Your baby's room plays an important role in sleep. Now, I don't actually think the picture is a good representation of a good sleeping environment, but it looks nicer than a completely black picture!
Your child's room environment for sleep is a positive sleep prop to help promote sleep. When your baby wakes up at night, these factors help calm the mind and body to help go back to sleep. These tips not only help babies sleep, but also us as adults too! To encourage the best sleep for any age, an ideal room should:
If some of this sounds strange, remember that your baby came from inside the womb where it was dark, the perfect temperature, and had a constant whooshing sound. Re-make your baby's room to be as womb-like as possible and you'll have more success with sleep. This theory even applies to adults! If you have trouble sleeping, try out this room environment too.
Visit the Parent Resources page for more tips to help your kiddo sleep! Or get in touch if you have more questions.
This post is taken from my upcoming book, Happy Sleeping Baby ~ Your Guide for Sleep Success, coming out this spring! Want to know when the book will be out? Fill out the form below:
This post was written by a former client who reached out about creating this white noise album. I use the playlist often when I'm trying to work or relax! Give it a try via the link below in the post. ~Courtney
Guest post written by: Kaveh Akaber
I’m a filmmaker and composer and have professionally experimented with sound all my adult life and nighttime has always been a creative playground for me. But after our first child, I was struggling to fix my random sleep, take care of my child and try to be creative all at the same time. After years of insomnia, I collapsed. My body said stop. Not even music could calm my senses and make me go to sleep. Doctors advised me to take heavy sleeping pills, but after several weeks I stopped. Before I went to bed, I had a feeling of panic and couldn’t calm myself. This reminded me also of my newborn baby that didn’t have the right tools to calm down before sleep.
I have tried various methods to deal with this issue for many years. At one point I was reading an article about different sound therapies. How sound and music could redeem Alzheimer’s patients to start remember again and other sounds that can make you sleep easier. It was during this time I started to look for different methods of white noise sound therapy to deal with my burnt-out state of mind.
Sounds are actually ancient life hacks to make you go to sleep. People have used their vacuum cleaner to make noise and get their babies to go to sleep, driving cars for hours, or listening to static on old radios through the whole night. In all of these sounds, you have white noise. Actually, everywhere you go there is noise. Different noise can also be described in various colors depending on which frequency they have. Light waterfalls can be described as pink noise, and heavy waves on sea can be described as brown noise and so on. In my opinion the problem is our surrounding is based on artificial environments with too many sounds that interfere with our senses. We start looking for total silence instead of relaxing or going into deep meditation. But if you think about it, total silence is an even more unnatural state of mind. In our evolution, our minds have developed in light sounds in surroundings. For example, sleeping under the stars, listening to the wind, or sleeping near the sea. White noise can be discovered in all of these natural environments.
According to professor Göran Söderlund at Lund´s University, if your body is too tired before sleep you can have a sense of panic stress instead and to fall asleep can take a longer time. Especially babies who don’t have the tool to deal with this issue. White Noise can instead increase the state of alertness and make you more awake and then make you tired quicker and put you to sleep.
So, what noise works for you? There are loads of poor recordings and sounds out there, so therefore I started to make my own noises. I created this Relaxing White Noise Sounds for Baby Sleep album inspired by these events and my friend encouraged me to produce one album especially for his baby. I calibrated the white noise with sound recording pulses from other space, the seaside from south Sweden, winds from the mountains in north Scandinavia, and a hairdryer at home. In my studio I almost fell asleep during experimenting with these sounds! So, I thought this might work! This will definitely not solve all your issues with sleeping and a troubled mind, but maybe a good way to make it easier. A strange mind is a strange mind. The only thing you can do is deal with it.
Link to the album Relaxing White Noise Sounds for Baby Sleep:
White noise can be a great part to a perfect bedroom environment. Read more about a great room environment for sleep here.
Welcome to life with a toddler! If you haven't read Part 1 of this series, you can do that here: Starting Preschool (Part1)
As your child adjusts to this new life as a preschooler, don’t over schedule yourself during the first month! If you are stressed with your schedule your child will also feel this along with needed extra time during this adjustment. The first two weeks will be a time of adjusting and learning new routines. Be sure to give yourself and your child time and patience to adapt. Be ready for some early pick-ups, if needed. Then be ready for your child to get sick soon after they begin…you just get back to work and then you are home with a sick kid. Welcome to preschool life! For some tips to help reduce sickness you can read more about how sickness spreads here.
Many kids will sleep worse after starting preschool; if this happens you aren’t alone! Often parents tell me that the first two weeks were pretty easy but after that their child didn’t sleep well and became extremely cranky. Making adjustments for a short time is like going on vacation – you can deal with the new schedule, but then you’re ready to get back to normal after about two weeks; except this is the new normal.
It’s not uncommon for sleep to get worse because your child is experiencing new environments, new people, different food, a new napping place, and learning how to be away from you. It’s a lot to handle for a little kiddo! You might notice that your child will be sleepier but have a harder time sleeping, they might wake up more often, have more dreams or be upset by dreams, be sad, have anxiety, eat less, or seem unhappy. Be sure to give lots of extra hugs and allow for some extra time for bedtime. This is all really normal! Think about when you last made a new change; you probably also felt a little cranky after a week, or slept worse, ate more or less. Going through change is not any different for you and your child.
If you are seeing that your child is tired before their normal bedtime, make bedtime 20 to 30 minutes earlier. You may need to make time for a few more snuggles or an extra book. It’s not uncommon for kiddos to regress with sleep during times of change.
Now, what about you?
Adapting to life with a preschooler will bring many emotions. Happy, sad, confused, a sense of freedom, or need to cry? Acknowledge your feelings as it’s o.k. to feel anything right now! Think about how much your life has changed in less than two years. Everyone is going to have emotions from these huge changes and there’s no right or wrong feeling. I remember feeling happy to get back to work (I really love to work) but of course sad that my baby was growing up.
Don’t be surprised if one parent has an easier or harder time dropping off your child either. This goes both directions; you child may be sadder with one parent, or you might have a harder time dropping your child off or your child may be more upset with one parent than the other. Just know that it’s o.k. to feel sad, happy, relived, or worried. There’s no right or wrong way to feel.
Hopefully these tips help you and your child adapt to preschool life. The best part about these tips is that you can apply them to any new changes or at any age. Developing a foundation to handle change builds trust and a strong bond with you and your child.
Have questions or comments, let me know below or at Happy Sleeping Baby on Instagram or Facebook
Starting preschool or daycare (if you are in Sweden it’s förskola) is a big leap for both you and your child. It will come with big emotions for both of you, but helping them to prepare for the transition with ease the changes ahead. It’s never too early to help your child make an adjustment! Providing them with an easier transition helps strengthen the bond and trust between you both.
When working with clients I will often relate starting preschool with making changes with sleep because the concept is the same – make changes according to your child by giving them guidance and support through the difficult period. Change can be hard no matter what age and giving guidance and support helps build trust and reduce their stress. But keep in mind that even when making changes built around trust and guidance there will still be an adaption period that may come out as crankiness, sleeping worse, or sadness. Change can be challenging, but we never want it to be overwhelming for a child. Using the following tips and help ease the transition of starting preschool.
Make the transition easier
Three to four weeks before:
1) Talk, talk, talk to you child about the change coming up and what they will be doing at pre-school. Make it exciting and fun to hear about!
2) Visit the location. I would suggest walking by several times and talking to your child about them going there soon. Try and visit while the kids are outside playing to get them used to what they will do there. If you feel comfortable, stop in and say hi or ask if you can stop by with your child to say hi for a few minutes.
3) Visit other play places to get your child to being around other children. If possible, let your child explore on their own while you are sitting a little further away and encourage them to explore. This is also great to start at home as well as this builds their skill in a comfortable environment.
4) Choose a comfort item (blanket or stuffed animal) for them to have with them at preschool and keep at preschool.
5) Be confident, happy, and excited when talking about preschool. Your child will mirror your emotions about the changes.
One to two weeks before:
1) Begin on the same schedule as your child will have at preschool in regards to eating and sleeping times.
2) Develop a goodbye routine. Wave from the same location to give them consistency. Provide your child with ideas on what they can do if they are sad when you are leaving. For example, let them know they can ask for a hug from a teacher or have a comfort item with them to hold on to.
3) Continue talking, making a stop or two by the preschool, continue giving your child space to play either on their own or with other children, and continue talking about pre-school in a positive way, even if you are feeling unsure or nervous yourself!
Our preschool sent a photo of the class and welcomed Taylor with a note. We put the picture up on our fridge and started talking about going to preschool often. It really helped the transition for her to begin on the first day.
Starting daycare is a gradual process and I often explain to parents that it’s similar to sleep changes using a Happy Sleep Plan or sleep support. Both are parent assisted processes that allow your child to adapt to the changes. You can’t make the change for them but you are there to help when needed, give guidance, and offer support.
To continuing helping your child adapt and develop a positive attitude after they have begun preschool, ask them about their favorite part of their day when you pick them up.
Click to read Part 2, where I’ll talk more about what to expect as your child adapts.
Have questions or comments, let me know below or at Happy Sleeping Baby on Instagram or Facebook
Guest post by Polya Rosin, Sweden’s #1 Relationship Strategist
To have a child is a miracle, right? I doubt there is a mom out there who could name a bigger source of joy and love than her kids.
Most couples dream of the day when they become parents, take birthing classes, read parenting books. And little do they prepare for what is to happen to their relationship, once the baby arrives.
Did anyone tell you what to expect in your relationship with your spouse once you become parents? Did anyone give you tools and strategies for how to survive and thrive together, not just as parents, but as lovers, as friends, as a happy couple?
How much research, time or money did you invest in your relationship, preparing to become parents? My guess is little to none. And yet the biggest impact on your baby’s wellbeing comes from you and your spouse, and the quality of your marriage.
So, let’s look at what happens after the baby (or more babies) comes into your family:
1. Your spouse and your relationship just went from #1 to #10 in the priority list and that is hard to accept – nobody likes to see they no longer matter much
2. Your sleep is messed up – you must have heard that before and yet, the impact lack of sleep has on couples is less spoken of. It does not only make couples irritable and prone to spats and arguments but also decreases work performance, self-confidence and overall health. Not to mention the drive for romance and passion…
3. Your privacy is … well,.. not existent – with babies and small kids around, going to the loo is a family event and taking a shower feels like a speed contest. That looks like a big stress factor, doesn’t it?
4. Personal space and “me time” are more of a dream than a reality – and if you have no time for yourself, how can you talk about time for your man, for intimacy or passion?
5. Peer pressure becomes the cherry on top of the self-doubt cake – most mums and most families feel tremendous peer pressure, start to look at what others do. And “keeping up with the Joneses” or the “Kardashians” really helps the self-esteem, doesn’t it? Yes, joking here but you get the point, don’t you?
6. Social isolation – now that’s a bummer.
7. Exhaustion – “It’s just a growth phase, it will pass!”, if I hear this one more time, I might just check myself into a mental clinic. For most families, parenting is an endless string of tantrums, sleepless nights, chores, infections…. So how can anyone make time for dates, love, passion?
8. Lack of intimacy – well, that should come as no surprise by now, shouldn’t it? Intimacy is about how free you feel to be yourself with your spouse and for your spouse to be free to be himself/herself. But with the lack of sleep, exhaustion, self-doubts, irritability and endless chores, how does one even have the patience to just be with the other person, to listen without judgement? Intimacy is like oxygen. Without it, any relationship suffocates…
9. Low sex drive – there are those lucky few who feel a boost in their sex drive after the baby arrives but let’s face it, most of you hardly find time to go to the loo and have no energy to even shower or shave your legs, so sex drive?! Hm…
10. Romance just went out of the window – well, yeah. After an evening with tantrums, a dozen laundry loads and a night with bad sleep, who feels up for romance?
11. The past rears its ugly head – now that is a big one and certainly an issue that is least spoken of. When you become a parent, you are likely to start to re-live your childhood and see certain childhood issues transfer themselves into your relationship with your spouse. Lack of unconditional love from childhood, abandonment, arguments between parents and “traditional mom-dad roles” suddenly make their way into the new parents life. And.. yes, there is more… Many parents start to reflect on what they lost becoming parents – perhaps career opportunities, perhaps a great body and perfect physical shape, perhaps social life, perhaps intimacy, passion… The focus on what is missing may cloud the way you look at your spouse and makes it hard to speak to each other with empathy and compassion.
12. Mother- Wife-Father-Husband-Friend-Lover-Muse-Professional, perfectionist, high achiever or free spirit? The struggle to combine the different roles is real.
13. And to spice things up – arguments, resentment and blame come in to play. It is hard to take back harsh words, insults, hurt. And let’s face it, raising kids and keeping up a home is hardly ever a 50-50 so at any time point, there is always someone who gives more. And with all the points above, this can lead to resentment and blame.
For expats, many of these issues are exacerbated due to lack of support from the grandparents or extended family, lack of close friends, differences in culture, language and societal norms, perceived limitations in opportunities for work, socialising, etc. And research shows most mixed marriages are at a higher risk of separation and divorce. Personally, I believe that mixed marriages have more opportunities, creativity and “out-of-the-box” resources to not only survive and thrive during the young parents stage but also to create lasting satisfaction and fun in marriage. But well, I am an expat, in a mixed relationship with multi-culti kids so you may call me biased
So, with all these things in the mix, how do you create your “happily ever after becoming parents”?
Here are a few tried and tested tips:
1. Think and act as a team – divide and conquer, and if the other person drops the ball, pick it up without blame. Invest in each other – time, energy, money, love. My personal moto is “whatever works” so throw away all the traditional norms, others’ expectations and “the Joneses and Kardashians” and do what works for you!
2. Keep the flame of romance and passion – and the key to that is intimacy, and the key to that is vulnerability. Tap into compassion and empathy. Be kind to yourself, first and foremost. Ensure you feel well, ensure your needs are met. And only then can you be strong enough to be present, supportive and kind to your spouse.
3. Set boundaries for you as a couple – I know you might feel like sending your biggest cooking pot on its way to my head as you read this but bear with me here and keep an open mind, ok? We live in a society that is very child-centred. There is so much pressure that you put your child first but there is a BIG problem with that notion. If you sacrifice yourself, your partner or your relationship in the process, your child will actually suffer. Safety aside, the best thing for a child is a happy home! And if “mamma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” or as some put it, happy wife – happy life.
4. Praise your partner in public! And apologise in public! – a compliment is 100x more powerful if you say it in public. Lead by example.
5. Always align your parenting strategies – this is another one where you might feel like throwing a pan in my direction but again, “Do it now. Believe it later.” So, listen up! The agreement between parents is more important than what they agree on. Food, sweets, screen time, sleep time, discipline, learning – to your child, it matters more that you agree than what you actually agree on. Research data on what food and routine is best for your child changes all the time, so don’t get stuck on the latest research and set your rules by that. Find out what you and your partner can agree on and then make that the rule.
How can you apply these tips to your relationship and create your “happily ever after”? Here is a present for all of the readers of this blog – a bonus 50 min, personal strategy call with Polya Rosin, Sweden’s #1 Relationship Strategist. Normally, this comes at a price of 1500 SEK but for you, readers – it is FREE! This is a one-time, limited offer so take this chance to boost the connection with your partner, to see how you can bring in more intimacy in your marriage and to talk about the strategies to help you become a strong, united parenting team
Book your complimentary call strategy session at:
Polya Rosin helps couples create healthy relationships for a happy life. Polya is She is a certified coach and a scientist with over 11 years of experience in health and wellbeing. She is a mum of three kids, an expat since the age of 18, she has a multicultural bonus family and is a strong advocate for passionate life and happy families.
If you start seeing that your baby is struggling to take a nap, here are a few things to keep in mind.
First, make sure that you have worked on your baby’s awake window, have set up their room for sleep, and have a good nap time routine in place. If your baby still isn’t sleeping well for their nap, next think if they are going through a developmental stage or regression time. When babies are learning a new skill, it can often interfere with sleep. Also, make sure your baby doesn’t have any sleep props to help fall asleep as these will often result in short naps. If the above aren’t causing short or no naps, here are a few cues that it might be time to drop a nap.
Generally, your baby will drop a nap around these ages:
4 to 5 months – 4 naps to 3 naps
6 to 7 months – 3 naps to 2 naps
13 to 17 months – 2 naps to 1 nap
24 to 36 months – 1 nap to 0 naps
If your baby starts showing some of these signs and they are within the age range of dropping a nap, then it’s probably time to adjust nap times!
You can find example age schedules at the bottom of this page!
Here’s how to drop a nap
There are three options that I find work best when dropping a nap time. The first is to let it happen naturally. On some days your baby may take a nap and on other days they may not. This works well for easy-going babies and also easy-going parents. You can read more about temperament here. This option can take a month to adjust to the new nap times.
Option two is to keep your baby awake by 15 to 30 minutes longer to help adjust to the change. You will keep them awake with extra play, daylight, or a snack. Limit anything that can trigger sleepiness, such as breast or bottle feeding, car or stroller rides. This option helps your child to adjust to the new nap times, but remember that your baby may be a little cranky when stretching their awake time and this will take anywhere from a week to a month to get on to the new nap times. Crankiness will be normal! Bedtime may be a little earlier to help adjust to the change.
Option three is to make the change to the new nap times. Similar to option two, you will keep them awake with extra play, daylight, or a snack. Limit anything that can trigger sleepiness, such as breast or bottle feeding, car or stroller rides. Your child will adjust fairly quickly (quickly can mean anywhere between three days to two weeks to make the change) but may be crankier while making this change. Bedtime may be a little earlier to help adjust to the change.
Remember, any change is like a mini jet lag and your baby’s body needs time to adjust, which can take about two weeks. Stay consistent and your baby will adjust before you know!
Visit the Parent Resources page for sample schedules and more tips to help your kiddo sleep! Or get in touch if you have more questions.