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Work at Home Mums and Tips to Make it Work

Work at Home Mums and Tips to Make it Work

There is no doubt that mother’s have the most challenging, most rewarding, most frustrating, lowest paying but exciting jobs on the planet. Throw into the mix working from home whilst caring for your children and the word ‘chaos’ comes to mind.

I’ve been a stay at home mum since my first was born. However, I’m one of those people that need to have a project as well as the daily chores and child minding duties. From the time my first was born I’ve worked from home with little contracting positions, working from the comfort of my home on my laptop.

However in 2014, my husband and I embarked on a new journey and founded the company Sleepy Starz Pty Ltd. Our Sleepy Starz Sleep Clock had already been in the making for the 2 years leading up to the company’s creation. So, I am no stranger to working from home and yep, it’s challenging but I wouldn’t change a thing!

One of the most important things when working from home as well as caring for the children is to have flexibility. For me, this means working early in the morning, working late at night and working on weekends. It is nothing like having a structured 9-5 job where you come home and have no work on the weekends. You often do not have a quiet workspace during the daytime to complete the work you need to do on that day. But again, this is where flexibility comes into play. Working from home with children is about picking right tasks to do at certain times. For example, when the children are awake, I will choose a task where I can get interrupted and can get by without devoting my 100% attention to it. Or, I’ll do some household chores when the children are awake and playing happily and save my time when they are asleep for getting my work done. But, understand that it might not always work out the way you plan.

For me, the rewards are endless. I love being home with my children (despite the frustrations when trying to work) and seeing them play. Being able put them down for their naps, feed them their lunch and play together. For my older daughter in school, I love being able to drop everything if she needs me to pick her up from school early. The rewards are there if you are prepared to put in the hard work and frustrations of working with often no plan in place.

One of the most important things I try to practice is to put aside a certain time of day where my children have 100% of my attention to play, read, or whatever we choose. I also try to ensure that once a week we have quality family time whether it be a family bike ride, go to the park as a family, have a picnic, go the zoo….whatever, as long as we’re together!

To check out some more of my stories on life, being a mum, working from home etc, head to www.sleepystarz.com/blog-2/ and www.facebook.com/sleepystarz/

HOW THE ENVIRONMENT CAN AFFECT TODDLERS SLEEP

HOW THE ENVIRONMENT CAN AFFECT TODDLERS SLEEP

Temperament is defined as how a child naturally reacts to situations and stimuli, mood, ability to calm themselves and activity level. Many researchers believe that temperament is biological which means this is how a child is wired to be and it is not a result of the environment.

A baby’s temperament will affect which sleep training method a parent might choose to help their baby sleep better. A child’s temperament and personality will determine whether a no cry sleep training method will take 1 hour or 3 months or if choosing a cry-method is likely to work better.

From the first day after they are born the way a baby reacts to being wet, hungry or tired will be different to other babies. Where one baby might be low-key and not get very upset another baby may scream loudly in the same situation. This is also the reason why one sleep training method works well for some babies and will not work for others.

Three common temperament and personality types are listed below with a brief synopsis of how they can affect a baby’s sleep.

Intensity

A baby or toddler’s intensity is how strongly they emotionally react to something. High intensity babies react strongly and might have a louder cry. For babies who are low intensity they may not cry much at all.

If your baby is a high intensity baby, it will be hard to leave them upset for anything longer than a couple of minutes when they’re young. A high-intensity baby might get more upset when they wake up between sleep cycles and cannot go back to sleep. It may also take longer during the bedtime routine to help soothe a high intensity baby before sleep. If attempting to use a no-cry sleep training method a high intensity baby will likely still cry and it can be very hard listening to a screaming baby while trying to break sleep associations

Persistence

A baby’s persistence is how easily or difficult he can stop a task if told to and how strong-willed they are when they get their mind set on something. Persistence might reveal itself when a baby wants to nurse and they won’t take no for an answer without erupting in tears and will not settle down with any other soothing method.

How might a baby’s persistence affect her sleep? If a child is a less persistent baby it is easier to sleep train them. Typically, less persistent babies and toddlers accept no for an answer and do not stay upset very long when there are changes. Most parents will just need to commit to making changes in order for baby sleep change to happen.

If a baby is a very persistent baby it will be harder to get more co-operation out of them when they have their mind set on something. If using a no-cry sleep training method, it will likely take longer than those with less persistent babies.

Perceptiveness

A baby’s perceptiveness is how much a child notices things like people, colors, and noises. A perceptive child may forget directions or instructions given to them because something else has caught her attention. In addition they might notice many things that other people may not, such as a rock in the grass that other kids would walk past.

So many things can affect a child’s sleep. Sleep Consulting by Sleepy Starz offers a range of affordable sleep consultations to help babies and children achieve better sleep. Head to www.sleepystarz.com/sleep-consulting/ for more information.

WHAT TO EXPECT IN MY BABY’S FIRST YEAR

WHAT TO EXPECT IN MY BABY’S FIRST YEAR

The first year of a baby’s life is very full and complete with milestones and lots of ‘firsts’. Your baby’s rate of growth, appearance and personality will all be unique to him or her and every baby will reach important milestones in their own time. As you embark on this journey with your new baby take time to enjoy their presence in your life.

Newborn Stage

You have just brought your baby home from the hospital to their newly decorated nursery and you are full of a number of different emotions. During the early weeks your little one will sleep around the clock without any routine. In this stage of their life, their body clock is not developed and they cannot distinguish between night and day. Your baby will wake to feed and let you know when they are tired. Some babies may need to be awoken to feed and this is perfectly normal.

From 1 – 3 Months

Babies will begin moving more, discovering their hands and making little sounds. They will smile now and follow the sound of your voice as you move through their room. By 3 months of age babies love looking at themselves in a mirror. Babies can now lift their heads, move from side-to-side, and focus on objects that are 8-12 away.

From 3-6 Months

This is one of the most exciting times in your baby’s growth; many changes appear in this period. At the end of the third month, your baby will be opening and closing their little hands, hold their head up with control, reach more and more for objects and imitate sounds. In the fourth month, they can usually sit up with some help.

From 6-9 Months

During this high growth period many babies say their first words. Even if they don’t yet start talking most begin enthusiastically babbling to themselves and develop a much wider range of facial expressions at this age. He or she will have developed specific cries for specific needs now and will react differently to different family members. Baby will now sit unsupported too.

From 9-10 Months

During this month babies will reach for toys, try to grab the spoon during feedings and in general, become quite a bit more active. He or she will be waving goodbye to the delight of the grandparents, will be able to pick up things and will also start to look for things that have been dropped.

From 11-12 Months

Babies are much more curious now and respond well to new sounds, colors and shapes. Story time is much appreciated and he or she will enjoy cuddling on your lap while being read to. Babies now understand and can mimic simple gestures and can say simple words.

Enjoy your little one’s first year of life as much as possible as time goes by so fast. A lot of parents of babies suffer from sleep deprivation as sleep is a skill being learnt in the first year of life. Is this is something that you are suffering from, Sleep Consulting by Sleepy Starz offer a range of affordable sleep consultation packages. Head to www.sleepystarz.com/sleep-consulting/for more information.

OVERTIRED SIGNS

OVERTIRED SIGNS

Many parents seek help and relief for their unsettled baby who seems to cry all of the time and assume that baby colic or reflux is the problem. However, in a lot of cases, a baby is just over stimulated or overtired presenting similar signs to that of colic or reflux.

Colic is usually described as when a baby cries at least 3 times a day for 3 days in a row for 3 weeks.

Reflux is common and is where the contents of the tummy rise up and cause a burning sensation in the back of the throat without vomiting (silent reflux) or vomiting occurs with or without crying sometimes projecting across the room and all over mum and dad.

In cases where a parent comes to me complaining of their baby suffering from colic or reflux I first like to check the baby’s sleep patterns. Often, overtiredness or over stimulation is actually the cause as the symptoms are similar.

Overtired signs include but are not limited to:

  • Crying
  • Arching of the back
  • Going red in the face
  • Glazed eyes
  • Staring with a blank expression
  • Pulling of ears
  • Rubbing of eyes

Each child will display their own tired signs and it’s really helpful for a parent to try and learn what their child’s tired signs are. A lot of the time, when a baby is crying and displaying one or some of the above signs, a normal reaction from a parent is to try anything to fix the crying. The parent will hold the baby, rock the baby, pat the baby, and pick up the baby…..and so on. However, all the little baby actually wants is to be left to go to sleep. Over stimulation is easy to do as it’s a normal reaction from a parent…..to fix the cry! However, once the baby reaches the overtired stage it gets excessively difficult to get them to sleep as the body releases a chemical which fights the urge to sleep.

What parents can do to avoid getting to the overtired stage include:

  • Ensure that the baby is on an age appropriate sleep/wake routine. If the baby is a newborn and has been awake for more than 1-1.5 hours then there is a good chance that they will be tired;
  • Watch closely for the tired signs;
  • Learn what their baby’s tired signs are;
  • Put to bed without over stimulation. Sometimes a baby will need to be rocked, patted and help. But at other times, the baby may not need so much stimulation and just wants to sleep.

Parenting a young baby can be a challenging experience for a lot of parents. If you need assistance with getting your little one to achieve better sleep, head to www.sleepystarz.com/sleep-consulting/

OVERVIEW OF SIDS GUIDELINES FOR BED-SHARING FAMILIES

OVERVIEW OF SIDS GUIDELINES FOR BED-SHARING FAMILIES

You have survived the 9 months of pregnancy and delivered a healthy baby. You will now spend the rest of your life protecting your new baby. I know this is a scary subject but the more you know about preventing SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) the better your chances of avoiding the tragedy. There is a danger of SIDS for all babies but the most common age of children affected by this phenomenon is 2 to 4 months old.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is a mystery by definition. In recent years SIDS deaths have been reduced since the medical community began educating parents about baby sleeping safety.

A lot of families choose to bed share with their baby. This is not the safest form of sleeping but each family has the right to make the decision for themselves as to their sleeping environment. If you do choose to bed share with your little one then there are guidelines that should be followed to make the sleep environment as safe as possible.

  • Never allow smoking in the room where your baby will be sleeping. Smoking is said to increase the likelihood of SIDS.
  • Ensure the surface being slept on is firm.
  • Do not wrap/swaddle your baby.
  • Place the baby on one side of the parent – not in the middle of the parents.
  • Place baby to sleep on their back.
  • Use lightweight blankets.
  • Avoid pushing the bed up against the wall as there have been cases where a baby has become trapped between the mattress and the wall.

SIDS is a scary phenomenon and can be a cause of a lot of anxiousness in parents. Whilst we cannot get rid of the risk completely, there are things that can be done to minimize the risk. Sleep Consulting by Sleepy Starz offers a range of affordable sleep consultation packages. We offer supportive and non-judgmental advice to parents and families. Head to www.sleepystarz.com/sleep-consulting/ for more information.

Sleeplessness and Managing as a Parent

Sleeplessness and Managing as a Parent

Sleeplessness is one of the tough sides of parenthood and no matter how excited we are to be with our children, a good sleeping routine brings a healthier and happier environment for the whole family.

It’s important that parents have reasonable expectations about sleep and what’s to come. It is almost impossible to get a newborn asleep through the night…..but this is normal and because of their need for food. Their tummies are so small that their food intake is also small meaning they need regular feedings over a 24 hour period.

However, constant waking will and does indeed affect your ability to function as a parent (and human being) and in turn affects the ability to get through the next day.

So many of us have been there…..get the baby to sleep (after hours of trying to settle them) only to have them awake again 2 hours later. It’s tough…..really tough but it’s important to remember you’re not alone.

I personally suffered post-natal depression after the birth of my first and I honestly believe that sleep deprivation had a lot to do with this. I felt like I was failing because my baby would constantly wake and then take up to 2 hours to re-settle. Even the visiting maternal health nurse had trouble settling her! What I did right in this situation was reach out for help. And, I was lucky to have a really strong support system around me to get through.

While sleep deprivation won’t lead to post natal depression in most cases, it can and it’s important to be aware of this. But, even if you are not suffering from post natal depression but are suffering from sleep deprivation then you should still ask for help. If you don’t have a partner or a parent that can help, ask a friend or reach out to a maternal health nurse.

The good news is, that babies do eventually learn to sleep…..there’s light at the end of the tunnel. It will take some babies longer than others but they do get there in the end. And, it’s funny how our bodies seem to adjust quite quickly to the change in our own sleep patterns. We eventually learn how to cope of just 4 hours of broken sleep….

However, if you feel you are suffering I cannot stress enough how important it is to reach out of help. Sleep Consulting by Sleepy Starz offers a range of affordable and very supportive sleep consultation packages. More information can be found at www.sleepystarz.com/sleep-consulting/

Overcoming Early Rising

Overcoming Early Rising

It’s really tough on you as a parent if you’re woken at 5am every day by your toddler, especially if you’re a working parent. Some children are naturally early risers, but it’s crucial that toddlers get enough sleep to ensure healthy growth and development.

1. Get blackout shades

It’s not easy to convince a child it’s still night-time if the sun is shining outside. That’s why blackout shades/curtains are an easy and effective way to keep your toddler asleep until later in the morning. Children are less likely to wake up if it’s dark and if they do wake up at 5am, it’s easier to get them back to sleep in a darkened room.

2. Assist your child back to sleep

I know this is a lot easier said than done…..but 5am is too early for little ones to be awake and you should try to help your child back to sleep. The reason for this is that there is a deep sleep phase (the last of the night) that occurs around this time and this phase of sleep is important to have to ensure healthy growth.

3. Ensure your child is warm enough

Early rising is a common occurrence and often, the reason is because a child is cold. Around 4-5am in the morning is the coldest part of the day. On top of this, 4-5am is also the time that our bodies reach their lowest core temperature. These two things combined can lead to early rising so make sure your toddler is warm enough.

4. Try a later bedtime

A child might be waking early because they have actually had enough sleep throughout the night. Experiment with a slightly later bedtime to see if this helps with the early waking. Be careful though, as overtiredness can cause sleep problems. Try a later bedtime in just 10 minute increments to begin with to avoid causing overtiredness.

5. Talk to your child

When your toddler wakes up, explain that it’s too early and that they need to go back to sleep. By the time a child reaches the toddler years, you can reason with them. Further, talk to them during the day about the importance of staying in bed and staying asleep. Young children cannot tell the time so using a toddler sleep training clock can be helpful. The Sleepy Starz Sleep Clock teaches the concept of time through images which the child understands. The parent can pre-set the wake up time in the clock to whatever time they desire their toddler to stay in bed until and at this time it the clock will display an image that tells the child they’re allowed to get up.

Early rising can be a difficult issue to tackle but it’s definitely possible to overcome it. For more information about the Sleepy Starz Sleep Clock go to www.sleepystarz.com/sleep-clock/

WHY I LOVE THE SLEEPY STARZ SLEEP CLOCK

WHY I LOVE THE SLEEPY STARZ SLEEP CLOCK

There are many sleep training clocks on the market…..and all of them come with promises of working magic. But truth be told, there is only really one that works…..and I’ve tried them all! God knows how much money I’ve spent on trying different products to get my 3 year old to sleep. As a sleep deprived mother I was willing to give anything a go but had almost given up before stumbling across this clock.

My daughter had always been a terrible sleeper. But things got even worse when it was time to move her from her cot (which she was climbing out of) to her big girl bed. She refused to go to sleep and would get out of bed 5-6 times before finally falling asleep. And, this would last for a period of 1-2 hours some nights. This, coupled with the 5am wake up time was driving me crazy.

A friend of mine told me about the Sleepy Starz Sleep Clock and how she had been using it with her 2.5 year old daughter. She said they’d had really positive results and sleep in their household was much better as a result. So……I thought ‘why not’!

My clock arrived 2 days later and my daughter was instantly smitten with the free teddy bear included in the box. I was actually quite surprised at how easy the clock was to set up as Im not a very technological person. I just used the instructions that are in the clock itself (not the booklet). My daughter chose the scene with the teddy bear and for the first night in a very long time……she stayed in bed and fell asleep. Ok….she did get up a couple of times around 1am……but to my delight, she stayed in bed until 6.30am despite being awake earlier. Over the following few nights she was getting out of bed less and less. Two months later and I am no longer sleep deprived!

What I love about the clock are the features and being able to chose the settings that suit my daughter. We use the 15 minute countdown every night and during this time we read the book in the clock about the free teddy bear. In the beginning I had to use the lock feature…..but I haven’t had to use this for about 1 month now. My daughter loves a lit up room, so we set the brightness controller to high so it acts as a night light. This clock really is value for money and I highly recommend it for any parents suffering from sleep deprivation!

Alexandra.

REALITIES OF MOTHERHOOD

REALITIES OF MOTHERHOOD

Being a mother is not quite what I expected. With that being said, I don’t really know what I expected it to be like. It’s easy to enter into a bit of a daze when you are pregnant…..a daze full of blissful dreaming about dressing your newborn in all of the brand new clothes sitting in the nursery. But, for first time mums, it’s a bit of a shock to the system when bubs arrives. Feedings around the clock, constant nappy changes, sleep deprivation….the list is endless!

I’m not really sure that anything can prepare first time mums for the highs and lows that are to come once they’ve given birth. The love that a mother feels for her baby is absolutely instant and it is a love they have never felt before. The love is the most real love that exists and it’s unconditional. Despite the love, there are real challenges that most new mums are never prepared for. Being up at all hours of the night with a screaming baby, sore nipples, sleep deprived and covered in vomit is hard to deal with. And, it’s normal for new mums to often feel quite alone.

As the baby grows, you learn to deal with the challenges better and probably stress less about the small things. And whilst the joys are always there, new challenges emerge as your baby learns new skills and reaches milestones. Learning as a mother never ends. I am a mother of 2 girls and I feel like I learn something new about motherhood each and every day.

Many call me a ‘helicopter parent’ and I agree that I probably am. Whilst I try and give them some freedom to explore, I think it’s just a normal motherly instinct to want to protect your children so they don’t get hurt.

There are so many different sorts of mums…..stay at home mums, working mums, work at home mums, work away from home mums…….at the end of the day, we are all mums and we have the most challenging and underpaid job on the planet! With that being said, I think most would agree that we also have the most rewarding job on the planet. I feel very fortunate to have spent the early years of both my children at home with them. There were definitely times where I wanted to pull my hair out but I wouldn’t change a thing in the world…..being there to see all the firsts makes me feel very grateful.

To all of the mums out there……just remember that you are doing a wonderful job. Don’t forget to look after ‘you’ too!

www.sleepystarz.com

MONTESSORI PARENTING

MONTESSORI PARENTING

There are a lot of different styles of parenting that parents choose to adopt with their little ones. There is no ‘one’ correct style and it’s a personal decision as to the style a family wishes to use.  

Many parents are enamored by the Montessori approach and follow its principles from the day the baby is born. Children start the Montessori lifestyle so young that they grow up using a floor bed. So many educational and parenting experts appreciate the benefits of the Montessori methodology and their endorsement has led to the increase of admission in Montessori schools. Fortunately, there are now many education professionals who’ve chosen to train and qualify to be teachers in Montessori facilities, so more and more children are gaining access to this approach.

If you are looking to learn more about Montessori parenting and its principles, ‘How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way’ is a great read and includes information on:

Building Foundations:

The book teaches how to build solid foundations for children before they develop further skills. It teaches you what time is the best time for your child to start learning. The book provides valuable lessons on basic reading, writing, math and science even for the child who is not yet in school.

Aiding Children in Creating their Own Individual Personality

The book understands how children see the world and teaches them how to discover the world around them. Your kids will know how to use their senses to stimulate more learning experiences. Soon they will develop skills so that they are able to do things by themselves.

Catering to Every Child

The book talks about ways in which to deal with feelings of irritability, shyness and restlessness. It offers a solution for almost any situation you might encounter as a young parent. You’ll learn how to deal with tantrums and even how to keep your home child-safe. The book basically helps children to concentrate and respect.

Offers Recognized and Tested Tips

The book has many recommendations but most importantly it showcases proven case studies related to Montessori Parenting. It illustrates some established practices and facts that are also merged with the Montessori philosophy. It is full of information on the physical and intellectual growth of children and also on how parents can nourish their kid’s natural talents and capabilities.

Sleep Consulting by Sleepy Starz supports all sorts of parenting styles used in a family. We offer affordable sleep consultation packages and all of our consultations are conducted in a sensitive and non judgmental manner. Our aim is to empower parents to feel confident in the choices they have made as parents whilst still aiming to achieve good sleep. Head to www.sleepystarz.com/sleep-consulting/ for more information.

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