have you noticed that your child likes the feel of a favorite pair of pajamas or that he likes to play with the ears on a stuffed...

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Your Sensational Child

You are sensational – and so is your child.  You are a sensational being – one who moves through this world exploring and responding with all of your senses.  You see shapes with your eyes, and through touch and position sensors in your fingers you register that you...

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Family-Friendly Resources

This month I have updated Sleephaven’s listing of resources, services and products that are available both locally and on the internet to help tired families sleep. Let me know if you have additional suggestions – I’m a great believer in sharing good information!...

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Wise Toddler Routines

Just like babies, toddlers and preschoolers do best with routine. Sleep science tells us that our body clocks are ‘set’ by what we do each day – by eating times, activity times and sleeping times.  Have you ever noticed that it may take your child (or you) several...

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Springing Forward to Daylight Savings Time

We moan about losing an hour in the spring for good reason - it is more difficult to adjust to this time change in March.  Our bodies naturally handle a “later” bedtime when we “fall back” one hour in November.  "We are so sleep deprived to begin with, the extra hour...

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Travel Smart

Whether you are traveling overseas or just an hour or two away, here are some tips to tuck away to make your trip more pleasant and rewarding for all.   Plan ahead • If your child is just learning new sleep skills, think about postponing your vacation for 3-4...

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