Oh! The elusive commodity all parents crave....SLEEP! It will be amazing if my child would stay in his/her bed and sleep by themselves the entire night!
We must emphasise that sleeping independently (in their own bed, through the night) and (falling asleep by themselves) are PROCESSES. Nobody can promise you magic to get the child to do both of that instantly. It takes a lot of patience, perseverance and some tricks to get this right.
Start from day 1
Newborns require a lot of attention and therefore new parents are often tempted to save time and effort by having the child sleep on the same bed. That however has a huge impact on your sleep, sex life and may even end in a tragedy. (yes, we are not exaggerating)
You can read more about the dangers of co-sleeping with a baby HERE
It is possible to have a child sleep in his/her own room from day one! We have done it with both our children!
You will be surprised that newborn babies love being lulled asleep but actually don't mind sleeping alone in their own room. It is often the adults that prefer having the child around that forms that dependency.
It does take a lot of effort to get out of bed and soothe/feed the child every 2 hours but it is well worth it. The longer you have your child co-sleeping with you, the harder it is to get them to sleep in their own bed.
Ensure that the child sleeps on his/her back and the bed has no loose bedding/blanket. Swaddle them up securely and make sure the room is cool/ventilated. If you are worried, you can always install a baby monitor or IP camera to monitor your child. If you don't have another room for the child, the best option would be to have them in a separate cot/bed/mattress. Anything but in the same bed!
Transitioning with some tricks
If you have already been co-sleeping with your child for some time. It is still possible to transition them to their own beds. You should also expect it to be difficult. Once a child associates sleep with the parent's bed and sleeping with them, it does take a lot of effort to wean them off the habit.
We placed our children in cots with railings that keep them in bed until they are around 2 years old. Children being children will try their luck at sneaking back into your bed but a sturdy cot will prevent that.
If your child cries or throws a tantrum, repeat simple phrases like "Matt, you can sleep by yourself". We must have repeated this more than a thousand times. It does take quite a lot of patience to get a toddler to understand this.
Depending on a child, a sleeping buddy (usually a soft toy), Pacifier (dummy) will be helpful. They will feel less insecure when their little soft toy is there with them. If they do wake AGAIN and make a fuss, REPEAT the phrases, assure them and get them back asleep. It can take a day or two to get your child to adjust, it could take weeks.
Getting a child to fall asleep by themselves
This part of the training only comes after the child turns one. Younger babies and toddlers should be able to self-soothe and sleep through the night but will still require some help with falling asleep. You can try sitting beside them by the cot, singing to them or patting them until they fall asleep.
To begin transitioning away from being helped 100% of the way to fall asleep, you can perhaps pat/sing or rock the child until they are groggy and half asleep before putting them down to fall asleep on their own. Once your child can self-soothe and fall asleep when they are sleepy, learning to fall sleep independently is close by!
The next stage would be to simply sit beside their cot and tell them to lie down, hold their sleeping buddies and try to fall asleep. Your presence is just to assure them and make them feel secure. Children around the age of 2-3 years old should be able to fall asleep by themselves and sleep through the night in their own beds when consistently instructed to. It is also good time to wean off the pacifier (dummy) at this age and move on to a sleeping buddy to prevent damage to the teeth or speech development. Some children take longer, some get it quicker but it is possible for every child to do this.
The key is really CONSISTENCY.
Clear instructions, consistent repetition and providing alternatives to help the child feel secure will help you achieve the goal eventually.
Let your child know that they are not abandoned! Invite them to snuggle in your bed when everyone has woken up in the morning.
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Co-sleeping can devastate your life!
The first few months of a child's life can be stressful for parents! In the midst of adjusting to the baby's schedule, parents are often tempted to share a bed with the baby. This can develop into something more sinister!
For the sake of clarity, we are defining co-sleeping as parents sleeping with the child on the same bed.
Some of the devastating effects (or really frustrating effects) of Co-sleeping are:
#1 Risk of suffocation/Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
The tiredness that comes with raising a little one is real. It is difficult to know if we have pulled the duvet/blanket over the baby or pushed a pillow into the baby's face. You risk suffocating or physically hurting your child if you or your partner move a lot in your sleep. It is devastating to lose a child and many have lost their infants from co-sleeping, you can find a very comprehensive article about this risk HERE
#2 Unhealthy attachment or dependancy
If a child has grown used to falling asleep with the parents beside him/her, there is a real possibility that the child will refuse to move to their own bed/room. This can grow into an unhealthy dependancy and association of sleep with being in the parent's bed. The inability to self-soothe and fall asleep independently can also develop into further behavioural problems
#3 Disrupted sleep for the whole family
There is a high chance somebody is a light sleeper. This means that any snoring and shifting can affect the sleep quality of others sharing the same bed. Sleep deprivation has serious effects on growth and the health of everyone. Somebody is bound to have an alarm set for the next work day that is going to wake everyone up. Imagine not ever having a chance to sleep in on the weekends?!
#4 No intimacy on its effect on marriage
Having a permanent resident in your bed will affect your sex life. Most people are not comfortable being watched while they are sharing intimate moments with their spouse. Why then allow your child to make your bed theirs? Intimate moments isn't just about sex, it could be a quiet moment for parents to snuggle up and fill each other's love tanks. Working 9 hours a day, returning home to spend all the rest of the time including bed time with another person without having private moments with your spouse will severely affect your marriage.
As parents of two little ones, we fully understand how tiring it is to get up and go to the other room to feed the baby especially when you are breastfeeding. We worked as a team and took turns to go into the baby's room to feed or lull them to sleep. You can also fit a baby monitor or IP camera to watch your little one if you are worried. Ultimately, it only takes some effort to train your little one to sleep independently and learn to respect the bedroom as private and personal spaces.
Next post: How to train your child to sleep independently in their own beds and room.
When you think of a UK or England destination to visit, London is the first that come to mind! We've got that covered HERE! Loughborough is relatively unknown to most but it is definitely a gem! Most people get scared by its 12 letter name when they first see it. It is simply pronounced as LUFF-BRUH :)
This tiny university town is about 3 hours to London via the M1 motorway. It is only 1hr 35 mins via East Midlands Trains from London St Pancras station.
What is so special about this small town?
This quiet university town was where I had one of the best times of my life. Studying at Loughborough university was an amazing time of growth, learning and healing. Loughborough is a simple town with amazing quiet spaces where I was able to reflect and feel at peace. The slower pace meant I often sat in Queen's Park and read for hours. I learnt to appreciate beauty of a duck, snowflake and the autumn colours. I even had time to build a snowman!
If you are looking for a quiet getaway where you can be away from crowds but still enjoy the comforts of civilisation, this is a great place!
Relax at the Queen's Park and visit the Town Hall for some theatre, art and music!
Check their site for the schedule and booking details! www.loughboroughtownhall.co.uk
Don't miss awesome produce at the Farmer's Market held every second Wednesday of each month between 9am and 3pm at the town centre. Another key event is the historic Loughborough fair that is held early November every year! You get some exciting fair-rides and food!
My favourite Fish & Chips in the whole wide world can be found in Loughborough!
Visit: Trawlers Catch at 92 Ashby Rd, Loughborough LE11 3AE, UK
Must order: COD FISH AND CHIPS!
They are open only 2 hours for lunch from 12-2pm (Tues to Thurs). They open mostly in the evenings from 5-10pm (Mon to Sat).
The most therapeutic part of Loughborough has to be the Great Central Railway. If you love trains, steam engines and everything antique, you MUST visit this place. This mainline heritage railway offers historical steam/diesel train rides all the way to Leicester North and back. You get special events such as steam galas, Peppa Pig, Bonfire Night, Wartime Weekend and Santa Specials!
Train geeks (like me) can even get to drive a locomotive, dine in the train and bring your whole family on an excursion. You get to enjoy views of Charnwood waters and the beautiful countryside! Check out their website for train and event schedules/ticketing details:
Next time you need a quiet, relaxing, therapeutic place to visit in England, head to Loughborough!
We all have a favourite dish, shoe, t-shirt, friend and child. It is inevitable that we show preference toward a particular child among our children. To say that you don't have a favourite would be a lie! "Why is that so?" you may ask.
You see, humans have very diverse behavioural patterns. We speak differently, respond differently and each have different preferences. We show preference for everything down to the colour of our socks. When we are emotionally involved in a relationship with another human being, we form complex emotions around the experiences we accumulate.
It is impossible for us to form identical emotions and experiences with different people.
Every child is different and unique. We therefore form very diverse experiences with our children. It is only human and logical to prefer one over another because you get along better. Although showing preference may be a normal human behaviour, we can practice these 3 behaviours to avoid harming our children.
Behaviour #1 (You shall not neglect the others despite having a favourite child)
There must be a conscious effort to devote equal time, love and effort towards all the children. Gwyneth is daddy's girl and Matthias is mummy's boy but that doesn't mean we neglect the other child. You can say I prefer Gwyneth better because we get along easier. Debra gets along with Matthias better without clashing because their characters compliment each other. We are however very conscious about devoting as much time to reading to both children, playing with both children and showing loving affection to both of them. Having a favourite or a preference does not mean you love one less than the other. You can prefer one child over the other but you should NEVER neglect the others.
Behaviour #2 (Ensure you don't show open bias)
Children lose all respect when parents show open bias toward a particular child. We must emphasise that it is normal to have a favourite but it is wrong to be openly biased, unfair or discriminatory. When a child behaves badly, you apply the same rules to all your children. You don't give a child more resources because he/she is your favourite. Such bias and unfairness will breed bitterness and strife among your children. A good example to illustrate this point would choosing a partner to sit with on a bus ride. You will have a favourite child to sit with. It becomes toxic when you reject sitting with all but your favourite child.
Behaviour #3 (Emphasise teamwork and reflection)
To err is human. We will find ourselves struggling at times or giving the impression of unfairness/favouritism among our children. The best behaviour to adopt would be to be open with your children and reflect together as a team. Admit your mistakes and think about how your actions may have affected the children. After all, a family unit works together to make family work. When one part of a body is hurt, the whole body suffers. When something surfaces, always work on an outcome that restores love and unity.
You will have a favourite child but you can devote yourself
Read many other interesting and useful posts on parenting HERE!
Topics include: Screen time, Feed your child McDonald's, developing talents and the best head-start for your child.
Falling in love in London #2
London is a wonderful place to fall in love. There is always something you can do as a couple or family. If you are looking for a list of amazing things to do together, do check out our first part that covers some of the most romantic and fun activities/locations.
Couples and family that eat together, travel together and make memories together will stay together! In this post, we talk about 3 of the most enchanting experiences you can have together as couple or family.
#1 Most enchanting experience - Watch a Musical together!
Check out London's West End for some of the longest running musicals in the most beautiful London's enchanting Mamma Mia, The Lion King and Phantom of the Opera. You can watch a musical every single night you spend in London as long as you have the budget and plan your ticket bookings before hand. If you can, book online before hand from well-reviewed sources. Try not to entertain the street touts who sell you tickets (usually at exorbitant prices). Get to the Theatre early and enjoy the atmosphere of the beautiful buildings. The experience of watching a live play is most magical and emotional!
#2 Most enchanting experience - Spend a relaxing day at Hyde Park!
I would rank Hyde Park among the BEST parks in the world. You would think, "Hey! you guys have Gardens by the Bay in Singapore don't you?". Yes we do. The problem is, you cannot walk for 15 minutes without soaking your shirt with perspiration in the year-round tropical heat/humidity. I hear Brits complaining about how miserable their weather is all the time while studying in Loughborough. I do admit my ears do hurt when it gets bitterly cold but I love it that you don't need to perspire or feel miserably sticky most times of the year. Okay I need to stop rambling about the weather (a habit I've picked up in the UK!)
Walk along The Serpentine (Lake) and watch the swans, ducks and geese! If you are visiting between March to October, you can get into a paddle boat and soak in the views from the calm waters. Find a shady spot and have a picnic! The juxtaposition of a green, peaceful and quiet place right in the middle of busy London makes it such an enchanting experience.
Debra and I LOVE this park to bits. We basically just sat on a park bench together, stared into the stunning open space and lost track of time.
#3 Most enchanting experience - Spend a day at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Debra and I have such fond memories of enjoying this amazing winter/Christmas spectacle together. You can enjoy rides, games and amazing food at this fair! Best part: FREE ENTRY!
When we brought Matthias to Winter Wonderland in Singapore last December, we showed him our London photos and wanted to give him an idea of what we were visiting. Sadly, he was utterly disappointed and called it 'Winter RuinLand'. The scale of the London Winter Wonderland is just humongous. You get full scale roller coaster rides and countless little huts and family friendly rides
We enjoyed some amazing hot chips, sausages and mulled wine while strolling along in the winter cold. It was a comforting feeling that is beyond description. It may be a little difficult to stay away from all the very attractive candies!
It is certainly somewhere a couple or family can do together and make wonderful memories together. The weather may be cold but the festivities and being with your loved ones warms the heart and soul.
Coming soon: Posts on our trip to Nottingham,Loughborough Manchester, Cambridge and Wales!
Enjoyed this post?You can read about our New Zealand adventures HERE!
Vincent & Debra Kwan, Founders of Hiro & Jack and stay-at-home parents with the odd life.
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