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. 

 

Dream Feed: To Recommend or Not?

Dream Feed: To Recommend or Not?

As with all things related to babies, there are many opinions about a dream feed. This post is based on my experience; however, I realize it may not be the same experience for you.

Lets first start with the basics…

 

What exactly is a dream feed?

A dream feed is when your baby is asleep and you pick the baby up while they are sleeping and feed the baby. You can do this both by bottle and breast.

How can a baby eat while sleeping?

The best way to explain this is that it just happens! When the nipple is placed in babies mouth they will suck.

When should I offer a dream feed?

If you choose to do dream feed, I would recommend that you do it about an hour before your child’s typical wake up for a feed or as close that as possible. Hopefully, this is close to when you would typically go to bed. If not, I would do it just before going to bed.

What is the goal of a dream feed?

The goal of a dream feed is to extend your child’s ability to stay asleep for a longer period of time. Children that are waking due to hunger at an earlier time can benefit from a dream feed.

What is your opinion of a dream feed?

I find that dream feeds are an absolute crap shoot! They can work for some babies and be a fail for others.

Personally, I recommend that dream feeds are used with caution. I find babies that are offered the dream feed for a long time, come to depend on that feed and have a difficult time extending their ability to stay asleep without the feed.

For us, our little man would wake up during the feed so it did not work.

I have had many clients that were doing a dream feed. Most of the time their child started waking up slightly before the feed was offered.

The clients that did have success with the feed used it for a short period of time to help their little ones extend their sleep and then I encouraged more calories during the day to reduce the need for a night feed.

Should you try offering a dream feed?

If your little one is not able to sleep for more than 3 to 4 hours after 4 months of age you could try a dream feed to see if it will help. If your child is sleeping for 5 to 6 hours I would not recommend a dream feed.

I do find that it is best if you wait until your child naturally wakes up. When you wait until your child naturally wakes up you are going by your child’s needs versus what you believe your child needs. Do not underestimate these wonderful little humans!

Sleep Sack: Is it really necessary?

Sleep Sack: Is it really necessary?

There are so many different gadgets and things available for infants and toddlers now that is can be overwhelming as a parent. You may find yourself asking…Is this really necessary?

Is a sleep sack something that is needed or not??

If you are reading this as a new parent I want you to fast forward in your thoughts to when your child is climbing out of the crib way before you want them to! Now stop and think about how a sleep sack can prevent a child from lifting their leg over the rail. Run do not walk to the store and get your child a sleep sack!

It is much easier to get your child into a sleep sack as a baby then it is as a toddler to prevent the crib climbing. This is the main reason I recommend a sleep sack. It is not the only reason though.

Another reason for a sleep sack is for warmth. Both the American and Canadian Pediatric Societies do not recommend blankets in the crib until at least one year of age. The sleep sack is wearable and moves with the child; therefore, it is acceptable.

How do I know which one is best?

There are so many different types of sleep sacks out there these days that he can be overwhelming. The main things I look for is temperature regulation and how easy is it for a toddler to get out of it.

You can get a sleep sack for different temperatures. Each sleep sack has a TOG label. This label will help you decide which one will keep your child warm without causing him to overheat. I had one that was made from bamboo which would flex with the temperature. You can spend a fortune on finding one that works so I would ask your local mom’s group for their favourite one and TOG level. The TOG level best for my son may be different for your child is you live in a warmer or colder climate.

To keep our little man warmer in the winter he would wear a fleece sleeper under the sleep sack. In the summer he could often be found in a light sleeper or just a diaper shirt in his sleep sack.

In my personal opinion, the most important thing to look for is how a child can get out of the sleep sack with ease. The ones with the button on the shoulder were easy for our little man to get out of. We had one with a zipper down the middle. The zipper started at the top of the sack and zipped down. The good thing with the zipper in the middle was when he started experimenting with unzipping it, I was able to turn it around so the zipper was in the back. I did this a few times and then he stopped trying to undo it.

 

As with all decisions we make as a parent the best decision is the one you make for your child. This post is my opinion of why I like a sleep sack. As always be the parent you want to be!

Have I ruined my child’s sleep?

Have I ruined my child’s sleep?

 

I will often get asked if a child’s sleep is now ruined because a parent had to sleep with the child or had to offer more support.

There are times when my little man puts things into a perspective way better than I can. Last night he was struggling with going to sleep, Thank You Day Light Savings! When he really struggles my husband or I will lay with him.

As we were laying there I was holding him (a great big snuggle and a hug). We were listening to a guided meditation about a Koala Bear that was not able to go to sleep (here is a link to it). The meditation was talking about how the bear was not able to lay still in his bed. My little man said to me “someone needs to hold that bear down”. I laughed to myself.

Then I realized that my little man understood what I was doing. I was holding him down to help him sleep. After he made that comment I was even happier about the fact that I was able to assist him and he knew exactly what I was there for.

A short time after our snuggle our little man was able to go to sleep. Does this mean I will have to do this every night? No, it does not. After children have mastered the skill of falling to sleep with minimal assistance they often do not want you there.

There will be a time, or two thousand, that they require extra support. There is no harm to offer the support. Some children may need you to slowly remove the support and others will adapt quickly without issue.

The point of this post is to remind you to do what you feel is right for your child. Slowly but surely you will get them to be doing exactly what is best for them.

Take care and as always, Be the Parent you want to Be!!

Sleep Regression? What is it?

Sleep Regression? What is it?

Sleep Regressions are talked about a great deal when talking about infant or child sleep. If you speak to a parent with a young child and you mention the word regression you will most likely see a look of fear in their eyes.

Honestly, I feel that these regressions are actually overrated! The fact is that there are many reasons for a change in a child’s sleep and stating if a child is (insert age) they will have a regression in sleep is not necessarily the case. I believe that a number of sleep-related issues get blamed on a specific age when in fact the change in sleep can usually be tied to a developmental milestone or change in sleep needs.

 

What is a Sleep Regression?

A sleep regression is when your child’s sleep takes a turn to the difficult side. You had a few weeks or days of great sleep and then wham, you are up several times or fighting with your child to get them the sleep they require.

 

When is it a True Regression?

Changes in a child’s sleep will happen several times. If the change in your child’s sleep has lasted for more than 4 days and cannot be blamed on an illness or growth spurt then you are in the midst of a regression.

 

The Most Talked about Regressions Demystified!

 
4-month Regression: 

This is when our little ones are moving from the newborn sleep cycle to the sleep cycle that is similar to yours and mine. They are moving from 2 stages of sleep to 4 to 5 stages of sleep per sleep cycle.

8 to 9-month Regression:

This is typically related to a developmental milestone. At this age, there is so much growth going on that is does play havoc with our child’s sleep.

Typically, the developmental milestones that are occurring at this age are as follows: learning to crawl, standing, walking and babbling.

18-month Regression

This can usually be related to increased separation anxiety. This age is famous for this! It does make putting your little one down for sleep a bit more difficult.

2/2.5-year-old Regression

This is usually when our little ones have a verbal explosion! Has your child started to talk a great deal more? This is usually the culprit to sleep-related issues at this age.

 

Thanks for the Explanation, Now what?

The best thing you can do if you suspect that your child is dealing with a sleep regression is to be patient. If your child had a good sleeping pattern before and you do not introduce any new sleep props your child should be back on track in 4 to 7 days.

If a week has passed and you are still dealing with the sleep regression then I would recommend that you look at your child’s wake time. Your child will most likely benefit from a 15 minute increased wake time.

You adjusted the wake time and are still having issues then I would look for a hidden sleep prop or a prop that your child wakes up requesting.

 

If you are a Parenting Foundations Member, please feel free to send me a message so I can help you further. If you are not a member yet you can click here to learn more about becoming a member which gives you direct access to me, Brenda from Parenting Foundations.