Attunement and getting your groove on with baby

Attunement and getting your groove on with baby

We talk a lot about attachment and bonding when it comes to babies but what about attunement?

Recently I’ve come across a few babies and toddlers with strong personalities and a parent with an equally strong personality! And guess what? Yes …whooshka … the touch paper has been lit and we’re out of sync and dancing on bare embers.

How did it get to this?

If we look at parenting as a series of tasks to an inanimate object then this probably explains it well. Objects are passive and don’t move, shout back or have opinions! But a lot of babies as we know do! And quite forcefully at times. Got the picture?

You’re trying to change their nappy and they roll over. The once passive toddler suddenly refuses to leave the bath and your 6 month old turns their head to your lovely homemade puree!

When I ask the mother who they think the child resembles in personality they usually say me, meaning themselves!

attunementSo how can you get attuned?

  • It’s about thinking about things from your baby’s point of view. In fact, how would you like things done? It’s about making them think that they’re in control. Making fun and games out of tasks, so nappy changing isn’t just that. It may have a song or tactile rhyme attached to it. Here’s one of my favorites you’ll want to watch: The “Barramund Song” 🎥 https://www.facebook.com/NurtureParenting.BabySleep/videos/418705328996527/
  • It’s also about picking up on non-verbal as well as verbal cues. Ninety-five percent of communication is non-verbal. When a baby wants to be talked to and played with they will give you eye contact, maybe a smile and outstretched arms. When they don’t want to be played with all communication shuts down by averted gaze (no eye contact), looking away from you, repeated blinking and clenched fists and maybe grizzles and cries.
  • Baby massage may help you get attuned by getting to know which strokes your baby likes and how he or she likes to be massaged. It works on building on trust, sequences and your relationship. It’s really hard not to look into your baby’s eyes and not know them when you’re doing massage together. You’ll want to get your 3 sample chapters from my ebook – “Baby Massage: The Magic of Touch”. Go to this link and tell me where to send them 👉 https://i8cs6tc8.pages.infusionsoft.net
  • Food may be baby led weaning not just being fed purees. Once you let them feed themselves they let you feed them purees. It’s a control thing. Here’s a story where a 12 month old growled at her mummy during mealtimes and why … https://nurtureparenting.com.au/12-month-old-growls-at-her-mummy/
  • And the bath thing is about making it fun with a game, joining in. The more we think outside the square and make things fun, explore our inner child, the more we are in tune and achieve attunement.
  • It’s also looking at their daily rhythms. Are they are morning person or do they warm up later in the day. Most of us are a bit grim before our first cup of coffee of the day, maybe your baby is the same?
  • As a parent it’s really important that you’ve had enough sleep and have had your needs met to make this attunement happen. Having breakfast and a shower before you start your day is a great start to any day. Missing out on these essentials can make the best of us feel resentful.

If you’re tired and depressed then no matter how motivated you are it’s not going to happen. Talk to a healthcare professional and seek help to get your relationship back on track.

It’s doing the dance together, getting into your groove and making parenting fun.

The baby stage doesn’t last forever. Try and embrace it and all its challenges and quirks and attunement will come a lot easier. Get your groove on and get those groovy pants moving!

Some more resources below

  • A great book to read on this very topic is The Conscious Parent by Dr. Shefali Tsabery. One of my most favourite parenting books.Shefali Tsabery

Helping Your Child to Comply with Instructions

Limit setting for your baby 0-12 months

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🍌 FOODS that promote baby and toddler sleep
ROUTINE: easy, flexible, sleep-ready
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👶🏽 DEVELOPMENT: changes, how these affect sleep
😴 SLEEP METHODS: secret tips that will change your life
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Gentle baby and toddler sleep methods
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My Go-To Parenting Books Part Two

My Go-To Parenting Books Part Two

In part two of this blog, I’m giving you my go-to toddler & child behaviour parenting books. I’m giving you a little run down on each one and their main messages. This is not a definitive list and there are many many more books that I have read and own in my vast collection. This list is the most helpful list from my point of view. The boring as bat$3it books are not on this list and believe me there are way too many to list in this category! In the previous blog I covered 6 books on parenting, now it’s time for the final 7 in my goto list.

  1. No Bad Kids by Janet Lansbury
  2. Co-operative & Connected by Aletha Solter
  3. Jo Frosts Toddler Rules by Jo Frost
  4. The No-Cry Discipline Solution by Elizabeth Pantley
  5. Heart to Heart Parenting by Robin Grille
  6. Children Are People Too by Dr Louise Porter
  7. Oneness & Separateness by Louise Kaplan

No Bad Kids by Janet Lansbury

This book is from a well respected parenting source who passes on the teachings of Magda Gerber and RIE in her popular books, podcasts and social media posts. She enourages parents to use an empathic approach and attunement to help the child resolve anger and a potential stand off. Once you hit a stand-off you are into a lose-lose. She normalises childrens behaviour and the reasons why behind a behaviour outburst. 

Janet helps parents model expected behaviours using a gentle guidance approach. She gives you practical and tried and tested strategies and encourages you to keep calm and avoid anger. This approach fosters a healthy will and leaves the spirit in the spirited child.

Honesty is a core value at the heart of her approach. There is no quick-fix approach and truthful and respectful parenting can help both the parent and the child. She says on one hand that she doesn’t use time-out or shame based parenting but on the other hand says its OK to take your child to their room to work out their emotions. And to stay with them. Preferring instead to use logical consequences more than time-out. 

Co-Operative & Connected by Aletha Solter

Aletha is a world reknowned psychologist who has worked with the eminent Piaget as well as written many books on kind and respectful ways of parenting. What I love about Aletha’s approach is the science and psychology behind her strategies. Crying and tantrums are essential for healthy well balanced children and normal emotions long term. We must allow emotion to flow and not stop it, it’s cathartic and stress reducing for the child. 

Without connection you won’t have co-operation. Connection is everything. This book looks at strategies for getting your little person actually listening to you and co-operating. Aletha is a fan of approaches that are not based in the reward and punishment style of behavioural psychology. This is definately a must read.

Jo Frosts Toddler Rules by Jo Frost

Supernanny has graced our screens for many years now. Her no-nonsense and practical style has won a lot of admiring fans. This book is clear and well designed and a really easy to follow guide. If you’re looking for clear strategies that work then this is your book. The only parts are object to are the naughty chair – it labels the child as naughty rather than the behaviour. It is far better to use the words time-out or chill-out zone as it takes the label away from the child. It is so important to separate the childs behaviour from the child. I’m also not a fan of making the child apologise. What if it is a false apology? And by making them apologise are we reinforcing the negative behaviour?

The No-Cry Discipline Solution by Elizabeth Pantley

This book moves away from a firm control approach to parenting towards an empathetic model of the normal ups and downs of childhood. There are workable strategies to help with everyday speedhumps and emotional outbursts of a normal toddler or child. She gives you options for minor misdemeanours and working through problems as well as discipline for major outbursts and how to do time-out. There are what to do’s and what not to do for each behaviour as well as a general explanation.

Pantley has zero tolerance for dangerous outbursts and offers control back to a frazzled parent. I actually think this book is a much better book than her sleep book. However the promise of a no-cry discipline solution? This leaves me cold and is the opposite of what should be happening. Emotions need to flow and come out. Repressing crying is so toxic and I really dislike the title because of this.   

Heart to Heart Parenting by Robin Grille

A well respected Sydney based Psychologist Robin looks at parenting from a growth perspective of the parent. This book starts with pregnancy and how all the ways culture impacts on parenting shape the outcomes in our children. He encourages you to question the status quo and seach for a better world. This is less of a practical skills book and more of a whole life and the universe approach to being a parent.

He asks ‘what can we do when we make the painful discovery that something we have done has caused our child to hurt? And how can we deal with the guilt that comes up?…Parenting is an ever-evolving work in progress. A quick glance at the evolution of parenting through the ages does wonders to liquidate our sense of guilt, and replace it with humility and excitement for learning and growing as parents.’.

Parenting nowadays has shifted to an empathetic and emotion based model rather than the practical needs based parenting of yesteryear. 

Children Are People Too by Dr Louise Porter

Dr Louise Porter is a parent and child psychologist in Australia and lectures at Flinders University. Promoting a guidance approach and using communication rather than a typical rewards based behavioural stance it helps teach children self-regulation of emotions and ultimately self-control. With an emphasis on prevention it looks at the normal behavioural challenges children develop and the best ways of managing these. It also has a section on atypical behaviours and autism spectrum, OCD and ADHD.

The old ways of reward and punishment have no place in a modern society and certainly offer no benefit to the child. Moving away from a heavily controlling fear-based focus on parenting to a more child-centric way with an emphasis on helping a child solve their own issues. Reward charts and pocket money bribes should be a thing of the past she espouses. She belives in guidelines rather than rules, rights of others and the responsibility of the parent. And if we are to expect children to think and act responsibly we need to give them some responsibility to help them practice on. And their responsibilities need to grow with their increasing capabilities. This is a good book to help you with the older child and specifically 3-8 years age group.

Oneness & Separateness by Louise Kaplan

Louise is a professor of Psychology and a researcher in the field of attachment, her work is world reknowned and thought leading. I first came across her teachings whilst studying for my Psychology degree and her work has certainly helped and informed my practice in helping parents understand their babies and children. In this book Louise looks at developmental changes through the eyes of the baby and child. She takes you on a journey on what it means to be a separate individual and how that separation process plays out on a daily basis. It helps a parent understand why their baby has all these intense primal emotions and why they need help and support to naviagte these big developmental changes. I never ever tire of reading this book and each time I go back to it I glean and learn something new. Amazing.

And that is my final synopsis of books all about parenting and how to handle as well as understand these normal developmental outbursts. There are strategies, different approaches and practical applications but above all there is a gentle, kind and more empathic approach to parenting our children emerging. And this warms my heart and soul and gives me hope for humanity. We are raising our children in such a way that they are capable of solving the very big issues our world is currently facing.

 

My Go To Parenting Books to Help With Child Behaviour

My Go To Parenting Books to Help With Child Behaviour

In this blog, I’m giving you my go-to toddler & child behaviour parenting books. I’m going to give you a little run down on each one and it’s main messages. This is not a definitive list and there are many many more books that I have read and own in my vast collection. This list is the most helpful list from my point of view. The boring as bat$3it books are not on this list and believe me there are way too many to list in this category!

  1. Nurture Shock by Po Bronson & Ashley Merriman
  2. The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel, Tina Payne Bryson
  3. The Conscious Parent by Shefali Tsabery
  4. There’s No Such Thing As Bad Weather by Linda Akeson McGurk
  5. French Children Don’t Throw Food by Pamela Druckerman
  6. No Bad Kids by Janet Lansbury
  7. Co-operative & Connected by Aletha Solter
  8. Jo Frosts Toddler Rules by Jo Frost
  9. The No-Cry Discipline Solution by Elizabeth Pantley
  10. Children Are People Too by Dr Louise Porter
  11. Heart to Heart Parenting by Robin Grille
  12. Toddler Taming by Christopher Green

toddler behaviour

Toddler Taming by Christopher Green

The very first book I ever read on parenting and helping manage toddler and child behaviour was Christopher Green’s Toddler Taming. Whilst it may not have stood the test of time from a PC point of view and I don’t share his recommendations of smacking children. It does give you much-needed humour and a lot of his strategies do work. Christopher Green is a respected Australian paediatrician who until recently worked at Westmead. He talks about his trials and tribulations as a parent and how he approached typical parent pain points such as potty training. It is a very real book rather than a boring as cardboard academic book, of which there are way too many.

Next, I’m jumping to the very top of my list of top 10 parenting books. My background in Psychology (I have a psychology degree and in the UK we used Psychological techniques to help children with both sleep and behaviour). So a lot of my interest and reading is deeply rooted in science and fact and especially psychology.

Nurture Shock by Po Bronson & Ashley Merriman

The researchers who wrote this book are both psychologists and this book is based on scientific fact and things we as parents are getting very wrong. The very first chapter, The Inverse Power of Praise examines the effect of empty praise e.g. clever boy, good girl and why labelled praise can mean your child achieves a third better in life. Addictive reading. The other chapters cover what the lost hour of sleep is doing to our children, why parents don’t talk about race, why kids lie, Why school tests (NAPLAN for example) are poor predictors of academic success, The sibling effect, The Science of Teen Rebellion, Can Self-Control Be Taught? What does plays well with others really mean? And language skills, can you get your child to start talking earlier with flashcards and other gimmicks?

Another section I found fascinating was the one on teaching self-control and impulsivity. There are some great ideas at the end of this chapter for applications in everyday parenting life. Something you need to read especially if you have a child with a high IQ.

Once you’ve read this book it will open your eyes to some of the mistruths we are being fed.

The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel, Tina Payne Bryson

I’m currently reading this on my Kindle at the mo. Because I’ve studied Psychology there are no big surprises in this book for me. However, I think it’s a must-read for any parent. It explains why toddlers and children struggle with logic and other concepts we take for granted. Everything under 3 years is about emotion. Are you a parent who communicates with a logical left brain or are you able to only use the emotional right brain? Once you realise this it will help you communicate differently with your little one and allow for their developing brain. After all, the brain does not reach maturity until the early ’20s and there are some older adults who struggle with logic in their older years!

The Conscious Parent by Shefali Tsabery

I first discovered Shefali 3-4 years ago whilst blogging and daytime TV was on in the background. I remember David and Sonia saying Oprah thinks this lady is the best thing since sliced bread in the world of parenting and once they mentioned the word attunement they had me hooked. She’s a psychologist and mum of a teenage girl. Her books and work are deep, meaningful and highly spiritual. You will either love her as I do or it will not be your thing. But, for one thing she will most certainly get you thinking.

There’s No Such Thing As Bad Weather by Linda Akeson McGurk

This is the Swedish book of parenting and concentrates on outdoor play and the benefits this has on brain development. It’s a highly optimistic upbeat book and will give you hope for the future and the world you are raising your child in. Another advantage of reading this book is the humour that comes with it. Parenting without humour is like chewing 2-month-old stale dry bread. Basically don’t do it!! It will have you going out come rain, hail or shine. As Linda says ‘there is no such thing as bad clothes’. This is basically my childhood in a nutshell. It also comes with solid evidence-based scientific reasons for doing outdoors play. It will bring joy back to your parenting with a plethora of commonsense and practical ideas. I LOVED this book.

Parenting Books

 

 

 

 

 

 

French Children Don’t Throw Food by Pamela Druckerman

I first read this book about 7 years ago and I wanted to hate it but it’s actually my favourite book on parenting. The main message in this book is about The Pause, wait and see, don’t jump in, can your child do whatever the behaviour is by themselves? Most of the time yes they can and we jump in waaaaay too quickly. Those of you who know me and my sleep training methods very well will recognise the pause as The 3-Minute Magic Rule! A lot of dads love this book, it’s full of common-sense, highly logical and practical and best of all it works. And it’s a really easy and good read. Tick, tick, tick from me.

I’m finishing up today’s blog right here. The remaining 5 books I will blog about next. I hope you enjoyed this little saunter through my library and I hope it helped some of you decide what is worth more than a cursory glance at.

Limit setting for your baby 0-12 months

Limit setting for your baby 0-12 months

Limit Setting

Toddlers are designed to push boundaries and it comes naturally to these cute little mini dictators. The danger as their parent is you forget to maintain your boundary or limit setting. Until the toddler’s boundary becomes the new status quo. Then you are in for a whole heap of trouble and pain. I liken the toddler to a mini dictator or CEO, they want to be an adult before they’re a child. And they will do everything in their power to get exactly what it is they think they need.

In order to follow rules and understand limits, children need to develop self-control.

Self-control and self-regulation are complex skills beginning to emerge in the early months. They become increasingly consistently apparent between four and five years old. Self-regulation takes many years to fully develop — and adults may struggle with this skill from time to time! Limit setting starts at 0-12 months not when you hit testing times with a 3 year old!

Baby Sleep

Developing Self-Control 0-12 months

Babies naturally act on their thoughts and feelings over which they have no conscious control. They are unable to reflect on or think about their behavior. And they can’t stop themselves from acting on their impulses.

The baby needs your help to develop some self-control and will gradually learn about and gain some self-control across the first year. One of the most important factors in developing self-control is the ability to soothe and calm when upset. Initially this skill is provided by their caregiver by cuddling, rocking, talking calmly, feeding and putting a dummy in their mouth. The parent attempts to understand the baby’s facial expressions, non-verbal body language communication and cries to help in meeting her daily needs. The sense of being loved and understood gives babies a foundation of safety and security and is essential for coping with feelings in a positive healthy way.

What You Can Do Now To Help Your Baby Gain Self-Control

  • Stay calm – demonstrating you can manage your emotions is essential in being able to teach your baby the same skills. This helps her feel safe and then she knows you are avaialble to help her (not dealing with your own emotions and calming down). Modelling self-control is an essential part of helping her work out how to calm herself.
  • Provide basic tools – teach your baby basic calm techniques, at 8 months plus helping her find her comforter or pacifier to help calm herself. Avoid giving it to her and putting it in her hand or mouth. Once you give it to her you are creating learned helplessness and she will not attempt to help herself longterm.
  • Demonstrate self-help techniques – show your baby how to calm himself, provide a teething rusk or teething aid such as Sophie the Giraffe to help him whilst he is teething. Show him acceptable ways of helping himself rather than chastising him for ways you don’t want him to use e.g. biting your finger.

Daily Routines Help Develop Security and Self-Control

Routines are events which happen at the same time each day and usually in a particular order. They acat as a cue to help the baby know what is likely to happen next. They create security and decrease cortisol and help a baby navigate change and challenging situations.

How you can help

  • Determine if there are any particular times of day your baby has a meltdown. Is there a common denominator e.g. around mealtimes or nap times? Organise trips at the baby’s ‘best’ time of day.
  • Use baby massage, reading and soothing lullabies to help calm your baby from activity time to a restful nap.

http://www.njcite.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Linda-Gillespie-presentation.pdf

baby sleep

Get in tune with your baby

Does your baby have a very definite strong personality and temperament and are they resistant to change? Working out your baby’s ‘type’ can help you manage them much better.

A baby’s temperament can have an impact on a care- giver’s ability to meet the baby’s needs. Temperament refers to a person’s characteristics or traits that are biologically based and consistent over time. It influences how we respond to people and our surroundings.

Temperament characteristics shape how easily babies and toddlers are able to manage their feelings and impulses, especially traits e.g.

  • Mood
  • Intensity to particular situations
  • Adaptability

Children who have a more negative mood, are intense reactors and/or who are not very flexible or adaptable may have a more difficult time developing self-control.

They tend to get upset more easily and will probably need more help from you the parent to calm down. This doesn’t mean their temperament is somehow “wrong” or “bad.” But because their reactions are so strong, it may take more time to learn how to manage intense feelings and responses.

https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/1283-developing-self-control-from-0-12-months

How You Can Help Your Baby With Impulse Control

Help your baby learn to self-soothe and calm herself, the more in control she feels the happier she will be. This is a skill which has to be taught and it won’t just happen by chance. Allow your baby to have a voice, to be allowed to cry and express herself. The key thing is you help her with her emotions and avoid letting her cry alone. This is why teaching babies self-soothing skills early is the key to good emotional health as a child and an adult.

Observe your baby and try to understand her feeding and hunger cues. Study her verbal and non-verbal communication, what is she trying to tell you? Once babies feel heard and understood they become much calmer.

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🍌 FOODS that promote baby sleep
ROUTINE: easy, flexible, sleep-ready
💡 ENVIRONMENT: getting it right
👶🏽 DEVELOPMENT: changes, how these affect sleep
😴 SLEEP METHODS: secret tips that will change your life

It will stop the guesswork and give you:

A tried and tested approach (20 years of helping families with baby & toddler sleep)
Evidence-based
Gentle baby sleep methods
Holistic assessment
Nurture & Nourish nutrition program – all recipes have sleep-inducing ingredients and a perfect balance for a good nights sleep
Access to a closed Facebook group for one on one support from Karen and 90+ timecoded Facebook Live videos
Prevention for under 4 months so no need to do sleep training ever
And all at a low $97 for a very limited time

Nurture Sleep Program

I kept telling myself that his sleep would improve

Attunement and getting your groove on with baby

Your baby is rejecting the spoon and purees

Your baby is rejecting the spoon and purees

I got sent this scenario from a mum I know.

Skye 8 months has started to really refuse to be fed but it’s hit and miss (in terms of how much she actually gets into her tummy). I find if I let her be in charge fully she will only eat 1/3-1/2 of what she would usually eat (which isn’t much already!). There are better days but mostly watching her play with food and chat and how long should I let her eat?”

Hello Mum,

OK, here’s some tips on what to do with Skye. Independent eaters are incredibly common and I see a lot of these. The danger in feeding her by spoon when she’s telling you that she doesn’t want this, by clamping her mouth shut and growling at you, is that it will make her angrier. I hear about growling children at mealtimes a lot! When we do something that goes against our baby’s or children’s desire and they get angry at us it’s the opposite of good relationship building. I wrote a blog about attunement ages ago and I’d like to raise it again. I think attunement is possibly one of the most important things in building a healthy relationship with your baby and child. I’d do finger foods totally for mains but every food has to be high calorie, protein and low GI carb so that every mouthful is helping her with energy intake and therefore sleep. Try and steer clear of too much fruit and veg, they fill up and don’t give enough calories. It will be very messy at first and more food will end up on the floor than in her mouth! Within 2 weeks Skye should have developed all those necessary skills to be an effective self-feeder.

https://nurtureparenting.com.au/?s=attunement

baby eating solid foodIdeas of foods that tick all these boxes:

I also recommend offering dessert after mains – no one has ever turned down pudding!

Give healthy snacks in between meals

  • Peanut butter and other nut butters and avocado on wholemeal toast soldiers (spread thickly) or cruskits
  • Hummus and other dips with brown rice crackers

baby eatingAdding foods that have a high fat content will double the calories that carbs have. So she may not be taking the same volume but it’s calorie dense. eg butter, cheese, cream, mascarpone, ricotta, nut butter, avocado, oily fish, coconut cream.

https://nurtureparenting.com.au/babies-need-a-high-fat-diet-for-good-sleep/

Also always eat with her and turn the TV off. Mealtimes can take around 30 minutes. After that, as soon as she starts playing with/throwing food then mealtime is finished.

Allowing them to self-feed is so important for many reasons

  • Promotes fine motor skills
  • Hand-eye co-ordination
  • Attunement and relationship building
  • Speech development
  • Maintaining a healthy diet and healthy food choices
  • Also, do you want to be feeding your now child as an adult? Thought you’d say that!

So it will happen! Patience! Within a week I think Skye will be eating heaps, we just have to have the patience to allow this to happen. It’s a very important part of parenting, allowing your child to become independent.

https://nurtureparenting.com.au/baby-food-pouches-negative-effect-baby-sleep/