Pam Miller

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Dialogue from Peace at Home Parenting’s Private Facebook Page

We’re having some debate about self soothing. The doctor told us that our 4 month old son needs to learn how to self soothe in the night when he wakes up and be able to get himself back to sleep. 

During the day, he sometimes cries when he is bored and wants to be held. Once we pick him up he is fine and just wants to laugh and play.
I have started swaddling him and putting him in his crib during the day when he won’t let us put him down. At which point he screams until someone picks him up.
Should we let him cry until he figures it out or should we pick him up? And how do you train a baby to self soothe to get themselves back to bed at night without practicing doing it during the day?

  • Comment: My oldest will soon be 14. He was my Velcro child for the first four years of his life. We co slept with him and I had him in an ergo carrier as I needed my hands to get things done. He would nap on my back as I vacuumed (as a baby 6mnth – 2yr) or cooked dinner. He now of course sleeps in his own room and is very independent and self assured. I asked a mom who had kids that were already adults what to do. She said each child is different and if my child wants to be held then do so. That will give them the reassurance that they need to be able to separate and explore. Ironically my youngest had no interest in being held much after being an infant as he always wanted to keep up with his brother. He is now more ‘attached’ than when my oldest was the same age (elementary school age). Do what works for you and your child. As a side note skin to skin contact or holding your child/baby is great for helping them calm their nervous system down.
    Someone once said to me in terms of parenting: the days can go by really slow but the years go by really fast.
    https://www.helpguide.org/…/building-a-secure…/
  • Comment: I would disagree with your doctor. 4 months is too early to expect self-soothing from all babies. Some may accomplish it but many will not. Brain science would highly recommend that you help your child soothe every time. As they grow, they may need you less and less but you don’t want their brain bathing in stress hormones from being left to cry. We tried crying it out as recommended to us for our now 19-year-old. It was stressful for all of us and not effective. Trust me, they will be in college before you know it! Give them all the love and nurturing while you can even though you are exhausted! Best wishes!
  • Comment: They are only a baby once. Pick him up, love on him. That’s what he needs, and that’s what will make him feel stable and grow up knowing he is protected and loved. Our son is almost 14, our daughter is 2. Both kids got snuggles and picked up when they needed it. Every time. The 14 year old is a troubled sleeper, always has been. The 2 year old is independent and knows we will always come for her so we have no issues with bed time anymore. She lays right down and she’s out all night.
  • Comment: Agree with all the above. Pick him up. Enjoy. There only little for so long. Trust your instincts.
  • Comment: Personally, at four months, I feel they need the contact. We started working on self soothing when my babies were closer to eight months, it wasn’t easy! Snuggle then as much as you can, soon enough they’re in high school! Happy Parenting!
    • Reply: us too 7-9 months is when we worked on this with our kiddos…and we now have an 8,5, and 2 y/o who are wonderful sleepers.
  • Comment: I agree with everyone above—4 months is so young to expect self-soothing. Love on that baby! Having said this, you need to do what is best for your whole family— in other words if you need a moment, it is okay to sometimes let the little one cry. But I wouldn’t expect the baby to self soothe consistently at this age. Of course, all kids and parents are different— and thus what works for one parent-baby relationship— even in the same family—may not work for another. Hang in there! These baby days/ nights are hard but fleeting! And a key to enjoying them is not having unrealistic expectations for the baby or yourself.
  • happy mother sleeping with her baby on a bed

    Comment: JoAnn Robinson from Peace at Home Parenting: There is something magical that happens with many 4 month olds–they are becoming aware of their surroundings and want to be engaged in it. Their distance vision is improving and the world is now in focus and very interesting. Our daughter went through this…didn’t want to nap, wanted to be held and engaged. I just about lost it without those daytime naps. It lasted for a couple of months and then napping came back. The advice of your peers is good. Your doc is not entirely off-base, however. Your son may need more support to slow down and disengage from the ‘excitement’ of being awake. Help him get ready for sleep with darkened room, humming one song over and over or using a wave or rain sound maker. Use one consistent phrase that he will learn as a cue that you are leaving him. Try to have 10 days where his go-to-sleep times are not interrupted so that you can focus on the routine you want to create. He may no longer like swaddling. His arms and hands are gaining strength and purpose as his brain develops; some children cease to enjoy swaddling at this age. My children began using a pacifier at this age to help them self soothe, but our daughter especially, needed lots of time in the Snuggly carrier until she was 5-6 months old. Do children need to practice during the day what you want them to do at night? Not necessarily, although for moms who want to stop co-sleeping or having baby on them during all naps, I do recommend they practice during the day first. We’re here if you think you would like some individual coaching/support through this phase.

  • Comment: Here’s a great article on the science of attachment parenting. Impact of attachment, temperament and parenting on human development
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3534157/
  • Comment: Oddly enough, it helps with naps or bedtime if you put them down before they are cranky tired. Singing and connecting and touch in the crib make the crib a magical yummy space. I leave the room when she is happy and return to reconnect (but rarely pick her up at this point ). … Babies are building trust. She trusts that I have not left. Bit she has a happy, independent nature, and each child is unique.

 

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When parents permit kids to “graze,” that is eating at will throughout the day, parents will often end up with power struggles with kids and sometimes even eating problems or disorders. Experts suggest that scheduled meals and snacks with limited offerings is best for developing good eating skills. Ellyn Satter, nationall recognized adviser on feeding children recommends the following:
  • Parents are entirely responsible for when, where and what is served to children
  • Children are entirely responsible for whether they eat and how much

This plan eliminates food battles and improves children’s natural abilities to notice when satisfied.

Interesting that this parents made the connection between snacks and Netflix – how many families allow eating in front of screens? This reduces the likelikhood that children will recognize when satisfied and make good choices.
Parents may also want to think about how many processed snacks are available. As one nutritionist recently noted – if your food can’t go bad, consider it bad for your health.
*The ParentNormal @ParentNormal
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News 8 continuing our look at Positive Co-Parenting.

After Justin Michaels had gotten into a good co-parenting groove with his ex-wife, Chantel, he introduced her to his new girlfriend, Laurah.

Related: Positive Co-Parenting Part 1: Exchange conflict for compromise and communication

“She was in nursing school at that point, and I’m a nurse, so we were talking about that,” remembers Laurah.  “Chantel is one of the nicest humans ever, so, we got along from the start.”

Justin and Laurah got married, as did Chantel and Tyler.  Suddenly, little Remi had a step-mom and a steo-dad added to the mix.

“The idea of the mother and the father and the nuclear family, that’s not the way kids are growing up now,” says Ruth Freeman, founder of Peace At Home Parenting Solutions.

She says “planning” can make co-parenting a whole lot easier.

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Parent in the Moment has created a short webinar to teach you some quick, simple, actionable ways to make mindfulness a habit for every member of your family. We’ve broken down the sometimes nebulous concept of mindfulness into 5 habits:

  1. Be present.
  2. Be calm.
  3. Be compassionate.
  4. Be grateful.
  5. Reflect.

We’ll show you how to practice each of these 5 habits as a parent and how to teach your children to practice them as well. Children look to the adults in their lives as models for how to calm their extreme emotions, handle conflicts, and interact with loved ones and strangers.

Learn more: https://www.pitmnyc.com/blog/5-mindful-habits-to-reduce-stress-and-increase-happiness-the-bond-of-love-for-your-family

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Exchange conflict for compromise and communication

by Sarah Cody

View at https://www.wtnh.com/on-air/connecticut-families/positive-co-parenting-part-1-exchange-conflict-for-compromise-and-communication/1731905496

BURLINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) – Divorce is difficult.  Oftentimes, mom and dad need to put aside contentious feelings to make sure their child still feels stable and secure.  News 8’s Connecticut Families is taking a two part look at how to co-parent in a positive way.

“There were other times when she wasn’t too happy with me but was still a good co-parent,” says Justin Michaels, of Burlington.

He, and his ex-wife Chantel, divorced when their son, Remi, was a baby.

“It can be really stressful when you’re young, both in college,” says Justin.  “We owned a home, had a newborn.”

Chantel adds: “It’s hard.  You have this little human being that loves both of you very much and it was hard enough to be split and share my time.”

At first, co-parenting was difficult as Justin and Chantel figured out their new relationship.  They worked hard – agreeing on one thing: the didn’t want Remi to feel like he was in the middle.

“I come from a split family, so, I knew exactly what I didn’t want to do,” says Justin.

“Particularly when there’s a romantic relationship that’s broken up, that child becomes a symbol of the loss, a symbol of a lot of things,” says Ruth Freeman, a licensed clinical social worker and founder of Peace at Home Parenting Solutions, a team of educators and child development specialists that offer online classes.

She says don’t make a child take sides.

READ MORE about Positive Co-parenting >

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registerYou have made a miracle – no, not just your kids but making the choice to carve time out from your busy life to focus mindfully on your children and your relationship with them. I’m deeply grateful to be joining with you in this process.

If you grew up in a family where you felt safe, soothed and truly seen, this will be a piece of cake. If you are like over 2/3 of adults in the US, your childhood had some challenges and those may make this process a bit more challenging. Take your time, get support and remember this is a process. We are looking for progress not perfection.

You want your kids to listen, maybe even the first time you ask. We are going to get you there but first a few basics.

  1. Do you feel safe, soothed and truly seen today? Do you have connections among your family or friends that really support you?
  2. How well are you managing your stress? Even if you are positive with your kids, if your inner life is in emergency mode, your kids will sense that and reflect it.

You will find attached to this class some tools to help you improve self care and well-being. You may want to start there for a couple of weeks before you begin taking action steps with your kids. And even if you don’t, be kind to yourself in this process.

Remember, progress, not perfection.

So let’s get started. 

What you’ll learn

  • Students will be able to apply parenting strategies that increase child cooperation and confidence and reduce family stress.

Are there any course requirements or prerequisites?

  • An open mind, willingness to reflect on your own behavior as a parent, readiness to make small changes in habits and the desire to have Peace in your Home!

Who this course is for:

  • All parents and caregivers who seek more positive approaches to discipline and communication.
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Thu, Feb 28, 20198:15 PM – 9:00 PM EST

Q&A Sessions are free for all parents and caregivers who participated in one of our live online parenting classes. Participants will have a chance to ask questions about the new approaches they are practicing as well as other issues if time allows. They will have a chance to connect with other parents, share challenges, and celebrate successes.

Presenter: Ruth Freeman

Peace at Home Parenting guidance does not stop when this live online class is over. After class, you will be invited to join our private Facebook group. There, you will have unlimited access to our team of parenting experts, who will share tips and answer parents’ questions. This Facebook community is also a place to connect with other caring parents, like you. We welcome parents to share challenges and celebrate successes.

In addition, you will receive access to free monthly “Question and Answer” sessions. During these sessions, you will be coached in applying the skills you learned in Peace at Home classes and again you will connect with other parents working to improve skills.

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Establece un ambiente de cooperación (2-12 años) Set the Stage for Cooperation (2-12 years old)

¿Deseas que tus hijos tengan confianza y cooperen? ¿Sueñas con un hogar más calmado?
A veces logras que tu hijo siga instrucciones mediante la intimidación o el miedo. Tal vez has llegado a creer que estas son las únicas maneras de hacer que tu hijo…

This training is offered several times. Select the date and time that works best for you.

FREE Live Online Class: How to Take the Stress Out of Parenting

Parents are less stressed when their kids cooperate. Children are more cooperative when they feel positively connected with their parents. This live online class will help you understand and apply:
• Communication skills that build strong parent-chi…

Infant Toddler Brain Development: Why Parents Matter So Much

When parents understand the basics of brain development they are not surprised at the creative ways their children learn and explore. Brain development basics help parents understand what they want to promote and what they may want to avoid in respon…

Price: $10.00 USD

This training is offered several times. Select the date and time that works best for you.

Disciplina Positiva que funciona (2- 12 años) (Positive Discipline that Works (2 – 12 Years Old))

¿Tu hijo pasa mucho tiempo castigado?
¿Te preocupa ser demasiado estricto o demasiado débil?
¿Frecuentemente piensas si hay una mejor manera?
Los niños criados con disciplina positiva tienen mayor confianza y cooperan más. Descubrirás que existen …

This training is offered several times. Select the date and time that works best for you.

Mealtimes: End the Power Struggle

Family meals are associated with school success, lower rates of teen problems and an assortment of positive outcomes. Yet, parents find it hard to keep consistent mealtimes and often mistakenly use feeding and mealtimes to try to enforce healthy eati…

Price: $10.00 USD

This training is offered several times. Select the date and time that works best for you.

Anxious children: what really helps? (2 – teens)

Does any of this sound like your child?
• Clinging, crying and/or tantrums when you separate
• Excessive shyness, avoiding social situations
• Constant worry
• Avoiding situations or places because of fears
• Complaints of frequent stomacha…

Price: $10.00 USD

This training is offered several times. Select the date and time that works best for you.

FREE 5 Mindful Habits to Reduce Stress and Increase Happiness

Learn how to make mindfulness a habit for your family with easy tips you can use to reduce stress and strengthen the bond of love.
Presenters: Dana Asby, M.A., M.Ed.
and Melanie Laguna, M.S.

Peace at Home Parenting guidance does not stop when th…

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When a parent makes their own health a priority, it is reflected back on their family through increased energy for quality time with children, positive role modeling, and decreased stress levels.

busy parentsBut how? How do we make time and find the energy to care for ourselves among everything else that must be handled? It comes down to motivation, goals, and mindfulness…and some thoughtful strategies for making health and fitness work in your life. Rather than using our wellness plan as a punishment or added stressor on top of an already overwhelming to-do list, let’s talk about ways to make it work.

Busy parents who succeed at making wellness a priority create small yet significant changes in their nutrition and fitness routine. Building those small changes one upon another results in bigger changes over time.

Small, short term goals are the key to success when it comes to healthy habit change. Goals that are too big can feel overwhelming. This can lead more stress, worry, and a fear of failure, often leading to goals being abandoned or “put on hold” for an easier time. Small changes added one or two at a time, on the other hand, can easily become a part of your routine. And small steps over time add up to sustainable, long term change to your health and well-being.

Here are some easy steps you can start right now:

  1. Practice mindful nutrition
    1. Avoid mindless munching – unplanned scavenging is a hidden roadblock to nutritional success
    2. Stop, pause and breathe – take 10 seconds to slow down “emergency eating”
    3. Ask “Do I really want this?” – recognize hunger vs thirst, boredom or stress
  2. Make fitness easier
    1. Set out your workout clothes the night before – seeing them will remind and inspire you
    2. Create a buddy system – either working out together or just daily check-ins
    3. Purchase simple at home equipment such as resistance bands or dumbbells.
  3. Get support
    1. Reflect on your resistance to asking for help
    2. Ask loved ones to encourage you or notice progress or inquire kindly about how to support you to address barriers
    3. Ask for help with meal prep or childcare

Eating nutritious foods, getting in enough physical activity, sleeping enough, and decreasing stress can sound like a daunting task when you think about it all at once. But separate those down into small, manageable steps (think one more glass of water per day; 30 more minutes of exercise per week), and over time you can build a solid foundation of healthy habits. Forget crash diets and all-in gym plans. Small steps are the key to success for busy parents who already have too much on their plate


Stephanie Rondeau is a Boston based certified health coach who is also the parent of a busy toddler and Corporate Wellness Outreach Coordinator and Teacher for Peace At Home Parenting. Stephanie is an Athletic Trainer, a CSCS (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist), a personal trainer, and small group fitness instructor. She helps women to treat themselves with compassion, practice positivity, and find the motivation and strength to live their healthiest lifestyle. Check out Stephanie’s FREE upcoming class, ““Wellness on the Run: Quick, Real Life Strategies for Parents of Young Children”


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