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Posts Tagged ‘sleeping for twins’

How I talk to my children when I’m frustrated with them

Friday, October 26th, 2012 3:45 pm | By Stephanie Woo


Brooke cutting paper into tiny pieces at 10pm last night

Last night, Brooke wouldn’t go to sleep. I could tell she wasn’t tired, so I let her come out to play for a while (see picture above). By then Mackenzie was already asleep. When I took Brooke back to her room and tried to leave, she started crying. Not wanting to wake Mackenzie, I stayed with Brooke till she fell asleep at 1130pm. The whole ordeal took 3.5 hours. I was about to pull my hair out.

I woke up this morning extremely frustrated. Brooke came over to give me my usual morning hug and I said, “Who would not go to sleep last night?” Her hands dropped and she frowned. I then asked my nanny if Brooke was doing this during her afternoon naps, she said no, she always falls asleep quickly. Then I said, “But two nights ago you stayed with her till she fell asleep, right?” I added, “Brooke never did this before!” I could tell that my nanny got upset because she thought I was saying it was her fault that Brooke was doing this. What I really wanted, but could not get across, was my desperate need for a solution.

I went upstairs and cooled down. I could tell the way I was communicating was upsetting everyone. I was taking my frustration out on them, but it didn’t make me feel any better. And then I remembered Marshall Rosenberg’s Non-Violent Communication.  He said to communicate your feelings and your needs. I decided to give it a try.

I went downstairs, picked up Brooke and sat her on my lap. My nanny was there too, which was good because I wanted her to hear it too. I said, “Brooke, last night you did not go to bed by yourself. I was feeling extremely frustrated because I need my freedom at night. Do you know what ‘freedom’ means? Mama needs freedom at night. Tonight, would you be willing to go to sleep by yourself?”

These simple phrases changed the entire space in the room. My nanny, who looked glum and angry before, had a empathetic look on her face when she said, “I do always pick her up immediately when she cries. Maybe I should wait before picking her up and let her cry a little.” Oh, it was such a relief that she was trying to find a solution too.  

Upon reflection, I realize I love Non-Violent Communication because of the way it makes me feel and the reaction I see in others when they hear my words. I was able to 1. express my feelings 2. communicate my needs and 3. make a request. I also love being able to talk to my children in this way – it’s clear that they understand every word. This is the kind of communication and connectedness I want to foster in our home.

Brooke clearly had a need last night too.  Looking back, I realize we did not go to the park yesterday afternoon, so she wasn’t able to run, climb and use up all her excess energy. Today, I’ll make sure to meet her needs. Hopefully tonight, she’ll meet mine.

To learn more about Non-Violent Communication:

Parent Q&A: How do you keep your babies in bed on a floor bed?

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011 10:07 pm | By Stephanie Woo

From Helen, mother of twins: I am really intrigued with the floor bed idea, but how would you keep your babies on it once they start moving and walking and would not want to go to bed or stay there as long as they should? do you close bedroom door? I know with my son, he never wanted to go to bed, but once we put him in his crib he had no choice but to fall asleep….

A: I noticed you used the words “as they should.” Whenever the word “should” is involved, there is a lack of freedom. Notice how you feel when you feel you “should” do something: “I should lose weight” “I should make more money” “I should be a better person.” “Should” comes with an invisible pressure and doesn’t allow someone to choose freely.  

When and if you decide to go with a floor bed, the idea is to give your child the freedom to choose when he sleeps and when he wakes. With my girls, who are crawling around, we close the door at bedtime and let them play till they are tired and fall asleep. Encourage your child to sleep because he is tired, not because he is confined and bored.

A baby has an internal rhythm, he knows within himself when he is tired. A floor bed respects this internal rhythm, whereas a crib imposes a rhythm on him – one that is set by mom and dad. 

In the long run, children who sleep in floor beds sleep longer and better because their natural sleep-wake rhythm is respected. When B and M were 6-7 months old, we put them to bed at 7pm. Mackenzie was almost never tired at that time, whereas Brooke would fall asleep often on the dot. I would close the door and Mackenzie would crawl around, play with her toys, talk to herself, crawl into the closet, sometimes she would even crawl into Brooke’s bed. All this time, I am in another room cooking or writing, and lo and behold, 15-40 minutes later, I would hear her little cry. I would walk into their room, pick her up, put her on her bed and she would be asleep in no time. No struggle at all. We’ve since changed their bedtime to 8pm, and both of them almost always falls asleep as they are finishing their bottles.  And if they don’t, then we do the same thing (see pictures below, taken the day after this post was written)

Another thing to consider is this: when a child is tired and you put him in the crib, he cries because he’s tired and he doesn’t want to be confined in the crib. It’s very common for those children to fall asleep only when they absolutely cannot hold on anymore. Whereas children who sleep on floor beds will cry because they are tired, but once you put them in bed, they sleep. Without that additional layer of complexity and struggle in their cry, it makes sleep easier for babies and LIFE better for moms and dads.

12:25pm Naptime. Mackenzie is already asleep, while Brooke is still playing

1:03pm I heard Brooke cry to be put in bed. I picked her up, fed her a little water and put her in bed. Fell asleep within minutes.

Video: B and M’s Floor Beds

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011 9:49 am | By Stephanie Woo