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How can I help my children sleep? You may have wondered, like me, from time to time.. It's one of the most recurring topics among parents right? Do your children struggle to find their sleep, and you struggle with the urge of running miles away? Let's take a closer look!

How can I help my children sleep
Children's sleep

Children's sleep is heaven. When they sleep! How can I help my children sleep then?

If you have children, or have spent time with them, you have probably experienced the relief that floods you when you close the door of their room in the evening, imagining a few hours of adult life just for you, or for your couple.

And you probably all know the thrill that runs through your back when you hear a Moooom, Daaaad, I can't sleep! I'm thirsty! Please come! At first you pretend not to have heard, but after 2 minutes the little voice has become a loud cry and at some point you need to avoid waking up the whole neighborhood  ..

So you get up, and you hope to fix it in a few minutes. But your child's eyes are wide open and, based on his energy level, he could go hiking up a  mountain .. not quite willing to stay alone in the dark. Children's sleep becomes a nightmare.

You stay a little longer, then try to leave the room again, and there it is. This loud cry, the weeping cry. In your head, the fight : on one hand, I want to finish my film ! (or tidy up the kitchen / talk with your friends who came for a drink / go to sleep / anything else) but on the other, Poor honey, look at his big tears .. I can't just leave him like that ..

And depending on your fatigue level and empathy, one of these thoughts will move you in one direction or the other .. with its consequences.

When children's sleep moves deep, personal issues

...continue reading "How can I help my children sleep? How to handle it, smooth!"

When we lose our temper with our children, our first automatic reaction is raising our voice, maybe a light spank... What if the solution was give them cuddles and snuggling them?! If it seems counter-intuitive to use cuddles in order to stop undesirable behavior, read along! You could change your mind.. and cuddles science could really help you. 

cuddles
Cuddles help

Small frustrations get bigger

Let's picture a typical evening at home.
I just went grocery shopping with the children, before heading home, exhausted after a long day. I had agree I would call my sister and my parents, who live far away, on a Whatsapp video to tell them about our latest week.

The children were happy at first, then got easily annoyed for my lack of availability for them. As soon as I started to talk about "more serious" topics, they followed me everywhere interrupting me every two and a half words.

First time, I stayed calm and gently asked to wait and don't intervene. I got mad at about the tenth time, but as I now know this behavior very well, I got the clue and quickly ended the call.

My quizzical look said "How do I get to prepare dinner now that the children just emptied their "reservoir" and need me again?"

So, I tried with the "aperitif technique". I called the children by the kitchen table, and offered them to have a pre-dinner snack while I was getting the dinner ready, so that we could be in proximity; yes, I was really hoping that some food could replace my mental presence.

Cuddles' need - underestimated symptoms

...continue reading "Cuddles, that’s it! Snuggling as a crisis solution"

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If you often feel tensed and stressed; you are running all the time, and don't even know why. If you sometimes snap at your children for no reason.. or simply, you often find yourself holding your breath.. This article may interest you! We'll see how, when you breathe correctly, you may improve your life in unsuspected ways. 

Children know how to breathe and enjoy life more
Children know how to breathe and enjoy life more

Why should I pay attention to how I breathe?

Let's be honest. How many times a day do we think about our breath?

To the importance of breathing, and to the existence of different techniques to breathe, I payed attention only when I started taking singing lessons. I was 20.

I was taught what the diaphragm is, and how difficult it is to reproduce certain sounds in a melodic and melodious way without the right support with proper musculature, posture and breathing. Before, breathing was something I just did not ever think about.

In order to sing, I had to focus on my breath. I then realized how many times anxiety and nervousness, made me breathe up high to the chest; and how ventral "low" breathing  conciliated instead a state of calm. This is quite physiological since the increase of the respiratory rate is a response to stress (fight or flight response).

It still surprises me. Why in the world do we encounter so many difficulties as adults to just breathe? I mean, it's such a natural mechanism! Children and animals do it right effortlessly. But as we grow, we disconnect so much from ourselves, we forget. And then we need to pay attention and to exercise to relearn..

...continue reading "Breathe… Why it helps you stay calm and present"

Whims and tantrums, is it a recurrent thing for you? Do you ever feel like spending most of the time with your children yelling that you can't go along with their whims? Only, it ends up with the worst tantrums? Let's find some tricks that could really help you out! 

whims and tantrums
Is my daughter throwing a tantrum on a whim?

What are whims ? What are tantrums?

I realize I use these worde when my children show their anger, often in an exaggerated fashion, due to some frustration for the refusal of something they wanted.

After several readings and learning, especially Isabelle Filliozat's books, I understood and internalized the fact that until 5 years old, the part of the brain able to control one's emotions is not mature enough to react as we adults would like.

And besides, even as an adult, I have troubles sometimes in controlling my own frustration (for example when my children don't listen to me!).

You can actually do a little test by yourself. Just to check on your child's cognitive developmental stage. Ask him / her to insert different geometrical shapes in the corresponding hole, as in a toy cube (like this one, to be clear).

If he (she)'s capable of inserting all the right shapes the first time, then his prefrontal cortex is mature enough to understand our Nos without too much fuss.

Otherwise, stay on guard! And remember : he just cannot control himself, he doesn't have the brain capability yet.

...continue reading "Tantrums and whims – the 5 lessons I’ve learnt"

Have you ever felt like being nice to other people made you do things you didn't actually want? Have you ever felt scared when you had to say no to somebody? Afraid of being rejected?
If that's the case, you may want to read this ! I'm going through the same path too, and it could be great to share some advice!

Say no is like climbing
Say no is like climbing

Say no. What?!

It took me years to realize that, well, I have a problem. I can't say no. Friends or colleagues ask me a favor? Of course I'll help ! People ask me to do things I absolutely don't want to do for the sake of me? Here I am anyways!

But hey, either I'd force myself into it, or I'd find an incredible excuse to justify my no. And then I'd feel guilty for hours, or sometimes days.

I became so good at this, I hadn't even realized I would actually convince myself into changing my mind and believing that the other person's option was a better one. I would just forget whatever reason it was for which I didn't want to comply in the first place.

...continue reading "Say no! Why you may want to learn that right now"

Here we are for the first post on this series, devoted to the books and sources I've been finding useful. SO, "Emotional Intelligence 2.0" is for you if you've ever thought..

  • that you have a hard time in understanding how you feel;
  • you only recognize an emotion after some time and reflection;
  • your friends' reactions sometimes astonish you;
  • and / or that you want to teach your children how to grow in touch with their emotional part, but don't know where to start;

Then read along! If you're interested, buy it or borrow it and let us know what you think!

Book on emotional intelligence
Book on emotional intelligence

Disclaimer : This post contains affiliate links, but it is not a sponsored post and all the opinions are my own.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves - co-founders of TalentSmart®

You may wonder why I've chosen to start my series with a book that does not talk about children. In fact, I think children are not even mentioned.

Well, truth is, I've come to think that in order to improve the way we are with our children; in order to better understand our little wonders; in order to enjoy more the time we have together; we need to work on us FIRST.

(Ok, maybe at the same time, but... you get the point)!

This book, in my opinion, doesn't present you anything magical, no miracles here... And maybe that's what I like about it.

It does mix data, theory and practical advice and exercises to get a clear hold on what emotional intelligence is and why you should consider working on it.

What can you expect from this book

The style of this book is practical and entertaining. If you are the kind of person who needs A LOT of theory, then maybe this is not the best reading.

However, if you're looking for down-to-earth strategies that you can easily implement in your daily life, you should give it a go. Its main purpose is getting us to switch our way of thinking and build a real strategy to increase our emotional intelligence.

The structure of this book is easy to go through, so I think what could work best is :

  • reading the book from start to finish to grasp the main concepts;
  • sneak at which areas you should work on first;
  • take a note of which pieces of advice you are already putting into practice, and which one you want to start implementing;
  • use then the book as a guide or referral to check regularly how you're doing in your path towards being an emotionally intelligent person!

...continue reading "Resource series – “Emotional Intelligence 2.0” Review"

Who's never experienced to get up feeling organized, efficient, in control, and full of time ? A clear schedule in your head, and feeling positive about everything? A morning where you feel balanced and strong. In power. You savor a zen morning with the kids, breakfast together and some cuddles, before getting to work..

Then, this whole zen morning with the kids in your head, you wake your wonderful creatures up, and a few moments later, see this powerful feeling of control crumble and transform into exasperation..Raise your hands!!!

zen morning with the kids
Children getting ready

A typical zen morning with the kids

When I enter my children's room, seeing their cute little faces full of sleep,fills me up with tenderness (also read : under the effect of oxytocin). So I start dressing them up, I wake them slowly slowly with kisses and caresses. I listen to them while they're telling me their dream. They usually make them up on the spot... It sounds like "my lollipop turned into mud", or "my bed turned into a leaf", and so on. I smile and feel the luckiest mum of all.

Then we go in the kitchen, I sit with them while they take breakfast, we chuckle. We stay quietly together, until I decide it's time to activate phase number 2 : pee, teeth brushing, washing hands and face, give a hug to daddy still in bed, and then coats and scarfs and go.

The zen morning with the kids you had in mind transforms into catastrophe

My balanced, happy self, my sense of control, disappear in an eye blink.

My daughter jumps in bed with daddy and do not want to move into the bathroom for the sake of her. Then, when I finally get her to do it, she doesn't want to sit in the toilet. In the meanwhile, I've finished washing her brother and need to bring him to his bedroom to get him dressed, only she does not want to stay in the bathroom on her own...

...continue reading "Zen morning with the kids : get your kids out and be on time to work"

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You've probably wondered at least once in your life as a parent.. why my kids cry whenever I leave ! Even when it's just for a short time? Even when they're having fun? Attachment theory can help us understand this. Can it maybe help us feeling less guilty? 

Why my kids cry whenever I leave and feeling guilty
Don't cry, I'll be right there!

DISCLAIMER: I've learnt from different sources, but one of the most significant and richest was the online course that Edx provides on Developmental Psychology that I followed. I did not directly take material from this course, I only took notes and memorized the contents. If you're interested, I highly recommend this course, it's very interesting. 

The perfect mother doesn't exist, however...

I don't know if it's because I'm woman, or because I had a Catholic education, or if it's just my temperament, but guilt is a recurring sensation in my life. It is even more so since I've become a mother. Perhaps I see myself in my children, I relive my childhood in them.. And my expectations on which mother I'd like to be are (maybe) too high. The feeling of being inadequate, is just around the corner.

One of the most difficult moments for me is bringing my children to school. I turn around quick and leave while they cry out desperately because they want to be with me.

I know that they will stop thirty seconds later, but.. And I know that they have fun, and learn a lot at school. And I also believe that having an activity of my own is essential for my mental balance (and therefore also for theirs) !

Bad mother. Why don't you keep them at home with you? Or don't you do more things together? And why did you scold them this morning when you came to school?

The nursery school they attend at the moment is great, they ask me to go there on weekends, sometimes they don't even want to come back home when I pick them up.. and yet in the morning they cling to me and cry.

And so I ask.. why my kids cry whenever I leave, but not when it's daddy who takes them?! And why sometimes I can't even go to the toilets for 5 minutes? or leave on errands for an hour?  ...continue reading "Why my kids cry whenever I leave.. Attachment theory"

Before I even get started, I want to make clear what my mission is. Why do I write. How can I serve you.

why-this-blog-framework
A framework - Photo by Jessica Ruscello on Unsplash

Who am I and what's this blog about?

I am a parent who's been there (and still am actually!).

A mom who's found herself yelling at their kids, and then felt guilty. Who went to work leaving a crying baby behind, not knowing her whys anymore.

A person who's tried to make everyone happy, and then wouldn't know why she was unhappy at times.

...continue reading "Mission Statement – why do I write ?"

At what age did you or your children learn how to ride a bike without wheels? Was it easy? Who taught you? I was amazed when seeing a little child riding all by himself.. How could I teach my daughter too? The answer came unexpectedly.. When I saw how my daughter learnt to ride her bike for an ice-cream. If I only had known her better!!

how my daughter learnt to ride her bike for an ice-cream on the road
Bike learning on the road

Bike and independence

For my daughter, her independence has begun with learning to ride a bike without wheels. She starts off, all by herself, and flies away with a big smile. This is the first time I feel proud of having taught her all that, when seeing her so happy with herself. I forget all the frustration we experienced during a long winter of unsuccessful attempts.. So, here's the (true) story of how my daughter learnt to ride her bike for an ice-cream.

Is there a technique? I asked myself several times. I saw a lot of children, even a lot younger than she was (4, almost 5 now), walking past our window with the assurance of a bicycle veteran, and constantly asking me this question: but how did their parents do?! Why can't we do it?

I looked on the internet, like many of you probably, and saw the usual captivating titles : "5 steps for teaching your kid to ride a bike"; or "how to teach your child to ride a bike in 45 minutes"; or even in 30 minutes! Doesn'it it feel frustrating at times? Like.. Partly you hope it will work, and partly you know it's going to be a lot harder than that.. ...continue reading "How my daughter learnt to ride her bike for an ice-cream"