Bedtime Boundaries


00:00:01 Alyssa
You're listening to Voices of Your Village. This is episode 166. Oh, this was so fun to do, I got to hang out with Rachel, our sleep program director and one of my best friends in the world to chat about bedtime boundaries. We get tons of questions about kiddos pushing those boundaries at bedtime what to do about it, how to support them, things we can do proactively and then what to do in the the moment. This episode is a real and raw episode. You hear things from Rach about personally sitting outside of her daughter's bedroom door to reinforce some boundaries and what this can look like with younger kids as well. It's always fun when I just get to hang out with my pal Rach and the time seems to fly right by so I'm excited to share this episode with you. Rachel also runs our sleep Instagram, if you head over to seed.sleep you can get free tools. She posts every single day and pops into her stories to share tools and resources with you on this sleep journey. So head on over to Instagram at seed.sleep and follow along there. All right folks. Let's dive in.

00:01:25 Alyssa
Welcome to Voices of Your Village, a place where parents, caregivers, teachers and experts come to support one another on this wild ride of raising tiny humans. We combined decades of experience with the latest research to create the modern parenting village. Let's dive into honest conversation about real parenting challenges, so it doesn't have to be this hard. I'm your host, Alyssa Blask Campbell.

00:01:55 Alyssa
Hey everyone, welcome back to Voices of Your Village, today I get to hang out with one of my favorite humans in the whole wide world, our sleep program director Rachel Lounder is here to hang with me. If you follow seed.sleep on Instagram, it's Rachel that you're following. She's the one who runs our Instagram and supports our sleep village as a whole with a growing sleep team, which is exciting.

00:02:23 Rachel Super exciting.

00:02:25 Alyssa
Yeah. So Rach, today I want to chat about bedtime boundaries. It's something that comes up in our village a lot. I'm sure that you get plenty of DMs about it and within our courses it's something that we talk a lot about so for kickstarter's can you share with folks a little bit about what before we like dive into like, okay, they're pushing boundaries, when we're seeing just bedtime resistance as a whole, where do we start?

00:02:59 Rachel
So when we're looking at bedtime resistance, we don't jump straight to like, oh, they're just pushing a boundary. We're going to look at a few things first like making sure that their sleep pressure is optimal, which is their daytime sleep timing. We have some resources for that Voices of Your Village episode 41 dives into that. We can pop our free sleep guide into the blog post for this episode, other things that we would look at there would be, is their central nervous system regulated? And the other big thing that can come into this would be their sleep environment. Is it dark? Is it cool? Do they have white noise? So those would be a couple of like foundational pieces of like sleep science that we would look at to support kids before we determine if this is more of a behavioral thing where they're pushing boundaries.

00:03:49 Alyssa
Yeah. I love that. It's like being a detective and making sure that we're setting kids up for success.

00:03:54 Rachel
Totally because if they're just not tired because sleep pressure's off. They're not pushing a boundary. They're just not tired.

00:04:01 Alyssa
Yeah, and then you just end up in that way like, oh my gosh, what a cycle to be. Like, I need you to go to bed and their bodies like, I'm not tired enough, and then it does feel like a boundary and then everybody's mad at each other.

00:04:12 Rachel Absolutely totally.

00:04:14 Alyssa
Yeah for sure. I love that. So often in sleep, there are these like one size fits all approaches and prescriptions for like 'do this method or approach' and in our approach to sleep, we really see ourselves as detectives trying to figure out what's actually at the root of this challenge and that's what Rach just brought up here is that we really, we aren't going to say like "okay do this method and have a kid cry for this amount of time or do this or don't let them cry ever" like we are really down to figure out what's happening at the root before we're even responding as if it is a boundary that's being pushed.

00:04:53 Rachel

Absolutely. And when we tweak these, I call them the foundational aspects of sleep, when we tweak these we wait a couple of days to see if things level out and then if they don't and we know that those aren't issues then we move into okay, how do we respond to this boundary pushing in a way that communicates the expectation and supports their emotions?

00:05:14 Alyssa
Yeah, love it. So one of the times that I feel like we see a lot of boundary-pushing. This is assuming we've done that detective work. We've gotten to the place of like all right, they're pushing a boundary here one of the times that I feel like we see this a lot is when we're creating new habits, like maybe if you have been bouncing a kid to sleep or feeding them to sleep, or maybe they fell asleep holding your hand and you're like, I can't lay there for an hour and 15 minutes every night anymore or whatever. Whatever they were doing when we're creating a new habit or pattern. I feel like we see a lot of boundary-pushing there.

00:05:56 Rachel
Definitely, anytime we are making change with kids around sleep, change is hard and when we start to make change, they're trying to figure out if we really mean it, like do you really mean that you're not going to bounce me to sleep anymore? Is this really the new habit and expectation? And so they push to figure out if it is, and the key anytime you're making changes is that our response to that boundary pushing is consistent. So that we are communicating like "Yes, this is the new expectation and I'll be here to support you as you learn how to navigate this new expectation."

00:06:34 Alyssa
Yeah, I think that's so key in that like we set a timeline expectation for ourselves that it's like yeah first night, second night, third night, not going to be a breeze because they don't know that you're like, all right, we're going to change this habit. They thought we were going into night one doing the same thing we've always done and it's new for them, you know? I think of like the I was just listening to Sanjay Gupta's new book about the brain and it is fascinating. It's just like a nerdy neuroscience, which is right up my alley but he was talking about how many times we need to be exposed to something for it to be solidified into our long-term memory and I think of you know, I've shared about my salmon recipe that like Zach does all the cooking in our house for the most part but every week I make salmon and the first bunch of times that I was making salmon. I had to look at the recipe and follow it, for the salmon, for the sauce, for the whole shebang. And now I can improvise with things in the kitchen if we don't have stuff, I can do it while I'm doing other things because it comes second nature, but I had to do it over and over and over and over again in order to get to that point and I think with kids so often were like here's a new habit, get it right on the first time, don't push back, know what to expect and it just doesn't seem realistic.

00:08:03 Rachel
Totally and I think it can be a little bit discouraging for parents because often what we see with sleep when we are creating new habits is that nights two and three are often actually worse than the first night, because on the first night, they're like, "Okay, this is new, I don't really like it" then on night two they're like, "What the heck? Why is this still happening?" on night three they're like, "Okay, this is still happening and I hate it" and that's really really hard. It's hard to see our kids experiencing something difficult, disliking a situation not having their first choice about how or where they are falling asleep. All of that is so hard and we want it to be over really quickly and the fact of the matter is, that when we are creating new habits and expectations, in the same way that as adults we need time to adjust. So do these tiny humans.

00:08:53 Alyssa
Yeah, I think the challenge with sleep compared to like other transitions. I'm thinking of like when a kid starts to school for the first time or is going to childcare or whatever, we often like kind of push through that uncomfortable period and we support them through it and we expect that it's going to be hard for a little while and we have often made the choice for them to go to school because we're going to work or we need that child care support versus with sleep. I think there's a part of us that's like, "Oh I could just take away these hard feelings and go back to what we were doing." And so it's so hard not to just do that.

00:09:26 Rachel
It is so hard and I think that often we have different narratives around hard feelings at bedtime than we do during the day. And so I think it's really straightforward for us to say like, okay, yeah, my kids mad during the day, I'm going to hold space for it and support them. And I know that I can be here and hold space and be calm and they're going to get through this. And I think at night often what I see, well what I've seen in myself with my own children. And also what I see with almost every single family that I work with, is that there can be this spiral of like, "Oh my gosh, this is so dysregulating for me. I'm reacting to this nighttime crying so differently than I do during the day and I'm not exactly sure what to do."

00:10:11 Alyssa
Yeah such a good point, that's something I like have just been curious about, I don't know the answer to, but I am curious what it is about, maybe it's just that it's end of the day, we're all dysregulated, we're all tired and we just don't have the capacity to hold that space in the same way that we do during the day. But also there seems to be a fear around any crying at bedtime in a way that just goes against everything that we talked about during the day where we're like, we don't want to be scared of their tears of their emotions during the day. We want to be able to hold space and welcome and allow them to feel but at nighttime, I feel like they're yeah, there's just these fears

around crying or having hard emotions that like every child needs to go to sleep in like a happy calm place every night without feeling something hard and I wonder where that comes from.

00:11:03 Rachel
Yeah. I see that too in our village a lot and I always say that like so much of, so much of what I do is supporting the emotions of the caregivers through these changes and I don't have an answer for why that happens. I've experienced it in my own central nervous system and I do think that end of the day fatigue is certainly an aspect here because it's a lot harder to access regulation when you're tired. You're ready to be done. You just want them to go to sleep. And so so much of the work here is for parents to have strategies where they can access their regulation so that they can respond consistently so that their kid can learn this new expectation because once the child knows that their caregiver will respond consistently, that need to push the boundary, starts to dissipate. What they're asking is, "Will you help me know what to expect? Will you respond the same even when my feelings are so big? Can I count on you to be calm when I am completely dyresgulated? That's what they're asking and we show them that by responding consistently and then they don't need to push so much anymore because they know the answer.

00:12:15 Alyssa
Totally. Well, it's just what they've done their whole life. Right? Like we think of this we're always conditioning kids and we have taught them certain habits and patterns from the minute they came out right? Like here's what will happen when you cry in this instance. Here's what will happen here. Here's what happens with this caregiver. Here's what happens at this time of day. They've consistently been asking those questions and we have been conditioning them with our response. And so now when we're saying we're going to create a different habit. It is conditioning. We are all conditioned humans and we're saying instead of bouncing you, here's how we're going to fall asleep or whatever your new habit or pattern is and it's going to take them a little while. They're going to ask that question for a little bit. They don't ask it like "Hey, what's going to happen tonight?"

00:13:03 Rachel
"Are you going to hold the boundary?"

00:13:04 Alyssa
Right? That's not how they're going to ask it, but they are going to ask it and part of them learning what to expect is our consistent regulated response. It's so comforting for them to know. Okay, this is new and here's what the new will look like.

00:13:21 Rachel

Totally and I think it is, it's hard. I think it's especially hard for parents who are creating new expectations with infants who may not have a ton of receptive language yet because it feels like we can't communicate with them but we do communicate with our actions. And so no, we can't say, "Okay we're going to do something new at bedtime and I'll be here to support you." We can't say that to them and have a dialogue back and forth. But what we can do is show them here's the new thing that we're going to do. Here's how I'm going to respond to you. Here's how I'm going to support you through this. We communicate that with our actions.

00:13:58 Alyssa
Totally, totally and again, it isn't one size fits all for us. We work with families that are co-sleeping, bed sharing, have a kid sleeping in a closet in a pack and play, in their own room, in a crib like for us we're just here to support you with your goals. And so we don't have one specific like follow this specific approach because it depends on your family unit goals, but as we're looking at forming these new habits or supporting bedtime. What are some key things to have in place Rach that can support bedtime resistance or boundary-pushing here.

00:14:34 Rachel
Totally, having a consistent and predictable and concrete bedtime routine. For some kids they really need it to be super duper concrete. Like how many books will be read? How many songs will we sing? What order will the things happen in? If I start crying when books are over? How are you going to respond? All of this needs to be sort of dialed in and I really love using visual aids for this. I really love some sort of visual schedule where kids can see exactly what the steps are what order they're going to be happening in, doing that every single night. For some toddlers and preschoolers. It can be really really helpful to use a visual timer. We love the 'time-timer'. I talk about it all the time on the Sleep Instagram and so many people will DM me and be like, "I got the timer and this sounds really dramatic but it's changed my life!" and I'm like "No that doesn't sound dramatic. It also changed my life." And I think that when we're creating new expectations and we have a timeline associated with them. It can be so helpful for kids to have a visual cue for like we can say like okay in five minutes, we're going to do jammies, if they don't know when 5 minutes has passed and then we go to put jammies on and they are not ready and then we are frustrated.

00:15:56 Alyssa
Also how many times a day do we say in five minutes and sometimes five minutes is 20 minutes and sometimes five minutes two minutes, that like I feel for the kids on this one.

00:16:06 Rachel
Absolutely and I think of myself as an adult like if I did not have a tangible cue for time passing and let's say my husband told me that he wanted me to be ready for something in 10 minutes, but I had

no way to figure out when the 10 minutes went by and then he was mad at me because I wasn't ready? That would stink!

00:16:24 Alyssa
Yeah just doesn't feel Fair. Yeah, I like the timer as, not a threat, like no as a punishment but rather just communicating that expectation. I think that's that's huge for kids.

00:16:37 Rachel
Totally. So yeah visual aids concrete predictable routine. Those are really the big things for bedtime. So kids know exactly what to expect.

00:16:46 Alyssa
And one thing that you dive into in the sleep courses a lot and support folks with is like a system and plan in place for calming your own nervous system because let's get real like how many times do folks come in and they're like, "Okay we're going into this and I'm nervous about it!" And we're like "If you're nervous, they're going to feed off that nervous energy." And so I think making sure that you have a concrete plan and that's what our sleep plans are really designed to do. It creates a guideline and an outline for you to create a plan that considers you, who's going to take care of you, how you're going to be taken care of so that you can show up and support this tiny human.

00:17:32 Rachel
Absolutely. It's so key, a regulated caregiver is the cornerstone of any sleep plan.

00:17:38 Alyssa
Yeah, and we dive again into that, if folks want like a concrete plan and feel like you need more support, we'll keep chatting here, but if you feel like you need more support, we have sleep courses for newborn, infant/toddler and then the preschool/Pre-K age and beyond, over at, I think.

00:17:57 Rachel
Yes. You got it, babe.

00:18:03 Alyssa
Tiny human sleep can feel like such a doozy to figure out. Maybe your first kid was totally different than your second kid, or you've hit Google and found such conflicting advice. We've got your back, over at seed we have sleep courses for newborns, five to twenty three month olds, and two to five year olds. We broke them up into different ages and stages so that we can support you with developmentally appropriate ways to help your tiny human get optimal sleep. This is a shame free, judgment free space, where we have folks who are navigating sleep in all different ways. It is not one-size-fits-all, your child is unique, and your family unit is unique. Everybody's going to have unique sensory profiles and different sleep needs. Our sleep courses guide you through creating a plan unique to your child. We look at the foundational skills, take a look at biology and what's going on beneath the surface so that your tiny human can get restorative sleep which is huge for immune function and emotional development. For regulation and the ability to thrive throughout the day. You don't have to do this alone. We're here to support you. And if you snag one of our sleep courses right now between now and Sunday April 18th you get access to our ultimate guide to addressing nap challenges, a bonus that's only available right now. You also get entered into win the chance to get your biggest sleep question answered by our sleep team. You'll get a five-minute voice memo with your answer head on over to to find the course that's right for your child's age group and get in on these bonuses now. you do not have to do this alone.

00:20:13 Alyssa
Another thing that I think we really need to talk about because it also gives up a bunch is impulse control. When people are like well, they aren't staying in their bed, whether they are co-sleeping bed-sharing they have a floor bed, or maybe they've made a crib to bed transition and kids are coming out.

00:20:34 Rachel
Totally. So yeah, let's chat about impulse control. Impulse control is not well developed in toddlers. If there is an option for getting out of the bed, it is not a realistic expectation for them to stay in their bed. So one thing that we encourage is delaying a crib to bed transition. As long as you safely can, if your child is consistently climbing out of the crib and it is becoming a safety issue then absolutely transition them and know that there will be a period of boundary-pushing when you do because it is new and they do not have the impulse control to stay in their beds.

00:21:20 Alyssa
And sometimes that boundary pushing isn't right away. Sometimes they're like, oh this is fun and then it loses its luster and all of a sudden people are like wait it was going so well!

00:21:29 Rachel
Totally! We'll have people pop in. We have a Facebook support group for course purchasers and we'll have people pop in and say literally, "We did the crib to bed transition two weeks ago and everything went great. I couldn't believe how well it went and now they're completely gone off the rails, help me!" So yes, there can certainly be a delay there. And so when we are setting boundaries for kids who either never were crib sleepers or for kids who have made the switch. It's a more

realistic expectation to hold the boundary around staying in the room, not the bed. And so what this looks like is making sure that the room is safe, for a lot of kids this means like making the room pretty bare bones, if they have access to exciting toys or anything also dangerous this needs to be a safe space if we're going to have a two-year-old getting out of their bed and meandering around the room. So safety is a top concern and then yeah pretty bare-bones also in terms of like them not having access to things that are super fun and novel and will keep them awake. We are almost sort of recreating the crib boundary in their room.

00:22:36 Alyssa
Yeah in the same way that we wouldn't let them like run out of the house. Right? Like we create that boundary, where we're like, we'll shut that door so that you can't just leave at any point. Now at bedtime the boundary is their room.

00:22:49 Rachel
Totally and for kids who can open the door. This can be quite a quite a doozy initially setting this boundary and often will look like a caregiver sitting outside the door while establishing this boundary which I have been doing lately with my six-year-old. We just kind of got off-track during the holiday season. She didn't have school. I just kind of let go of like the timing of bedtime for her and like how the routine would go and over the course of the couple of weeks of break her bedtime had creeped later and later and the meandering and boundary-pushing and requests had sort of built up to a peak. And so I decided that it was time to re-establish some boundaries. And so I have been sitting outside of her room, just right outside the door there to remind her that it's time to sleep. And anything she wants to chat about we can chat about in the morning and her next opportunity to eat will be at breakfast and on and on and on and on and I won't have to do this forever. But sometimes you get off track and they need to be reminded of what the expectation is. And so sometimes that looks like sitting outside the door for a little bit.

00:24:00 Alyssa
Yeah, and I see this a bunch when we we're navigating life transitions too, I mean you were talking about the holidays or if you've traveled you've gone on a trip and maybe they slept in a different space or a sibling or a new school transition any sort of transitions like that. We want to expect that kids are going to push the boundaries and say "Is this still the expectation now that we're back home or now that there's a new sibling here?" Whatever like how serious are we about this?

00:24:29 Rachel
Absolutely yeah life transitions are big big and often they're called sleep regressions when this happens, but anytime we have a big life transition even something like potty training we can start to see some boundary pushing at bedtime.

00:24:44 Alyssa
Yeah, and for different kids it's going to show up differently. I know like when we came out of vacation last summer, you're younger one who was at that point like 16 months or so that a really tough like week coming back from being in a pack & play, being in the same room as you with the Slumber pod and whatever had to figure out like what does this look like, you know, and so it's not again shocker, but not a one-size-fits-all some kids will transition more easily and some kids will need that consistency and reminder of the the expectations.

00:25:20 Rachel Totally.

00:25:22 Alyssa
If folks are more interested in diving into impulse control. We will link in the blog post and on impulse control I got to hang out with Dr. Ann Louise Lockhart and talk about this last year in like November, terrible at knowing my podcast numbers off the top of my head, but it, it'll be linked in the blog post. You were talking about like older kiddos, like your daughter kind of coming out of her room now and all that jazz. One thing that I find really helpful with older kiddos is being able to do a check-in like hey, but especially if they're feeling like scared if their fears that are coming up like I don't want to be alone or you know, I'm the cognitive growth and Imagination in the late toddler preschool years is remarkable. And so they are designed to have a crazy wild imagination. That's now thinking of things and might lead to feelings of fear or loneliness and now they're verbalizing them and it can feel really hard not to be like, okay, I'll just stay, I'll make sure you don't feel fear or that you don't feel lonely. And our work at Seed is about allowing kids to feel and letting them know. It's okay to feel those things and supporting them with tools to do that. So, can you chat about what that check-in might look like with an older kid.

00:26:47 Rachel
Totally first. Let's just go upstream for a second something that we talked about a lot in our sleep courses and also just like in our sleep Instagram and in our sleep village is building coping strategies for kids, and this will come into play when kids are having tough feelings at bedtime our older kids. And so we start this work of building coping strategies during the day and we could link the free emotion coaching guide in the blog post for this episode. So that folks have sort of a framework for what this can look like. And so we build these skills during the day before we expect kids to be able to tap into them a bedtime. But so for example, I'll share a couple of nights ago my daughter Nora was like Mom, she had called me into her room and I'm like, hey, babe, what's up? She's like "I'm thinking about having nightmares. And usually if I think about having them before I fall asleep, I have them and so I'm feeling scared to fall asleep." And I said, "Oh man, babe sometimes I have thoughts

that I don't like before I go to sleep too and I get that feeling of like, oh man, if I dream about this, I might feel scared." Then I just kind of like let that sit for a second and I shared what I do to calm myself in the moment when that happens and then I asked her like "Nons, what could you do right now? When that feeling of being scared is in your body, what could you do to feel calm?" We have a coping strategies board that we pull from so I said like which coping strategy would you like to use right now to calm your body and so I kind of supported her through that and then I let her know. I'm going to go sit outside your door. Because I'm holding that boundary. I don't typically do that. I'm gonna go sit outside your door you tap into your strategy and I also said like I'm going to come back and check on you. And then I left. Yeah, I love that and we've been practicing this a lot. So I didn't get a lot of pushback in that interaction with there have been times where she didn't want me to leave the room and she wasn't happy about it and it pulls at your heartstrings as a parent when you see your child feeling a hard feeling and you want to fix it. You want to make it go away. You also just want it to be over because it's bedtime and you want them to go to sleep. Also it's really really hard to maintain the expectation of like for my family. I don't want to lay with Nora every night when she falls asleep. I want her to have the skills to fall asleep on her own. This isn't the case for every family but this is what I've chosen for my children and part of communicating that expectation means that I'm going to hold space for you when you're scared. I will guide you in tapping into strategies and I'm also going to leave the room again and you might be still feeling and expressing when I leave the room and I'll come back to check on you and then I leave and I leave with confidence even when it's hard for me inside because if she looks at me and thinks like oh my mom seems anxious about leaving me. Am I safe? Why would mom look anxious about leaving me if she's telling me that I'm safe. So I have to not only tell her that she's safe. I have to communicate that by leaving with calm confidence.

00:29:58 Rachel Yeah, so key.

00:29:59 Rachel
So that she knows like my mom's, okay with leaving right now because I am safe. I don't like this. I'm a little angry at her actually, I might even scream about it for a minute, but I'm safe.

00:30:12 Alyssa
Yeah, and then you come out and you text me and you're like help!

00:30:15 Rachel Help me regulate!

00:30:17 Alyssa

Yeah, totally.

00:30:19 Rachel
And you know, this is harder for me with Abel.

00:30:22 Alyssa Mmm-hmm.

00:30:23 Rachel
After experiencing postpartum depression with Abel his cries trigger me in a way that Nora's do not.

00:30:28 Alyssa
They trigger me in a way that Nora's do not!

00:30:32 Rachel
Well Abel's cries are, they're not casual?

00:30:34 Alyssa
No, there's not much that is casual about Abel.

00:30:39 Rachel
No, he's not a casual kid. And his rage cries can often sound like distress cries, and it's taken me a long time to access the regulation to determine, "What is Abel saying to me and how do I support him?" But it's a lot harder with him. And so I feel so much empathy for parents who say to me like I can't stay calm in the moment! I can't do it. It is so hard and it is a practice and it doesn't have to be perfect and one night of not responding how you wish you would have responded is not going to ruin all the progress. You've made you're not going to jeopardize secure attachment. There's all these fears that we have running in our heads like am I jeopardizing secure attachment? Did I not communicate that expectation appropriately? Should I have done something different? Could they sense my dysregulation? Why am I dysregulated? We have this running list of ways we could be better and if you do something at night with your child and then you're like shoot. I wish I had done that differently. That's no different than doing that during the day, all the time. We talked about there's rupture and repair maybe we didn't hold the boundary the way that we wanted to that's, this is not about perfection. This is about intention and sometimes I've shared on the Sleep Instagram about times where I haven't been consistent with boundaries and where that's landed us. And how I had to get us back on track not just with Nora but also with Abel and every time I share something like that people DM me and say like it's so comforting to know that like you are a sleep consultant and you have times of challenge with your children, we all do and that's okay. And so I never want

parents to listen to me saying like "Here's how to set boundaries!" and then think that they can't come to me and say like oh, this is hard, right?

00:32:33 Alyssa Or drop the ball.

00:32:35 Rachel
Yeah, I didn't hold the boundary.

00:32:36 Alyssa
Yes, you're going to get so many nights to practice.

00:32:40 Rachel
That's the thing and the changes that you make are not going to be made overnight and they're not going to be you're not going to make or break them in one interaction with your child.

00:32:50 Alyssa
Yeah, totally and just so folks know we have a new online shop where a lot of these things we're talking about the transition schedule, the coping strategies, things like that. You can snag if you are like me and you're not like a crafty human, but you want these tools also, like literally I'm not a Pinterest human. You can go onto our shop. If you go to you can access our shop from there and you can snag these you can snag our coping strategies. You can snag the transition schedules things like that to help support you in this. I love that you pointed out the coping strategies component, Rach it is so, so huge and it doesn't have to be fancy, Rachel's are velcroed to a piece of cardboard. Like it doesn't have to be a fancy thing for it to work. Totally we have been using them and it's also so fun to see like Nora will emotion coach Abel just so fun to see and also I want to note I've talked a lot in this about boundary setting with older kids, but building coping strategies we do from infancy. You don't have to wait until your kids a toddler to start this we can build these skills in infants and it's honestly incredible. I remember one day sitting down with Abel. This was not around sleep. He was crying about something. I don't know what, he was 11 months old and I sat down and started taking deep breaths myself, and he started copying me. And both of us were calming together in that moment. And before I had kids if you had said like you can teach an 11 month old coping strategies, I would have said okay, ha ha good one.

00:34:34 Rachel
But you can and so much of it of course is modeling. But even with infants we are building these skills during the day so that they have tools to pull from at night. And we are setting a new boundary and they are having feelings about it.

00:34:46 Alyssa
Totally when we did the research for the CEP method, for folks who don't know I created the "Collaborative Emotion Processing" method. And it's all about building emotion processing tools, building emotional awareness, vocabulary, coping strategies, Etc. Our research started with kids as young as four months old. And so and we started to see that those four month olds by the time they were about nine months that they could crawl over to a coping strategies board and snag the coping strategy that they wanted.

00:35:13 Rachel It's incredible.

00:35:14 Alyssa
It's so incredible. I think we don't give kids enough credit early on and same with same with these bedtime boundaries that we're like will they understand it? Will they be damaged? If we communicate with them and both verbally but also in our actions of like here's what to expect, you're safe. It's my job to keep you safe. I'm going to make sure that you're safe and we can communicate that with confidence. They will inherently then feel safe and be able to navigate things like a change in sleep space.

00:35:46 Rachel
Totally. We just had somebody who joined our sleep village. She purchased our sleep course she had been bedsharing and breastfeeding since birth with her 16 month old and she ended up purchasing her course with a call. So I got to really dive deep with her and guide her through this and she had such great self-awareness and talked about like I really need support and concrete tools for staying calm during this change because I feel nervous about it. So we talked about what she could do about coping strategies that felt good for her as the caregiver and she popped into our Facebook group for course purchasers on night four, and was like, I can't believe it. I cannot believe my daughter was capable of this. She went to bed tonight and put herself to sleep without a peep. And now let's clarify. It's not always silent on night four but I do like to see progress on night four otherwise, we're shifting things, but all of that to say this toddler who had been falling asleep at the breast in bed with her mom her entire life, with a regulated caregiver, with a consistent response, with emotional support by night four she had cultivated the skill to fall asleep. We underestimate, babies especially, we underestimate them so much, they are capable of so much. They are incredible beings when we give them the opportunity.

00:37:14 Alyssa

Totally. So huge. So huge. All right, Rach, if folks want to follow you, dive deeper into this, can you share your handle and again where they could access courses if that's what they're interested in.

00:37:29 Rachel
Totally. So the Sleep Instagram handle is seed.sleep in the link tree in the Instagram. There are tons of free resources. You can find our sleep courses there as well or at

00:37:48 Alyssa
Yeah. If you go to, you can also find it. It's the mothership.

00:37:52 Rachel
Yeah. Come hang out with us on Instagram. We have a really fun, supportive, shame free sleep village that we have grown and it's so much fun to be there. So come join us.

00:38:03 Alyssa
Thanks for hanging out with me.

00:38:05 Rachel I mean...

00:38:07 Alyssa
We do it all day. I love you.

00:38:10 Rachel I love you.

00:38:13 Alyssa
Thanks for tuning in to Voices of Your Village. Check out the transcript at Did you know that we have a special community over on Instagram hanging out every day with more free content? Come join us at Take a screenshot of you tuning in, share it on the gram and tag to let me know your key takeaway. If you're digging this podcast, make sure to subscribe so you don't miss an episode. We love collaborating with you to raise emotionally intelligent humans.


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