Child Sleeping Problems Solutions
Naturally Nurturing is a company that gives advise and help for parents with children with sleep problems.
Wendy Turner-Webster: Sleep is a major concern for parents with small children. Naturally Nurturing is a private sleep clinic that offers advice and practical support to parent with children who may have sleep and behavioral issues. Its aim is to work together with parents to solve their child's sleeping problems. With me in the studio from Naturally Nurturing is Chireal Shallow who is being studying and developing sleep techniques for over 11 years with her own children. Hello, Chireal.
Chireal Shallow: Hello! Hi!
Wendy Turner-Webster: Now also joining us is a client of yours, Kerry and one-year-old Connor (ph) and we are going to come to their story in a second, but before we do that, explain to me what is your company all about?
Chireal Shallow: Well, basically, I set up the company because I just wanted to help parents with children who have got sleep problems and also I wanted to find an alternative because many families and mothers use controlled crying, and we wanted to actually look at a way in which we could find a, kind of, more nurturing way to helping babies sleep by actually addressing what the family wants as opposed to imposing with the structures. So that's basically the principle behind it.
Wendy Turner-Webster: What's controlled crying?
Chireal Shallow: Well, basically, it's a method of getting babies and children to sleep whereby you leave them to cry for longer and longer, and longer periods. I think the essential principle is that they'll give up, and just go to sleep once they realize that their needs aren't going to be met. We just believe that actually children cry for reason and let's find out what those needs are, meet those needs in a appropriate way, whilst helping them to sleep is to gain a better sleep pattern.
Wendy Turner-Webster: Absolutely. Connor (ph), are you feeling left out? Come on now, we'll talk to your mummy now. Okay, Kerry, if you can -- why and how you got involved with Chireal?
Kerry: Sure. Well, we called Chireal when Connor (ph) was about six-months-old and we had been up into that point, happily breastfeeding him to sleep, and we wanted to stop doing that. I was -- I wanted to have being able to go in the evenings, and I have to put him to sleep, but we also didn't want to let him cried out. So we were really committed not to doing that, so we are looking for alternatives and to that approach.
Wendy Turner-Webster: So, so what was he was doing? He was breastfeeding, going to sleep while he was doing it and -- I see and that --
Kerry: So that I had to be there overnight for --
Wendy Turner-Webster: And the pattern was that he was doing that, a newborn didn't know how to break the pattern basically.
Kerry: Exactly. Precisely, yeah.
Wendy Turner-Webster: So what happened to you? What did you actually do to achieve them?
Chireal Shallow: Well, basically, I had spoken with Kerry and found out exactly what she wanted because we offer many different types of services, and she found that you know, maybe just an hour's consultation, just an hour's chat would suffice. So I went down and met with the family, and found out what they wanted, just listened to them. They wanted Connor (ph) to be able to sleep without being dependent on the breast to sleep. So I thought through some of the ways that I could help them to achieve that and was also just recognizing how the family wanted to go to sleep. They kind of need co-sleep, and it was just about trying to embrace, sleeping well with -- then sleeping together with the family.
Wendy Turner-Webster: Yeah, when you say co-sleep, you mean they will sleep together in the same bed.
Chireal Shallow: They will share their bed. Yeah, that right.
Wendy Turner-Webster: Which actually is funny isn't it? Because some people really frown almost upon that. Now my two little boys, six and two-and-a-half, we all still share the same bed. We did have to buy a super king size to fit them all in. However, it was pointed out to me quite early on that we are actually one of the few species that have a baby and then right into a room --
Chireal Shallow: That's right.
Wendy Turner-Webster: Which one you think about it? Is this very normal?
Chireal Shallow: No, it's just obscure and I think that, okay, fine, you have people that have different views and different culture and expectations, and that's fine. But I think at the end of the day you have to say to yourself, you know, the reason children have problem sleeping for the majority of the time is because they are scared or they need to be reassured, they need to know that -- have a feeling of being safe. So one of the ways that we can combat that is by sleeping with them. Okay, so some of the research says that children that sleep with their parents or sleep with another sibling have better sleeping patterns. But in this culture, that we live in this society, we live in, it's not advocated sleeping together. And that's fine. Many of the parents that come to my clinic don't sleep with their children, but want to find another way of getting their children into a better sleeping pattern.
Wendy Turner-Webster: What is your background in this? How did you get into setting up this company?
Chireal Shallow: Alright, well principally, I am a mom, a mom of four and that, I think, gives me you know huge amounts of experience, but I have a background in psychology.
Wendy Turner-Webster: We have lost him by the way. We can hear you. Come back over when you like.
Chireal Shallow: Yes, I have a background in psychology and have been studying cognitive-behavioral techniques to problem solving in behavioral change for many years. So that kind of let me to think about, when I had my twins, how I could use my background and knowledge and skills to help families and to help children.
Wendy Turner-Webster: And can people come to you or can people ask you to come to their house? Which way does it work?
Chireal Shallow: Okay, we are very fortunate to be able to offer families telephone consultations. We are able to come out and visit them, and they are also able to come and visit us. It's really dependent on what your circumstances are. Many families, mothers find it very difficult to come out of the home, so we are sort of caught in that way by just coming out and visiting them. So, it's really good because we are able to offer consultations to people that live all over the world.
Wendy Turner-Webster: Yes, that is a worldwide operation, isn't it?
Chireal Shallow: That's right, yes. So we have clients currently in Canada, Germany, and Paris, and I have had an enquiry from New Zealand.
Wendy Turner-Webster: The power of the Internet.
Chireal Shallow: Yeah exactly. So yeah, we are able to reach, you know, people all over the world. That's lovely.
Wendy Turner-Webster: Can you offer any advice just to -- now which people could perhaps just help themselves and sort of, I don't know, from even making sure what you don't do with your kid at night to stop them getting to sleep? How could we make it easier for ourselves?
Chireal Shallow: Alright, well basically, your child is your manual. So we often hear that people say, oh, let me know parenting doesn't come with a manual, how do I work, how do I work through the main issues with my children's development and so on? I say, look at your child, take a step back, observe your child. What do they do when they are tired? What do they do when they are upset? Their facial expression, what their hands do, their arms and legs, and so on. So, you are observing that behavior. Once you have an understanding of --
Wendy Turner-Webster: Hello! Where is he? Excuse me; He's gone quite in here.
Kerry: Yes, it seems --.
Wendy Turner-Webster: Has he gone to have a little rest?
Kerry: Yes, he is getting really hot.
Wendy Turner-Webster: Yes, then I won't blame him then. Okay, welcome back.
Kerry: Thank you
Wendy Turner-Webster: Sorry, do carry on.
Chireal Shallow: Oh, that's fine. Yeah, so once you have had a chance to observe your child in all different kinds of situations, and if sleep is the thing that you are having a problem with, observing how they are when they are sleeping, having a look at what you do as well. You know, is what I am doing helping sleeping, or is what I am doing hindering him being able or her being able to sleep? And again looking at -- behavioral follows a pattern of triggers and associations. So what's the trigger? So, for example, every time you smell a particular smell, and it might remind you of, you know, if you smell a rose, it might remind you of a happy feeling. So for example, that would -- the smelling of the rose would be a trigger. So what's the trigger to sleep? Yeah, so for many parents, the trigger might be a bottle, so that the child then develops an association with milk and having a bottle and then going to sleep. So having a look at what your triggers and associations are might help you to understand exactly the cycle of behavior your child has developed and what you are doing that could, you know perhaps hinder or help that situation.
Wendy Turner-Webster: Kerry, just now you have come back to us, did you try to break the pattern that you have got into on your own? Or was it something you come to talk with Chireal about?
Kerry: I think we have tried a couple of nights, which just kind of erupted into crying and at that point --
Wendy Turner-Webster: Yes, what happened? Just take me through those nights?
Kerry: Yeah, it was just, you know, we didn't believe in letting him cried out any way, so about five or ten minutes of crying was enough for us to say, okay, let's figure out a way of doing this. And if we are -- if he is going to cry, just wanting to making sure that it was okay, just wanting to make reassurance that -- being a first time parent, I think, you are just always in the question of am I doing something that's damaging him?
Wendy Turner-Webster: Absolutely yes.
Kerry: And it was just hearing, yes, let him, you know, he will cry for ten or fifteen minutes. He will go through this and it will be alright.
Chireal Shallow: But it's not okay you're there.
Kerry: And it was just different then leaving him alone.
Chireal Shallow: Yeah, of course, yes.
Wendy Turner-Webster: Do you get mainly first time parents?
Chireal Shallow: No, no-no-no, no-no-no, because every child is different.
Wendy Turner-Webster: Oh, yes. That's true.
Chireal Shallow: And every time you have a new person into your family, then that changes the family dynamics. So you might think you are doing the same things, but you can't possibly because the situation is different. So we get calls from people who have got three or four children, and just of course specific issues that they would just like some advice on and we help them that way.
Wendy Turner-Webster: So actually, presumably then, therefore you don't just deal with babies. It's toddlers, toddlers and children.
Chireal Shallow: Yeah. So it's just about, just talking through the family, finding out what the issues are, the main issues are for them, and just helping them really. Whereas, I found that other clinics or other support mechanisms have failed to do that, they have actually failed to address what the family wants. They are actually more interested in imposing, you know, their own kind of rigid structure, and rigid routine, and family life doesn't work like that. You know, you can't sit there and say, well, okay, we are going to have feeding at this time, sleep at that time. When, if you've got other children or if you have got -- it doesn't happen. So what I try to do with my families is introduce flexibility. So helping them understand, right? This is what we know about behavior. Okay, this is the things that will help behavior be maintained. But you can do it in a sort of unstructured way, i.e., being quite flexible, by just knowing that it's a sequence of events that are important so that if you have a bath and then you get changed, and then, you go put them to -- to go to sleep. That's enough. So that it doesn't matter what time it is, or whether it's in the same environment. You can still have the child --
Wendy Turner-Webster: I see. This is saying at least --
Chireal Shallow: Exactly, yes. So that you can go in holiday. You can go to a party and come back a little bit late and still have your child sleep, because they think, oh, I know what I am suppose to do here. You know, because they are following the same sequence of events, and understanding that, I think, is key. So the parents don't feel that they are tied into, I have got to get home, I have got to get home.
Wendy Turner-Webster: Yes, because they -- you hear that so often. We must stick to this routine, and you actually restrict yourself in your life by doing that, don't you? And one personal thing that is quite -- that is not amusing really, it could really be amusing to see in our little boy who is, Freddie (ph), who is two-and-a-half is that when he goes to his grandparents, my mom and dad, they put him in his cot for afternoon sleep, and then at 9 0'clock every night, they out him in his cot to go to sleep. Out like a light, no problem, I do that.
Chireal Shallow: It doesn't work, it doesn't work
Wendy Turner-Webster: It doesn't work at all. And I am assuming that he just knows that with one set of people, that's what he does and with others, he get away with it.
Wendy Turner-Webster: It.
Wendy Turner-Webster: It is that true?
Wendy Turner-Webster: Well that's the key thing, is that when I say, I look at the roles that each family member plays, that's part of understanding what's going on, how can we change this. So for example, if your son or she doesn't -- well, you know, just doesn't sleep well for you, how can we enlist the help of another family member? How can we used that to try and facilitate this whole sleeping process? So if that works for you, then great. That means, mom, you have the hook, you can go and have a glass of wine which is you know which is nice.
Kerry: This is what's been happening for us. It's really important when my husband, when we wanted to break it, that my husband put him to bed for a week, and that really made a difference. Yes, because it just -- with me just wanted to feed, then of course, that's of course that what we are used to.
Wendy Turner-Webster: Of course, and you always end up feeling like the bad guy as well. Don't you know they are bowling after you specifically? So, that's not a good idea.
Chireal Shallow: And I think it's cruel as well for child and for the mom because you know that you've got the milk there and you are denying it. And he knows that you've got it. So it's really cruel. Yeah, and I just think, well, if we can make it a little bit easier, you know, he is attached to his dad. So that's fine, that's good. So, if that's settling him, that's okay. It means that you don't have to go through that, and he doesn't have to go through. You know, not having the breast. So it's an easier way rather than just letting him cry out.
Wendy Turner-Webster: Right. Well, I am sure you are very busy with your company, but if people want to get in touch with you, do you have availability for consultations, etcetera?
Chireal Shallow: Yes, we do. And what we try to do, we have a policy whereby we see people within two weeks so that people aren't waiting long periods of time.
Wendy Turner-Webster: They are not getting so stressed out.
Chireal Shallow: Exactly yes, so let them contact us by phone or visit our website. We are just --
Wendy Turner-Webster: I am sure they will. It's been absolutely fascinating.
Chireal Shallow: Thank you!
Wendy Turner-Webster: Thank you very much! Thank you for Kerry coming in and bringing Connor (ph) too. Hope he is not too stressed out by the whole experience. Thank you!
Kerry: Thank you!
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