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 (www.gentleparenting.co.uk), she also blogs at www.sarahockwell-smith.com. 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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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