As a sleep coach for babies, my advice usually revolves around how to sleep train a baby and other pediatric sleep issues. Today, however, I want to focus on the moms out there. Parenting presents unique challenges, and in my area of expertise, when you throw sleep deprivation in the mix, well, channeling patience seems a foreign concept. How do you handle things when you’re pushed to the edge?
Loud and clear
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been known to yell a time or two when my girls have pushed me to snap. Whether it’s bickering or boredom, when I lose my cool, I feel guilty afterward. And while raising my voice often grabs their attention, I know that it’s not the way to handle things. And yelling definitely doesn’t help problem-solve in these situations.
Sometimes I just need to step back and take stock of the situation. For example, when I work with parents to teach how to sleep train your baby, I approach crying babies and chaos in a calm, relaxed manner. Can you imagine if I came into your home guns blazing? Yikes! And the reality is that problem-solving sleep issues as a sleep coach for baby isn’t much different than being a parent to my own children.
Stress and your children
When you were pregnant, did you ever have someone tell you that if you’re stressed during pregnancy, you’ll have an anxious and stressed baby? Well, studies have shown that stressed moms affect their children, even out of the womb. In fact, a 2014 study in Psychological Science showed that infants somehow experienced a transfer or negative emotions when their mothers were exposed to mild negative stressors in separate rooms. Those babies were able to sense that their mothers were stressed and experienced similar feelings. Researchers call this stress contagion.
Keep calm and carry on
To build more of a case for calm, a 2018 University of California-Riverside study showed the relationship between calm parents and calm kids. So, as your little ones grow older and you find yourself yelling for them to “calm down,” stop for a moment and think about what you’re putting out there. This study is really an argument for practicing what you preach. Plus, keeping your calm under pressure is healthier for everyone.
I’m not saying you should ignore the inevitable stressors in your life, but if anything, be more mindful about how you respond to those stressors because your children are watching. And when you find yourself pushed to the edge with your children because “She’s looking at me!” take a moment to center yourself before responding. You’ll be in a better position to help problem-solve a situation with your children when you’ve got a level head.
So, when you find yourself sleep deprived because your little one isn’t sleeping through the night, instead of losing your cool, schedule a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation with me. You’ve got this, mama!