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Sarah Ockwell-Smith

Parenting Author

Sarah Ockwell-Smith is the mother of four children. She has a BSc in Psychology and worked for several years in Pharmaceutical Research and Development. Following the birth of her first child, Sarah re-trained as an Antenatal Teacher and Birth and Postnatal Doula. She has also undertaken training in Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy and is a member of the British Sleep Society. Sarah specialises in gentle parenting methods and is co-founder of the GentleParenting website (, she also blogs at Sarah's books include BabyCalm (2012), ToddlerCalm (2013), The Gentle Sleep Book (2015), The Gentle Parenting Book (2016), Why Your Baby's Sleep Matters (2016), The Gentle Discipline Book (2017) and The Gentle Potty Training Book (2017). She frequently writes for magazines and newspapers, and is often called upon as a parenting expert for national television and radio.

Eight Surprising Ways To Improve Your Baby's Sleep - Without Sleep Training!

Sleep training tends to punish babies and toddlers for problems that don't belong to them. They are left to cry, put down while they still need a hug, denied milk when they are hungry and ignored when they most need comfort. I don't actually believe any parent wants this for their children, yet their exhaustion leaves them with no other choice. Or so they think
06/09/2017 17:34 BST

Why Your Discipline Methods Aren't Working

There is no such thing as a perfect parent. Everybody messes up. Nobody is naturally calm at all times. Nobody has endless levels of patience. We all mess up. Stop taking everything so personally. Most of the time, this isn't about you. It's not about how you act, or how you've raised your child, or which method of discipline you choose
30/08/2017 17:15 BST

10 Ways To Help Your Baby Sleep On A Hot Summer Night

Sleep and heat are not friends. In fact, our bodies need a cool environment in order for the best sleep. As a guide, 15-18 degrees centigrade (59-64 Fahrenheit) is the range you want your room temperature in. The following tips may help when that's just not possible due to particularly warm summer days.
22/06/2017 17:12 BST

Why You Should Love Bomb Your Child

If you answer "yes" to any of these then there is a very high chance that love bombing is the answer to your problems. It may sound like a hippy hangover from the seventies, but love bombing is actually grounded in solid scientific theory - and it really works.
04/05/2017 15:41 BST

This Is Why Your Baby Is Wide Awake In The Middle Of The Night

It's one o'clock in the morning and your son, or daughter, is bouncing up and down on the bed, grinning and giggling at you. In their world it's playtime. No matter how hard you encourage them to sleep it's just not happening. An hour or two later they finally wind-down and drift off to sleep, before waking for the day shortly after.
09/04/2017 20:42 BST

Why You Shouldn't Use Distraction In Place Of Discipline

Almost every day I read a comment on a social media post suggesting that parents distract their children in order to avoid unwanted behaviour. It seems like sound advice, certainly if your toddler is about to bash your newborn on the head, quickly saying "shall we go and get a snack?" is infinitely better than shouting at them, or worse, smacking.
30/03/2017 17:20 BST

Why It's 'Time Up' For 'Time Out'

Firstly, the assumption that children misbehave to get our attention is confused. Children don't deliberately 'do naughty things' to make us stop and give them our time. Children have a different and immature brain structure to an adult and in almost all instances, they behave in a certain way, one that adults find undesirable, because they cannot stop themselves from doing so.
22/03/2017 16:06 GMT

The Secret Reason Why Your Toddler Misbehaves

Have you ever wondered why your toddler does something, even when you've told them not to and explained why they shouldn't do it? Perhaps your two or three year old insisted on touching the oven door, even though you told him not to because it was very hot.
02/03/2017 17:02 GMT

Why Your Baby Will NEVER Sleep Through The Night!

It is however a simple matter of fact. No baby sleeps through the night, they never have and never will. Ever. Similarly, no adult has ever, or will ever, slept through the night either. Why then is so much time and money spent on trying to achieve something that is totally impossible?
21/10/2016 17:00 BST

Why Children Misbehave When a New Baby Arrives - and How to Help

If you find yourself in this situation you need to prioritise your toddler or preschooler over your newborn, because they are hurting. Really, really hurting. Their whole world has turned upside down and inside out and they are experiencing grief like never before.
20/06/2016 17:23 BST

Can Babies and Toddlers Manipulate Their Parents?

The idea of children manipulating their parents via their behaviour, be that crying at night, or tantruming during the day, implies that not only are the children capable of such schemes, but that they also possess a degree of machiavellianism. In reality neither is true.
08/06/2016 16:30 BST

Eight Common Toddler Myths You Shouldn't Believe

There are so many parenting myths in circulation in society. Many are obviously myths and therefore easy to ignore. Others however seem far more ingrained and sound far more plausible. The plausibility and popularity of some of the top parenting myths cause a great deal of misunderstanding, and often stress, for parents of toddlers.
03/06/2016 18:50 BST

Eight Common Baby Myths You Might Believe (And Why You Shouldn't)

There are so many parenting myths in circulation in society. I'm sure you've come across many yourself. Many are obviously myths and therefore easy to ignore. Others however seem far more ingrained and sound far more plausible. The plausibility and popularity of some of the top parenting myths cause a great deal of misunderstanding, and often stress, for vulnerable new parents.
19/05/2016 17:27 BST

The Problem of Baby Sleep

If we have realistic expectations we realise that what we really need is not to train our babies and toddlers, but build a network of support once again for parents, a 'village' as some say. The issue really is a problem belonging to adults and society, what really needs fixing?
09/05/2016 16:47 BST

The Problem With Rewards and Sticker Charts

The use of reward and sticker charts stems from techniques of behaviour modification that have been popular for over half a century. The same knowledge gave us the basis for modern day dog training. Yet while rewards may help to train our dogs, do these methods really work to train our children?
06/05/2016 17:06 BST

This Is What SATs Do to Children

My baby boy's world is now full of stress. The stress takes up so much space he has no room for anything else. He is eleven. I didn't even know what the word "stress" meant when I was that age. Today, the only question that he has asked me is "What's a noun? I'm not good at grammar. I'm worried about it." This is what SATs do to children. They don't gain anything from them, but they lose so very much.
29/04/2016 15:27 BST