Why doesn’t your child sleep well?

Why doesn’t your child sleep well?

The two mistakes you may be making during your child’s bedtime routine.

By Dr. Lynelle Schneeberg, PSYD

The bad news: you may be making two common mistakes during your preschool- or elementary-aged child’s bedtime routine that are keeping your child from sleeping well.

The good news: both mistakes are easy to fix!

Mistake number one: Staying with your child until he or she is completely asleep. 

Parents often ask me, “Why does my child fall asleep quickly at bedtime but have difficulty staying asleep?” This issue is incredibly common and is most often due to the fact that you may be staying with your child at bedtime until he or she is completely asleep. Perhaps you don’t leave your child’s bedroom until those little eyelids finally close even though you’d love to knock off one or things on your to-do list or, better yet, watch some episodes of (fill in your favorite bingeable show here).

However, if you stay in your child’s room each night until your child is truly and deeply asleep, your little one will soon wake up again during the night (as all children do, usually after a sleep cycle or two). He or she will almost always call you back to his or her bedroom (or show up like a silent little ninja in yours) because he or she only knows how to fall asleep when you are present.

Mistake number two: Granting too many extra requests after the bedtime routine is (supposed to be!) over.

If your child is like most other kids, he or she will make lots of additional requests or trips out of the bedroom after the bedtime routine is over. Your child might ask for “just one more…” story or hug. She might want lots more escorted trips to the bathroom, or he might ask for another check under the bed or even ask to get up to have another snack. My daughters love theater, so I’ve nicknamed these extra requests callbacks (if your child calls you back to the bedroom) or curtain calls (if your child leaves the bedroom to find you).

You may think that if you grant all of these callbacks and curtain calls, your child will finally fall asleep. But in reality, granting all of these extra requests after lights out actually gives your child lots more of your attention which rewards your child for staying awake (not a great plan!)

How can you fix these two mistakes? 

Make sure you and your child have a cozy, comforting and consistent bedtime routine with a very clear endpoint (maybe a final kiss on the forehead). Then leave while your child is still fully awake. Remind him or her to play or read quietly in bed independently until drowsy enough to fall asleep. If your child starts making callbacks and curtain calls, try using bedtime tickets to manage these. Give your child one or two bedtime tickets when the bedtime routine is over and quickly grant a callback or curtain call or two. After the bedtime tickets are gone, remind your child that there are no more tickets but that he or she can play or read quietly in bed until drowsy enough to make the (solo) trip to dreamland.

This plan should allow you to cross off one or two of those things on your to-do list (but I think you’ve probably earned the right to collapse on the sofa and catch up on those seven episodes…)!

Good luck and good sleep! 

From the heart, at a time when it matters most

From the Heart at a time that matters most

This is a shout out to my daughter, Andrea Grace Freeman. Pictured here is Pirate Patty. Also pictured are my granddaughter, Violet, and me. You can see that we really like each other. Yesterday while I was trying to engage with Violet on FaceTime, I pulled out Pirate Patty who is a friend of Violet’s. In contrast to the effect I hoped to have, Violet burst into tears and said she wanted the doll right this minute and she just started to weep in a way that was not the usual “I want it now” kind of crying. It was a soulful, teary breakdown. Her mom appeared and leaned her head against Violet’s and said, “Oh, you miss your Nana, don’t you.” Violet wailed, “I want to go to Nana’s house.” It was hard to tell who was sadder – Violet or me. And what really touched me was the way that Andrea, who tries to use my visits with Violet to catch up on the very demanding job she is trying to do at home, quickly sensed that this crying wasn’t just annoyance and quickly provided what professionals call “co-regulation.” She simply connected physically in a comforting way and with a soothing voice acknowledged her overwhelmed daughter’s emotions. Violet’s distress escalated for a few moments – even I was beginning to feel hopeless – and then she started to calm down. Mom walked with Violet to her room to find her other mermaid doll and we proceeded to have a good 10 minutes of fun and laughter with mermaid sisters being silly with each other. When I told my husband the story, he said Andrea has that “third eye” – being able to tune into the feelings under the feelings. It is probably our biggest challenge during these difficult times to be able to acknowledge our own distress and manage it enough to tune into the emotions of our children…and bring presence, acceptance and soothing to their difficulties. I guess this is a shout out to all the moms and dads who are juggling new challenges and attuning to their little ones at the same time. Thank you. Thank you.

WTNH: Coronavirus closes schools: Expert advice about how to embark on ‘distance learning’ at home

(WTNH)– School looked different Monday as kids around the state set-up work stations in their own homes.

Charlotte Smith has five kids, ranging in age from 4 to 10. Their schools started “distance learning” due to the coronavirus update last week.

“Mom, Cruise Director, has a spread sheet about what subjects the kids have to do,” says Smith, a blogger in Southport, who encourages the kids to start the day with an active lesson like writing sentences instead of watching videos.

“Everyday we get better….both teachers, as to what they’re assigning, and parents, in terms of how we’re navigating it,” she added. Read more at https://www.wtnh.com/on-air/connecticut-families/coronavirus-closes-schools-expert-advice-about-how-to-embark-on-distance-learning-at-home/

Work at home and take care of your kids full-time?

Work at home and take care of your kids full-time?

This is just too unreal…
By JoAnn Robinson, Parent Educator at Peace at Home Parenting

How will you manage in this COVID-19 world?

Learn more about Private Coaching View a list of Online Classes

For many families where the adults work full-time, grappling with this extended home-bound circumstance due to COVID-19 is not easy. Here are some quick tips to help you get started:

  1. Start with the First Day. You have likely faced this circumstance before with a school/child care closure for snow. Ask yourself what have you done on those days? What’s applicable to what you can do now? Some COVID-19 experts recommend that parents limit the numbers of children kids play with and do it outdoors as much as possible where it’s easier to keep the recommended distance of 3-6’. Remember to make sure everyone washes or sanitizes their hands the right way (scrubbing for 20 seconds) before and after playing. Being in nature for a hike or playing outdoors reduces stress, and the exposure to sunlight and exercise helps to improve sleep therefore strengthening our immune systems.
  2. Success after Day 1. How much work can you do at home? Try to find flexibility in your time to allow for 15-20 minutes with your kids every 2 hours or so to increase your productivity. During those interludes, snuggle, read a short book together, and help organize the next activity. One option is to start with alternating reading aloud together and then ask them to continue without you with the mission of filling you in on what happened at the next break. For younger children, utilize coloring books the same way by starting a picture at a table near where you work and then have them finish the drawings before the next break. Legos, Train sets, even sorting socks can be brought out to the floor near your desk. Praise your child every time s/he gets involved in something you like; you will get more of what you praise—so be lavish this first week to set a positive tone.
  3. The Ultimate Balancing Act. Maintaining your energy between work and kids will require lots of discipline. Here is a great tactic my Osteopath recommended to me. Before and after your transitions to spend those quality moments with your kids, sit quietly for 30-60 sec and mindfully breathe. Count with your fingers on your right hand the five breaths you take before getting up or sitting back down to work. I developed a Flash Class “I Get So Irritated” if you would like to learn more and find yourself feeling irritable for more than a few moments each day.

“We are stronger together than we are alone.” – Walter Payton

Peace at Home Parenting addresses COVID-19

Peace At Home Parenting offers free resources for parents to help ease family stress

  • Live Facebook events for the next several weeks – Go to our public page on Facebook – Peace At Home Parenting. I will host the first few events, offer guidance on key issues such as helping children process disappointment and fear and I will answer questions as they arise through comments. Some of our teacher specialists will join each event to respond to specific issues including those related to children under 5 and to children with social-emotional challenges.
  • Free Online ClassesWe will eliminate fees for specific live and recorded classes that will be helpful to families at this time. Some of these include:
    • “Positive Discipline for Peace At Home”
    • “Be Your Child’s Calm Center”
    • “Be Your Child’s Emotions Coach”
    • “Take the Stress Out of Parenting”
    • “Routines, Chores and Family Meetings”
  • Peace At Home Private GroupWe will open our monitored, private Facebook group to parents who reach out to us through Facebook events or email in order to expand support and connection among parents and with our teachers.

We are in the process of developing two new classes – “Help Your Child Feel Safe in a Complicated World” and “Work with Your Family so You Can Work at Home.” We also continue to offer regular private online coaching by the hour and flash coaching options (20 minutes) as a more moderately priced solution. Email us at info@peaceatparenting.com

View a list of classes >
Learn more about Private Coaching >

We wish for you safety and serenity.

Ruth E. Freeman, LCSW
Founder and Managing Director
Peace at Home Parenting LLC
Online classes and coaching for peace at home and success in school
860 933-1371
www.PeaceAtHomeParenting.com

Coronavirus and my new life as a mom

Coronavirus and my new life as a mom

I have had the blessing of two children who are now young adults at the ages of 15 & 18 and then the added joy of their friends who are welcomed as family. We are a middle-class family, navigating our pursuit of happiness by doing the things we have to do to do the things we want to do. Coronavirus has, well, challenged that road – significantly. But I refuse to let it cause too much negative results.

A little background of how I found myself posting on Peace at Home Parentings blog. I am a woman of many hats: Mom, Wife, Coach, and Graphic/Web/Marketing specialist. Ironically, I met Ruth years ago when my children were young while taking her parenting class. That class falls under one of the top 10 things I have ever done as a parent. Now this was back in the day when you could congregate in person with no fears of community spread of the coronavirus pandemic, but the good news is that this type of class is probably actually better suited online (then you can hide your blushing when you realize perhaps you could have handled that parenting situation better… What I learned most of all was that prevention (usually through good communication) was the key a pretty peaceful household.

Now back to the situation at hand – Coronavirus. My husband, Director of Health (how convenient is that??? or not???), sat me down several days ago and said, “honey, our lives are going to change.” He is not a man of many words, but who knew at the time what he was saying. As the perpetual optimist, I said, “I know, we got this.” We were both right, at least so far.

And so it begins, my story and how I am going to take every life lesson I have learned as a parent and human being and apply it to address our new current norm, which is anything but normal.

Step 1: Take a deep breathe and hug yourself. As a mom, if you aren’t in a good place, your kids know. Ruth once said, it is ok to lock yourself in the bathroom for a few minutes to gather yourself. The first time I did that, it wasn’t to hug myself, but it did prevent carnage in the family communication system. Bottom-line, it works! Take some time for yourself and tactically find a happy place and get ready to spread it when you walk out that door.

Step 2: We are going to get through this. Yes it is going to be hard, but we are still dealing with a tough situation, but together we can behave in ways that the sacrifice can be short if we are smart, listen to the experts, ration our resources, and not panic. I recommend private coaching if you are feeling yourself unravel.

Step 3: If you have never experienced counseling, consider finding an outlet. Just as your car needs an oil change and a check up, sometimes resetting your mind is all you need to keep running well. Be pro-active, learn tactics before you need them. Take a FREE course from Peace at Home Parenting or take our full online Udemy class on 5-Steps to Positive Parenting (on sale for next 30 days for $19 using code CORONAVIRUS19