• Rona Renner,
    Rona Renner, "Is that Me Yelling?"
  • Managing the Anxiety of Parenting Teens
    Managing the Anxiety of Parenting Teens
  • How To Be A Good Parent On A Budget
    How To Be A Good Parent On A Budget
  • The View From The Bay - Discussing men's and women's communication
    The View From The Bay - Discussing men's and women's communication
  • AVG - The Digital Playground
    AVG - The Digital Playground
  • AVG Digital Diaries Episode 2: Digital Birth
    AVG Digital Diaries Episode 2: Digital Birth
  • AVG Digital Diaries Episode 3: Internet Safety for Six to Nine-Year-Olds
    AVG Digital Diaries Episode 3: Internet Safety for Six to Nine-Year-Olds
  • Shelly Rivoli with Rona Renner on The View from the Bay
    Shelly Rivoli with Rona Renner on The View from the Bay
  • Blossoming Mom Series (PART ONE)
    Blossoming Mom Series (PART ONE)
  • Blossoming Mom Series (PART TWO)
    Blossoming Mom Series (PART TWO)
  • Blossoming Moms Series (PART THREE)
    Blossoming Moms Series (PART THREE)
  • Blossoming Moms Series (PART FOUR)
    Blossoming Moms Series (PART FOUR)

“Daddy, I can’t sleep!” A middle of the night trigger for yelling!

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In my book, “Is That Me Yelling?” I touch on the issue of sleep deprivation as a common trigger for parental yelling during the day, or at 3AM, when you’re not able to be rational or calm.

There are many consequences of too little sleep, such as lack of focus, irritability, poor emotional control, and an overall foggy feeling. Sleep deprivation can also set you up for a lower resistance to fighting off colds and other illnesses. Parents and children frequently feel stressed out, and a good nights sleep is an important element in stress reduction.

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Many parents report that when their child gets into the habit of waking up in the middle of the night, they lose it, and start to yell. Yelling  rarely helps, and will often make matters worse since a child may get worried or upset, motivating her to want more comfort.

Most couples share the burden of getting up at night to comfort a crying baby or to walk a seven year old back to her bed after her loud howling woke you and perhaps the neighbors as well. And if you’re a single parent, your sanity depends on creative solutions to getting a good night sleep.

What has worked for you, to help your child learn how to put herself back to sleep? Here are some solutions that parents have used. What would you add?

  • Walk your child back to bed and help her learn ways to soothe herself back to sleep. Stay calm and in control of your emotions—and with a consistent message over time your child may learn that he can go back to sleep without a parent there.
  • Give-in to his desire, and let him sleep with you “just this one night.”
  • Put a sleeping bag or mat (not too comfy)  on the floor in your room and tell your child she can come and sleep there in the middle of the night, as long as she doesn’t wake you up.
  • Teach your child how to do slow easy breathing (maybe with a stuffed animal on her belly) or the body-scan, so she can soothe herself back to sleep. Try an eye pillow that has a soothing lavender scent.
  • Get a dog to sleep with your child.
  • Try a sound machine. For some kids it does the trick when they stir at night. You may find it useful for trips as well.
  • Revisit your child’s bedtime routine. Work  to teach your child how to fall asleep at bedtime,  on his own—without a parent sitting there until he is asleep.  If he gets use to falling asleep without you there, he will be more likely to fall back to sleep without you as well.
  • Make sure he has had a good dinner or a bed time healthy snack, so a hungry belly isn’t the cause of waking.
  • Talk to your child about her school day and listen to any fears or concerns she has about her school performance or friendships. Worries can keep a child from falling back to sleep. Reflect on the amount of one-on-one time you have with your child.
  • Engage your child in a conversation about what would help him get back to sleep without waking you. Experiment with the different ideas if they make sense to you. Let him know that you need your sleep and you don’t want to be woken up at night. Tell him that you will be a much nicer person during the day if you sleep well.
  • Do an inventory on the level of stress in the house in the evening. If things are tense between family members, it can impact healthy sleep.
  • Don’t have  TV or other electronics in your child’s room. Too much visual stimulation, or scary movies, can cause sleep waking. Also the bedroom should be on the cool side, and most people sleep much better in the dark, with the lights out and good curtains to keep the sun from shining into the room in the early morning. Some children do better with a night light, so you’ll need to figure out what’s best.
  • Talk to your health care provider to rule out any issues such as sleep apnea or snoring.

Children go through different stages of development. At some stages they become more aware of the world around them, and because of that, they may not feel safe or secure.  Many children become more aware and interested in death and dying between the  ages of  7-9, and they may temporarily need extra comfort and connection.  Behavior has meaning, and at the same time habits get formed easily, so think it though before you bring your child into your bed at night. It’s a personal decision, so decide if that’s what you (and your partner or spouse) want, and if that’s what your child needs. Each family is unique, and so what works for you may be very different than what works for your friend or sister.

    Book Reading At Google Headquarters

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    Thanks to my friend Janis Keyser, it was a lovely day meeting many parents at Google, and also getting to see one of the their terrific Childcare Centers.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0Z7NyrUz_0

    The main thing I would add to this hour long video is a more developed response to a parents question about whining, I would add that we not only need techniques to help our children break the habit, but sometimes we really need to understand what they are asking for. Sometimes a child will whine when they don’t think they can get a parents attention any other way. And sometimes it’s their inner frustration and stress that comes out in the form of annoying behaviors. There are ways to respond instead of yelling as I mention in the video, and it’s always good to step back and think about your child’s experience.

      Are You Or Your Child Anxious?

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      Many parents and children experience anxiety. Sometimes it’s mild, but other times it can get in the way of fun or meaningful activities. Does your child avoid field trips because he is afraid he’ll throw up on the bus? Do you say no to an invitation to go to a party because you are worried  you won’t know anyone, or that you don’t have a new outfit for the event?  Research shows that as parents, we often pass on our anxieties to our kids, and in some families there is a genetic component as well.

      Here is a good story from NPR about a family who reached out for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to reduce anxiety. Don’t be ashamed if you or your child needs help. Life is a lot easier when anxiety doesn’t rule.

      http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=314602190&m=315978243

      There are also many books to help you understand more about reducing your child’s anxiety. Here a two good ones:unnamed

      http://www.amazon.com/Freeing-Your-Child-Anxiety-Practical/dp/0767914929/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401389948&sr=1-4&keywords=parenting+the+anxious+child

      http://www.amazon.com/Helping-Anxious-Child-Step—Step/dp/1572245751/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401389948&sr=1-3&keywords=parenting+the+anxious+child

      Helping-Your-Anxious-Child-9781572245754

       

        Boulder Bookstore Reading

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        It was a wonderful night in Boulder, thanks to my daughter Mara and her friends and colleagues.  I met many people who do great work for children and families. I enjoyed the questions from parents who, like most parents, are trying to figure out how to communicate with their kids without letting their feelings of frustration and anger get the best of them.

        I look forward to going back to Boulder—it’s a friendly and beautiful city. BoulderBookReading Boulder Bookreading2

         

          Boulder Bookstore Event

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          Do you live in Boulder Colorado? If so take a listen to KGNU Thursday at 7AM. I’ll be talking with Maeve Conran about my book “Is That Me Yelling?”

          I hope to see you on May 22nd  at the Boulder Bookstore at 7:30PM for a book reading. Bring your friends and your questions. Come if you yell more than you would like to, or if you want to learn more about reducing your frustration with you child. We’ll discuss ways to yell less and and reduce your stress and your child’s.

          http://boulderbookstore.indiebound.com/event/rona-renner-me-yelling

            Connecting with parents and friends

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            It was terrific to do a book reading at Book Passage in Corte Madera. I had the chance to reunite with friends who helped make my radio show, Childhood Matters, successful….Peter B. Collins, Marisol Munoz-Kiehne, and Ether Seiderman. My gratitude to my daughter Carina for helping me and being a shining light, and many thanks to Kathryn and Melissa at Book Passage, and Rebecca Wood-Breen of Parents Place,  who co-sponsored the event.

            I love talking to parents about raising children and becoming more aware of how to respond rather than react to their child’s behavior. It takes patience and practice to stay calm and decide what’s needed.

            I look forward to doing a book reading in Boulder Colorado this week. Please let me know if you would like a presentation in your community.

            Marisol:Rona:CarinaPeter:Rona:BookPassageRonaEthel

              Kids in The House

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              Watch Rona Renner’s video’s on various subjects regarding childhood and raising children at Kids in The House. You’ll also find videos from over 400 national parenting and health professionals. 

               

               

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