As you can imagine, as a sleep specialist working with babies and toddlers, I meet new and different families almost every day. Nothing surprises me in terms of the lengths people go to in terms of catching some all important zzzz’s!
And while generally, I am the one who comes into their homes hoping to impart some of my wisdom, I am also often the one who leaves having learnt something from each and every family I help.
- All families are different – single parent, dual parent. It doesn’t really matter – they are still a family.
- All childrens’ sleep situations are different – in cots, in beds, in parental beds, in buggies. Again, it doesn’t matter – as long as everyone is safe and well rested!
- Personalities of little ones have to be taken into account which is why my preference is to meet people in person. It helps me to really get a feel for each situation
- Personalities of mums and dads also have to be taken into consideration too. There’s always a ‘back story’ and a reason why sleep has gone out the window. Mums and dads have to be on the same page so it’s up to me to guide them there.
- Parents feel judged about EVERYTHING they do – from their choice of feeds to their choice of nappies, from creches to schools. It’s constant. (And it’s nobody else’s business but theirs!)
- Sometimes, all people want is a plan. In our work lives we do better when there’s a plan to follow. It’s much the same at home.
- I have learnt to be careful with my choice of words and even my tone of voice. Going in all guns blazing like “SuperNanny” just doesn’t work for everyone, least of all me! Parents are exhausted by the time they call me. They often need a hug and a big bunch of reassurances that this is not the end of the world. Even though it feels like it.
- At the end of the day, it’s parental choice to do some sleep work (or any behavioural work) with little ones. I would never force a situation just because it’s something I would do in a certain situation. The decision is ALWAYS the parents’.
- I have learnt to take each conversation at face value. If people are hiding something from me, I can’t force them to tell me something.
- I have learnt that kindness and being genuinely interested in each family I meet really helps to build up trust between us. This is key to any relationship, particularly one where children are involved.
I have decided to liken myself a little to Albert Einstein when he said: “I never teach my pupils, I only provide the conditions in which they learn”
Well said Albert. Well said!
If you would like some help with your little ones and their sleep habits, visit www.thenursery.ie/sleep-bundles/