As a parent, you may have run out of bedrooms to house all your children in separately. Or you may be joining a growing number of parents who have decided sharing a bedroom is a positive value you’d like to teach your children. After all, how do you learn the skill of being able to share unless you are exposed to it?
Sharing A Bedroom
Children as young as three years of age are able to be taught the skills and value of sharing. Unless you actively seek to teach this, it is unlikely to occur by osmosis and chance. I’m sure you’ve come across some adult members of society who are poor sharers.
What Age Can Siblings Share A Bedroom?
Basically you can put siblings to share a room whenever you feel ready to do this and once they are able to self-settle. Ideally around 6 months plus. Sharing a room can help a toddler who feels lonely or who has separation anxiety. It models positive behaviours and teaches good life values. I’m sure many of you reading this will have shared a room with a sibling.
Introducing The Idea of Sharing a Bedroom
I recently did a phone consultation with a mum I’ve helped several times with both of her young children. One of these children is an extremely strong temperament. He dislikes changes in routine and can regress badly. Baby number three is on the way and mum would like her child number one and two to share a bedroom for many reasons.
It teaches the skill of sharing
Empathy for another’s needs
It teaches negotiation skills
Models positive sleep behaviours
Helps with bedtime
Help comfort a child who may suffer from nightmares or other bedtime related fears
Teaching kids how to respect other people’s property
Child number one is just over 4 years of age and child number two is approaching two years of age. The family is moving house in two weeks and this will be implemented from the start of the home move. So how do you set the scene for this to be the norm?
Tips for Sharing a Bedroom
Introduce the concept of sharing via bedtime books – I use storybooks to address many issues – examples include – Trace Moroney – The Feelings Series, Sharing a Shell by Julia Donaldson, This Room is Mine by Betty Ren Wright (an oldie and a goodie), Zoe’s Room by Bethany Deeny Murguia.
Use examples of other children who share a bedroom and if possible show them pictures of what sharing a bedroom looks like.
Get them to help set up the new bedroom with you so they feel involved.
Make sure each child has their own personal space within the bedroom.
Give each child their own lamp and bedside table
Separate bedtimes for different age groups, this enables the younger child to get to sleep before the older child goes to bed. This reduces disruptions of talking and laughing. Separate out bedtimes by 30-60 minutes depending on the age of the children.
Allow the older sibling to have several periods of alone time in the bedroom every day
Trying to put them both down at the same time could mean that neither of them sleep! Do a bit of experimenting; you may find it easier to put the fussier one down first or the other way around.
Expect disruptions and regressions as they both adjust to the new room sharing. When you change things they always get worse and escalate before they get better. It takes 7-10 days to change a routine.
Introduce some simple house and sharing bedroom rules e.g. no talking after the lights go out, if one of them is asleep in the morning do not wake them, leave the room quietly and let them sleep a little longer.
Start with bedtime first then day naps to follow.
Remember the foods high in tryptophan and give a snack before bed eg cheese and crackers to promote getting to sleep.
Keep the bedroom as a bedroom and a place for sleep and not a toy room. If possible have a separate place for toys or put them away before bedtime.
Try and do bathtime together to encourage the concept of sharing.
Use labelled praise for positive sharing behaviours.
Stick to a positive bedtime routine that works for both children. Remember that routines create security.
Sharing takes work and patience and you may need to be a referee at times. However, remember the referee needs to above all, be fair and reasonable to both children.
Around the age of 2.5 to 3 years, your child is likely to become scared of the dark and be waking at night because of this. Or maybe they have become scared of the dark and are refusing to go to bed at a normal bedtime and have become the expert of bedtime delay? These fears are a normal and expected part of a child’s development. They are an expert at the imagination and as they read books and watch TV or movies this imagination can move into overdrive.
I remember my sister telling me my niece was obsessed by Mister Fox in the Beatrix Potter books and one night was convinced Mister Fox was coming out of her wardrobe to eat her! She had got herself wedged behind her bedroom door and my sister was on the other side trying to open it. I’m not sure who was crying and screaming the loudest, Freya or my sister!
Acknowledge the fear
It is important to acknowledge their fears. Once a child feels heard about being scared of the dark and validated they are less fearful of the situation. The worst thing you can do is to shame them by saying something like ‘you silly boy, of course, there is nothing to be frightened of, you are just being ridiculous’.
Validation is essential to reduce fears. If you fail to validate the problem is still there, just like the elephant in the room. Once you’ve acknowledged and validated the next step is to explore this issue with them. The best way of doing this with a young child is to use bedtime storybooks with fear of the dark as the main theme. Here is a list of my go-to books for this I recommend reading to your little ones.
Can’t You Sleep Little Bear by Martin Waddell
I’m not (very) afraid of the dark by Anna Milbourne
The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark by Deborah Diesen
Orion and the Dark by Emma Yarlett
Mika the Bear is Afraid of the Dark by Nicolas Duffaut and Yann Walcker
Tell Me Something Happy Before I go to Sleep by Joyce Dunbar & Debi Gliori
Little Owl’s Night by Divya Srinivasan
There’s a Nightmare in My Closet by Mercer Mayer
The Owl Who Was Afraid of The Dark by Jill Tomlinson
The Dark by Lemony Snicket
Once you start reading about other children who are scared of the dark it helps them understand they are not alone. They will feel these fears are normal and can be overcome. And that you as their parent understands them and wants to help them.
What else can you do to help your child get over their fear of the dark?
Use labelled praise to remind them how big and brave they are for going to bed and sleeping in their big boy bed. Labelled praise helps them feel confident and rewards positive behaviours.
Rather than using a night light give them a small torch with a very dim low watt bulb. Having a torch puts them in charge. They can turn it on and check the dark in their room. It’s amazing how their imagination can grow and a pile of books can easily turn into a big monster in the dark. When you go to bed make sure to turn their torch off. Remind them that the torch is only for emergencies and if it’s used too often it will be taken away – limit-setting and logical consequences.
I’m not a fan of night lights as used longterm they can affect the retina and interfere with melatonin production which leads to early morning waking. Melatonin is lowest at 5 am and any light interferes with its production even the current fashion of using red lights as night lights.
Exposure to light during sleep makes it difficult for the brain to achieve a deeper sleep. The more shallow or light sleep the child gets at night, the more the brain oscillations (activity) sending your child into deeper sleep are negatively affected.
Reading books helps winddown full stop and is an essential part of any good bedtime routine. Choose 5-10 books which are purely bedtime books. These are low key and may have sleeping as a theme. Your child can choose any 2 books out of the 10 on offer. The very last bedtime book is a book you read every single night and needs to have sleeping as its main theme. This last book is a comforting book and not one that discusses fears of the dark. The fear of the dark book is one of the two books to be read before this last one. The last thing you want on your child’s mind is a peaceful wind down to the land of nod. My favourite go-to bedtime book is Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown.
Spraying diluted essential oils such as lavender and chamomile into each corner of the bedroom and onto the pillow as part of the bedtime routine can help. Call it Magic Sleep Dust and or Monsters & Ghosts Begone Spray. I sell these in my online store, they have crystals in the bottle and they are charged with my reiki healing energy.
And lastly how you settle your child to bed can have a positive impact on their psyche and reduce being scared of the dark. Turn the light down low whilst reading the books and use a small bedside light. If they really don’t like you leaving whilst they go to sleep try using my Magic Presence sleep technique and either sit just inside the room or on the other side of the door for a week. It is really important to move on with the process otherwise you risk over-attachment. Avoid laying on the bed with them no matter how loud the demands. At 3 years plus this is unlikely to be an emotional need and is often more of a control issue.
If you’d like more info on the Magic Presence method it’s in my NEW online Nurture Sleep Program.
Keep calm and in no time peace and sleep will resume.
Has your baby has learned to stand and no longer sleeping? I got the following help message from a mum …🗣️ Hi Karen, My little boy Hunter is now nine and a half months old.In the last two weeks he has learned to crawl and pull himself up to stand. His favorite pastime at the moment is to stand in the cot when he should be napping. I've been waiting a few minutes, then going in and laying him back down. Saying, "Sleep time" and leaving.I usually have to do this multiple times. Sometimes he sits after standing for a while, and from what I can see in the monitor, it looks like he can't figure out how to lie down again. So I go in and lay him back down. Say, "Sleep time" and leave again.He doesn't always cry out and if he does it's very brief and he will sometimes be happily playing even though he's due for a nap and showing tired signs. I'm worried he sees me going in as a game. Will he eventually work it out on his own? …..MY RESPONSE …No, he won't work it out on his own. Yes, he does think it's a game.He needs to learn how to do this. You're showing him, but he's not learning.That sounds like you've got a strong personality here with Hunter. If you lie him down 40 times …1. He's not learning how to do this 2. You're really ticking him offHe's going to be not happy about this. And all that keeps happening is the Jack in the box. He jumps back up again and again and again. It's a game.You're making him angry. So what you need to do instead is goin the room and lie on the floor on day one, and pretend to be asleep.Get a little pillow. By day 2 you need to be on the chair and doing my Magic Presence™ technique. If you want to know how to do this it's in the online program.➡️ https://nurtureparenting.com.au/nurture-sleep-program/It looks at how you manage this standing up and sitting down behaviour. But the worst thing you can do is just is to keep on laying him down and to leave it.Boys struggle with stress. So the in and out method wouldn't work.You need to be in there to give him the message that he needs to go to sleep. And how do you give them the message?You show that you're asleep yourself. But if you lie on the floor forever you've moved in, so you need to move on with the process. If you want to know more about it it's in the online program. But that's what you need to do.➡️ https://nurtureparenting.com.au/nurture-sleep-program/You get very very angry children and to me, it just feels a bit a little bit disrespectful.You get very very angry children and to me, it just feels a bit little bit disrespectful.We're forcing him to do something that he's not quite ready to do. Sleep and laying down the cot, it has to come of their own volition, when they are ready. You know it's like anything in life. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. …..Learn more about the Magic Presence™ technique mentioned in this video when you join my Nurture Sleep Program.Sleep and laying down the cot, it has to come of their own volition when they are ready. You know it's like anything in life. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. You will take your child from sleepless to slumber when you join the program at this link ..You'll access my 3 decades of experience as a registered midwife and child and family health nurse.You will take your child from sleepless to slumber when you join the program.➡️ https://nurtureparenting.com.au/nurture-sleep-program🍌 FOODS that promote baby and toddler sleep⏰ ROUTINE: easy, flexible, sleep-ready💡 ENVIRONMENT: getting it right👶🏽 DEVELOPMENT: changes, how these affect sleep😴 SLEEP METHODS: secret tips that will change your lifeIt 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 and toddler 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 timeClick here to join …➡️ https://nurtureparenting.com.au/nurture-sleep-programWant to know what's involved in my sleep training methods? Read this ..➡️ https://nurtureparenting.com.au/baby-sleep-training-gentle-methods/Watch a sleep program review🎥 https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=652793831916409Click here to join 👇➡️ https://nurtureparenting.com.au/nurture-sleep-program/…..You'll also 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…..#nurtureparenting #getbettersleep #babysleep #sleep #baby #sleeptraining #sleepprogram #onlinesleepprogram
Hi Karen, My little boy Hunter is now nine and a half months old.
In the last two weeks he has learned to crawl and pull himself up to stand. His favorite pastime at the moment is to stand in the cot when he should be napping. I’ve been waiting a few minutes, then going in and laying him back down. Saying, “Sleep time” and leaving.
I usually have to do this multiple times. Sometimes he sits after standing for a while, and from what
I can see in the monitor, it looks like he can’t figure out how to lie down again. So I go in and lay him back down. Say, “Sleep time” and leave again.
He doesn’t always cry out and if he does it’s very brief and he will sometimes be happily playing even though he’s due for a nap and showing tired signs.
I’m worried he sees me going in as a game.Will he eventually work it out on his own?
MY RESPONSE …
No, he won’t work it out on his own. Yes, he does think it’s a game. He needs to learn how to do this. You’re showing him, but he’s not learning. That sounds like you’ve got a strong personality here with Hunter. If you lie him down 40 times …
He’s not learning how to do this
You’re really ticking him off
He’s going to be not happy about this. And all that keeps happening is the Jack in the box. He jumps back up again and again and again. It’s a game.
You’re making him angry. So what you need to do instead is go in the room and lie on the floor on day one, and pretend to be asleep. Get a little pillow.
By day 2 you need to be on the chair and doing my Magic Presence™ technique. If you want to know how to do this it’s in the online program.
It looks at how you manage this standing up and sitting down behaviour. But the worst thing you can do is just is to keep on laying him down and to leave it.
Boys struggle with stress. So the in and out method wouldn’t work. You need to be in there to give him the message that he needs to go to sleep. And how do you give them the message? You show that you’re asleep yourself.
But if you lie on the floor forever you’ve moved in, so you need to move on with the process. If you want to know more about it it’s in the online program. But that’s what you need to do.
You get very very angry children and to me, it just feels a bit a little bit disrespectful. We’re forcing him to do something that he’s not quite ready to do.
Sleep and laying down the cot, it has to come of their own volition, when they are ready. You know it’s like anything in life. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.
Learn more about the Magic Presence™ technique mentioned in this video when you join my Nurture Sleep Program.
You will take your child from sleepless to slumber when you join the program.
You’ll access my 3 decades of experience as a registered midwife and child and family health nurse. You will take your child from sleepless to slumber when you join the program. https://nurtureparenting.com.au/nurture-sleep-program
FOODS that promote baby and toddler 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 and toddler sleep methods
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
Click here to join … https://nurtureparenting.com.au/nurture-sleep-program
Want to know what’s involved in my sleep training methods? Read this .. https://nurtureparenting.com.au/baby-sleep-training-gentle-methods/
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.
No Bad Kids by Janet Lansbury
Co-operative & Connected by Aletha Solter
Jo Frosts Toddler Rules by Jo Frost
The No-Cry Discipline Solution by Elizabeth Pantley
Heart to Heart Parenting by Robin Grille
Children Are People Too by Dr Louise Porter
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.
Your 12-month-old baby is now officially a little toddler. And as such, they are moving on developmentally at a rapid pace of knots. As soon as they hit their 12 month/1-year-old milestone their nutrition needs to change as well. Whilst milk and dairy are still important food becomes even more so. Their brains are building at such a fast pace and their nerve fibres are undergoing massive myelination. Approximately 90% of their brains are formed by the age of 3 years. The brain is made of at and therefore needs a high good fat diet in order to grow. Their energy needs are higher than an adult male and they need double the carbohydrates of an adult to avoid hangry – aka hungry and angry meltdowns.
Having too much milk affects food intake and especially iron levels.
At 12 months their dairy intake reduces to 1.5-2 servings a day. A serving is 200 MLS Full Cream Milk, 40g or a matchbox size of cheese or 1 small tub of full-fat Greek yoghurt.
Transitioning to Full Cream Cows Milk at 12 months
Hopefully, by now, your baby has sampled some full cream cows milk in cooking or on their cereal. It is important to transition gradually especially if there has been a history of cows milk protein allergy or asthma, eczema or hayfever in the immediate family – parents or siblings.
At 12 months move to all milk feeds in a cup.
Starting a gradual titration – every 2-3 days – 2/3 normal milk and 1/3 full cream milk. Then half and half for 2-3 days followed by 1/3 normal milk and 2/3 full cream milk. Then if there have been no food reactions to the cows’ milk you can switch completely. By food reactions, I’m meaning skin rashes such as eczema, mucousy or bloody poo or severe constipation. These are all typical cows milk protein reactions.
Nurture Parenting's Karen Faulkner is a baby sleep and toddler expert who brings calm and sleep into families and gives parents their confidence back.
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Nurture Parenting’s Karen Faulkner is a baby development, sleep and toddler expert who brings calm and sleep into families and gives parents their confidence back. Cerris Pty Ltd trading as Nurture Parenting – ABN 42 623 216 384 – Sydney, Australia