At the end of the day, we all want a good night's sleep. But ask any parent dealing with bedtime battles and you'll find it's not always happening.
Putting some things in place that will help calm your adopted or foster child at night to stop bedtime battles is a WIN-WIN. More sleep for you, more sleep for your child.
Nighttime can be hard for children. For a child who has experienced. trauma and the deep loss of losing a biological parent, it can be even harder. Even scarier.
Studies are looking at sleep issues in adopted and foster children. Research aside, what parents are looking for is ending those bedtime battles and getting their children and themselves a good night’s sleep.
Getting Bedtime Battles Out of the Way
When you're dealing with bedtime and sleep for an adopted or foster child, attachment needs to be the focus. Without secure attachment, your child can "lose" you at night. Using strategies that not only help with sleep, but at the same time can help with attachment and building strong connections, can make a big difference - both at nighttime and your relationship.
7 Strategies to Help Your Child Sleep
1. Start with a good bedtime routine.
A good bedtime routine, one that is calm, predictable, and positive, will help make it a smoother transition. Try to be as consistent as possible…same routine at the same time each night.
That doesn’t mean it has to be long, or elaborate. Simple works great; the key is CONSISTENT!
2. Make sure your child goes to bed with a full tummy
Adopted and Foster children often worry about food. Will they have enough? What if they don’t get breakfast in the morning?
Sending your child to bed with a full tummy can reduce his or her anxiety. Give your child a warm, filling bedtime snack. Try a cup of “sweetie milk” – a cup of warm milk with a dash of cinnamon and sugar.
Another way to assure your child around food issues is to let him know at night what’s for breakfast in the morning. “Tomorrow, we are going to have pancakes for breakfast.” It's all about building a safety net for your child.
3. Sensory input of YOU
Adopted and Foster Children often lack the permanence needed to “hold” onto their parents, especially when nighttime anxiety kicks in.
Some ways to help your child…put a photo of you and your child near their bed. Send your scent with them by using a pillow case you slept on as their pillow case – BEFORE you wash it. That way it has your scent on it while they sleep. Just think...you're working on attachment and connection with your child while you are sleeping. Now, that's a bonus, don't you think?
4. Use a Weighted Blanket or Compression Blanket
Weighted blankets are “grounding”, and can really have a calming effect on children.
What’s a weighted blanket? Basically, they are blankets filled with tiny pellets or woven into the fabric. The weight gets distributed across the body. Think of it kind of like a big bear hug. For lots of children, and adults, this can have a very calming effect.
We like this one for children. Make sure you get the right heaviness for your child.
We recently discovered an alternative to a weighted blankets that we are excited to try. Compression Blankets or also known as hug sheets. Here's one that's on our list to get.
5. Keep your child’s bedroom door open, if possible.
Again, lack of permanence comes into play here. While this isn’t possible for all children, it can help your child hear you…and keep you “alive”.
When new parents bring home their newborn, they often try to keep the house as quiet as possible when the little one is sleeping. For adopted and foster kiddos, they often need to hear mom and dad to assure they are still there. Hearing mom and dad assures them they did not abandoned. It assures them they are not all alone.
6. White noise machine
White noise machines are a good option, especially for kiddos who wake up in the middle of the night. The rhythmic noise can be very soothing, and really be helpful for a child who is hyper-vigilant and listening for every little sound during the night. When you are on high alert, sleep and rest are a huge challenge.
"I am a true believer [of white noise]," says psychiatrist David Neubauer, associate director of the Johns Hopkins Hospital Sleep Disorders Center. "I sleep with white noise myself. While most of the evidence showing that these machines help people sleep is anecdotal, we know they provide a kind of ‘sound cocoon,’ which is very soothing. When it’s completely quiet, people with insomnia or other sleep difficulties focus more closely on small noises, which can interfere with their getting to sleep."
There are a lot of options for white noise machines on the market, but the one we like best is the Hatch. It’s not only a white noise machine, it acts as a night light, time to rise signal, and alarm clock.
7. Focus on ways that strengthen your child's attachment
Secure attachment doesn't just happen when a child becomes part of your family. It takes time. It takes intention.
Sleep can be an issue when a child lacks a strong, secure attachment. When you focus on strengthening that, during the day and at bedtime, you will have the best chance at ending bedtime battles.
Note - links above are affiliated links. We get a small kickback for purchases made when using those links. Thanks...we appreciate it!!
Sometimes things take a turn when our adopted and foster kiddos are having another temper tantrum. A turn where suddenly we are no longer staying calm. A turn where we become the ones yelling. A turn where we become the one having the temper tantrum. That's when you need a plan to RESET.
When You’re The One Having the Temper Tantrum
There I was standing in my pantry, among all the cans of green beans and corn, feeling terrible. It had been one of those days. You know, the kind where you’re counting down the hours til bedtime, and it just can’t come soon enough.
My daughter had been having another temper tantrum, one of what seemed like a bajillion that day, and rather than staying calm, cool, and collected, I lost it. Soon, I was the one having the temper tantrum.
After I calmed down and my hubby made it home from work, I went into the pantry and cried. Sobbed, actually.
I replayed the situation over and over in my head. Knowing I should have handled it differently. Wishing I had handled it differently. Feeling like a bad mom. Sure I had made things even worse for my daughter.
Can you relate?
It's Not Your Fault
I’m pretty sure there’s not a single Adoptive or Foster Parent on the planet who hasn’t felt the same way. What I need to tell you is it’s not your fault.
Parenting an Adopted or Foster Child who is hurting, who has come with loss and grief, can be hard. Really hard. And as parents, we can get pushed to our limits. We are stretched. Busy. Tired and worn out. Throw another temper tantrum into the mix and it’s easy to see how it can be hard to stay calm.
We ALL lose it at times. We all have those times we wish we would have handled it differently. We all have those days that we don’t feel like a great parent. Those days we even feel like a pretty crappy parent. Days we feel inept. Not sure how to handle behaviors. Questioning if we are even the right parent for this child.
If you have felt that way, I assure you that you are NOT alone!
Back to the pantry. I had a good cry, but did some good self-talk. Reminded myself that my daughter had been through so much in her short life. And with that loss and hurt came a lot of BIG emotions. It also came with the impacts of trauma. It was BIG stuff for sure!
I gave myself grace. I gave my daughter grace. Surely, we both needed it.
I pulled myself together and came out of hiding, ready to start over. To start fresh. To be honest, I was still counting down the time until bedtime, but I was ready to be a whole lot calmer.
When you’re in your spot where you wish you would have handled it differently…
4 Ways to Reset After a Temper Tantrum
You ARE a good parent. A really good parent. And you are exactly the parent your child needs!
If your adopted or foster child is having temper tantrums, check out our blog post about temper tantrums and anger here.
I want to share some EXCITING news with you!
Probably the part of my Intentional Parent Coaching Group that parents find the most helpful are the LIVE sessions. They get to pick my brain, ask their questions, and get a plan specific to their kiddo’s needs, one that works for their family. It’s the piece where they get the support they really need.
I got to thinking. If that part is really helping parents, let’s make it easier for them.
So…starting this week, we are going to now do those calls weekly. Meeting online LIVE every week.
Having a rough month? You will have the opportunity to ask me your questions. Every single week. You don’t have to wait until the next month.
Can’t make a call? You will get the recording, but you will also know that there will be another call next week. And the week after. And the week after. You get the idea. Every single week.
I want to come alongside you and give you all the support & tools you need to feel empowered and supported to get your family no longer just surviving, but actually THRIVING!
In my Intentional Parent Coaching Group, you'll get:
Your child, your family and you are worth it. Let’s get you the support and tools that are going to make a HUGE difference for your family!
Looking forward to having you JOIN US!
There's More to That Anger
Here's a quick little piece of knowledge that is SO intensely powerful it can change your whole perspective on how to respond to your child's expression of anger.
Actually it can change your whole response to anyone's expression of anger - including your own!
One of the most important things we can do in ANY relationship is to meet that other person right where they are at. As we strive to do that, it is essential to really look at that whole person and the whole experience.
Often times, our children act out in anger and aggression and it really gets in the way of a healthy relationship between us because we are focusing on the anger. The key to really meeting him where he is at, the way to decrease the anger episodes, is to understand fully that anger is a secondary emotion and that we need to understand and work to heal the primary emotion, the one that anger is covering up!
Many times that primary emotion isn't even recognized or realized because it is below the surface. It is hugely important that we address the root of the anger and that we teach our kids to do the same...and that root is typically made up of sad, scared, rejected, disrespected, frustrated and humiliated... emotions never attended to.
When something happens that you would typically say made that child mad, they were first experiencing a different emotion like sad or scared. But sad and scared keep a person vulnerable so anger quickly rises to cover or protect them from being vulnerable -so quickly that it is experienced as the primary emotion.
Anger pushes people back and even holds them back. SO...as a parent who is trying to help your kids heal, you are responsible to look past the anger and not only meet them at ALL of their emotional struggles but also help them to identify ALL of them as well.
When you are being confronted with anger...
dig deeper within you,
look wider at the whole situation
and your child's whole person to be able to name the primary emotions and parent from there.
What are they afraid of?
What could be making them sad?
Are they feeling rejected or humiliated?
What is REALLY happening?
Remember mad is "covering up" emotions like sad and scared. Re-frame it for yourself. Meet them there. Parent them from there.
Soften. Forgive. Understand. Redirect. Start over. Shift expectations. Restate.
Use this technique in any of your relationships. Use it when you are angry. Is it that you are mad or are you sad? What can you do to take care of those REAL emotions? Be honest. Self Care. Surround Yourself With Others That Get It. Go to Where Change Is Happening.
This is BIG STUFF.
When you wrap your head around it, it can change the whole way you parent and the whole way your child reacts.
You can do this!
It's that time of year when I find myself looking back. Thinking about the last year and even the last few years. Reality is that lots of times I end up looking back at the whole journey. Sixteen years is a LONG time.
The beginning was pretty rocky. Our girls struggled and we dealt with very hard behaviors and words, mistrust, aggression, and so much more. The stress and anxiety affected our marriage, our whole family, and other relationships like friendships. Life was NOTHING like we thought it would be.
I had to do something. My family was SO unhappy. We were constantly in survival...bouncing from one emotional outburst to another. I started to dig and dig deep! Lots of research, extended education along with trial and error began to shape new tools and techniques that worked. Looking back, I definitely remember when I finally began to feel like a good Mom again. The shift began to happen and it was making a difference for my entire family!
When I began to do things differently, there was such a relief. We all felt it. Behaviors slowed down. The wedge in our relationships began to shrink. Those emotional out bursts that basically ruled our life just began to fade away. Holidays were better. Family time became more fun and joyful. Life was much closer to what we wanted for our family.
As I fine tuned how I parented, our children began to thrive not just survive and that's when we REALLY became a family! SO as I look back over the past year I would say I have met many of the goals I had in mind for 2016. And as I look over the past 16 years, I am pleased that the original goal we set out to accomplish - giving all of our children a one-and-only parent relationship - has really happened too.
My theory is that we should look back from time to time for a couple of reasons. First, so that we can find the good, those things that worked - the successes - and be sure to carry them forward into the new year. And second, to determine if what we are doing is working or not. Then...when we have gathered both kinds of information, we need to take it and intentionally do a big turn to look towards the future, the next year.
Our new plan can exist of putting into place those things that were working before and taking whatever leap we need to take to do it differently so that the next year is that much better and that much closer to what we want for ourselves, our children, and our whole family.
SO, I have 2 questions for YOU...
1. Looking back, have you met your 2016 goals? Your goals for yourself? Your "Mothering" goals? Your child? Your marriage? Your whole family?
2. Looking forward, do you have a detailed plan to make 2017 all that you want it to be? What successes and goodness can you carry forward? What worked and what didn't? What leap do YOU need to make to accomplish your goals? What needs to be focused on in order to enhance the quality of life for your entire family??
There's one thing I know for sure...Life CAN absolutely be more peaceful, more happy and so much closer to where you want it to be. It isn't always easy to look forward and see a plan for how to get where you want to be. This journey we are on can be tough and cause us to lose our way. It can cause us to lose hope for a better future. I totally get it and that's why I am here! I believe we are in this together and I want to help you create a detailed action plan that will make it easier for you to see and acquire the 2017 you want for your family!
Together we will take everything that worked last year and combine it with proven tools and techniques and support like you have never had before and work together to make 2017 your best year yet!
How? I want to personally invite YOU to join my Intentional Parent Coaching Group, where we will work together a minimum of 3 times a month to get you where you want to be. This is the shift you have been waiting for.
A customized plan for YOUR family will make all of the difference. You will learn effective ways to handle any challenge you are hitting...in the moment how to's and what to say's that will give you confidence and create those moments and experiences that work to decrease challenging behavior and increase healthier relationships.
No more doing this alone! You will be part of a group of parents who are digging deep, who support one another, who TRULY understand what it means to stay in it no matter what. Yes, it is hard, but together we are so much stronger!
Working with a mentor who has BEEN THERE is invaluable. I have lived your journey and have worked with thousands of families over the last 12 years. It is my passion and commitment to support your family to THRIVE!
-a monthly training
-an opportunity for us to work together 3 times a month in our closed Facebook group
-a 24/7 place to get support from other parents that get it.
-tools and techniques that work
-bonus training videos, 5 minute tweak tools, and much more
*ALSO as a member you have access to the vault that contains 6 of my top selling classes and multiple monthly Coaching Group trainings and q&a's.
**BIG BONUS - members also get a FREE registration to my next life-changing class HOW TO MAP OUT A HAPPY 2017 FOR YOUR FAMILY
NOW is the time to look forward and TAKE THE LEAP to make it the year you want it to be!
Let's do it together...click the link for more information and to get registered.
I cannot wait to see you in group!
Brave & Bold
The other day I was driving to a meeting with a parent and the special ed. team at her daughter’s school. As I was thinking about the meeting, I drove past a sign that said “Be brave. Be bold.” Wow, that was the perfect message for this parent. Brave. Bold. Exactly what was needed as we went to bat for her child.
As Intentional Parents, we are often required to be BRAVE. Stepping beyond our comfort zone. Standing up for what is best for our children. Taking leaps, risks, chances.
As Intentional Parents, we are often require to be BOLD. Speaking out. Asking for (or demanding) what our children really need. Thinking and acting out of the box. Choosing to do things differently than what others think we should. Meeting our children right where they are at, not where society thinks they should be.
Being brave and being bold is certainly not easy. For many parents, it doesn’t come naturally. But when it comes to helping their children, Intentional Parents are refusing to stay quiet, refusing to sit back and not do what is needed.
Intentional Parents are choosing to be brave. Intentional Parents are choosing to be bold. No. Matter. What.
Be BRAVE. Be BOLD. Your child is counting on you!
We are in this together!
P.S. Be Brave. Be Bold. Make the new year your best year yet! Don't miss my next class How to Map Out a Happy 2017 For Your Family! A step-by- step guide to creating the shift you are looking for. FREE to Intentional Parent Coaching Group members! Join TODAY for your child, for you and for your whole family!
As a member, you also have access to my 6 top selling classes for FREE and 2 months of archived Intentional Parent Coaching Group video-trainings and Q&A's.
What started out as a STRONG partnership, an “in the good times and in the bad” commitment, can certainly be put to the test once kids are in the picture. Parenting can take a toll on marriage.
At the end of the day, we can be too exhausted to think about investing in someone else. But here’s the deal…connecting with your partner, keeping the relationship growing stronger, can actually lighten the load. You will feel stronger and no longer alone on the journey. You will have a partner.
The ways you used to connect may be impossible these days. Weekends away, vacations with just the two of you, romantic dinners out are luxuries and quite frankly may be out of your reach for now. But that doesn’t mean you stop connecting. You just need to find NEW ways of doing that.
We're In This Together!
p.s. Don't miss my upcoming class How To Map Out A Happier 2017 For Your Family! Free access for all members of my Intentional Parent Coaching Group. This is going to create the shift that gets your family where you want it to be! Join us TODAY. Just click the link below:
This past week, the show This Is Us tackled more issues. Randall talked about being adopted, about people expecting him to be grateful for being adopted.
I remember family members telling me that they were surprised that my girls were struggling. “They should feel lucky they are a part of your family.” “Don’t they feel grateful that you adopted them?” At that time, my girls did not feel grateful. They felt the pain of losing their family. They felt unworthy, unlovable, abandoned, and at times, angry. Definitely not grateful, definitely not lucky.
Our kiddos should not be expected to feel grateful. The reality is they were adopted because they had been abandoned. They suffered a deep, terrible loss. And that is definitely not something to be grateful for. So let’s be clear about where are children are at, what they have gone through. Let’s eliminate those expectations.
Many kids may certainly feel grateful, may feel blessed. But we, as their parents or as society, should not ever place that expectation on them. We need to honor their stories, even the hard, painful parts. We should not gloss over that, should not ignore that. It IS part their story. And we need to respect THEIR feelings about all the parts of their story. Give them a voice. Listen to their voice. Respect their voice. They most definitely deserve that.
We're In This Together!
P.S. Want to learn more about helping your child have a voice, increased self esteem and a stronger connection with you? In my Intentional Parent Coaching Group, these are just the kind of topics we focus on. Join us TODAY and get armed to help your child heal! Just click the link below:
Yesterday I snuck away for an hour or so to a coffee shop. Sipping on a warm drink and working on some upcoming stuff for my Intentional Parent Coaching Group with Christmas music being played was good for my mindset.
As I sat there typing, I could hear the gal at the counter greet each customer and take their orders. She was outstanding at her job. Personal. Genuine. Enthusiastic. Warm. Whoever hired her made a GREAT choice!
I often talk about Finding the Good in each day. This was some good in my day for sure, but it didn’t seem like something to keep to myself. I popped my head over the coffee machine and told her what a fantastic job she was doing. Just took a second, but wanted her to know she was making a difference.
Here’s the thing…making a difference doesn’t have to be something BIG. Little things can make just as a big of a difference. She was making a difference with small gestures, but I am certain she made a difference in many people’s day today.
When you go about your day, know that you have the power to make a difference – in the big things AND in the small things. Keep doing those things. Keep striving to do even more.
And when you come upon someone else doing things that make a difference, let them know. It just may be what keeps the momentum going.
We're In This Together,
P.S. My heart just knew you needed a little bit more time - you have TODAY! I know sometimes in our line of work it is hard to make the seemingly big decisions so I have added today so you can get on board. Over 580.00 dollars worth of training + 3 times a month working with me and others who get it + tools and techniques that really work all for $47.00 - this is an incredible opportunity that I know will ABSOLUTELY get your family to happy and healthy! Click here today only - http://www.tohavehope.com/intentional-parent-coaching-group1.html
Feeling Financially Torn?
Look, I was thinking this morning and I know that you are probably feeling financially torn. I know that as Mom it is your job to make sure that physically and financially everyone has what they need; food on the table, decent clothes, school supplies, etc.. And then on top of all of that it is your job to spread the dollars even further to be able to provide those gifts that your children are hoping for. As Mom, we ultimately just want them all to be happy!
I totally get it...I have 6 kids and financially it takes a lot just to get breakfast, lunch and dinner on the table every week much less make sure the sleeves on their long-sleeved shirts are all long enough. I absolutely know that feeling of wanting them to be happy and of creating a Christmas or Birthday that they deserve. I learned a long time ago that the stuff isn't the only way to get there and that actually, more than the stuff, they needed ME.
They needed me to understand what it means to be emotionally plugged in, they needed me to know how to meet them right where they were at, they needed me to be able to stay neutral, they needed me to be able to stay in it with them NO MATTER WHAT and FOR AS LONG AS IT TAKES...they needed and deserved a happy and healthy family and a One and Only Relationship with ME!
So, the question is how do you financially justify joining the Intentional Parent Coaching Group, especially at this time of the year?
Well, as a Mom I always put my time and energy into what will make the biggest impact, what will trickle down to everyone and what ultimately will bring us and keep us together as family. Like you, I want my family to be happy and healthy more than anything.
I am going to BE BOLD here and just say - yes the toys, the stuff, will create happiness for a day that is for sure - maybe even a week or two. However, being a part of the Intentional Parent Coaching Group will impact your family every day forever. You see you have to look at it this way, you are not just spending the money on you...yes, you will be the "member" and you will get support like you have never felt it before, but it isn't just for you. Being a part of the IP Coaching Group will absolutely be the source of great impact on the happiness of your whole family.
In my Intentional Parent Coaching Group's Private Facebook group, you will be surrounded by others that get it and that are working as hard as you are to create a happy, healthy family. The monthly training and tools and techniques I have to give to you will be the source of any shift you want to make in regards to YOUR family's ability to absolutely THRIVE. This journey can be challenging, but it doesn't have to be painful and hopeless.
What I know is that my Intentional Parent Coaching Group is the absolute BEST way I can help you REALLY get to where you want to be. I have packed up 1000's of tools and techniques for you in 6 of my most powerful classes and am giving them to you for FREE when you join the Intentional Parent Coaching Group.
Seriously, if you are parenting a child who is struggling, if your family is not as happy and healthy as you would like them to be, or if YOU feel like there is something missing and like maybe you have lost your way, you can be supported like never before and have strategies that work at your fingertips!
I know you are torn about the money, especially at this time of the year, but the reality is that the small amount of money it will take to GET the RESULTS that you are going to see, results that impact your entire family, will be the best money you will ever spend in the hopes of creating a HAPPY FAMILY!
Don't Miss This! My Black Friday Bundle is Ending TODAY at 10pm CST/ 9 pm EST! YOU can get the tools and support you ed to get your family to the next level - Happy, Healthy and Flourishing!
BLACK FRIDAY BUNDLE OFFER - lock in the $47 per month for the life of your membership thru 11/29!
YOU GET $582 in added content, monthly tip videos with TOOLS that actually work, and SUPPORT with meeting with me 3 times per month to get YOUR questions answered and a plan tweaked for you and your family.
REGISTER NOW: http://www.tohavehope.com/intentional-parent-coaching-group1.html
Here's a peek at the classes you get as a member of my Coaching Group this month - more than $580+ in FULL LENGTH CLASSES.
· NEW! Your Child's BEST School Year Yet (Was $297 – Now Included Free)
· NEW! How to Intentionally Support Your Child's Emotional Health (Was $57 – Now Included Free)
· NEW! Dealing With The Daily Grind (Was $57 – Now Included Free)
· NEW! You Deserve A Break (Was $57 – Now Included Free)
· NEW! Emotional Age Matters (Was $57 – Now Included Free)
· NEW! Effectively Communicate With Your Child (Was $57- Now Included Free))
IT IS TIME to invest in making your life, your child's life and actually the life of your entire family the absolute BEST it CAN BE!
Can't wait to see you in Group!