Category Archives: Uncategorized

October Newborn Sleep Workshops

Are you a new mom?  Have you started reading the books and information about sleep but don’t know where to start?

Join us for workshop focus on newborn sleep.  Where you will have all your questions answered!

Small Pockets Boutique in Dallas has invited Sleep Happy back to host TWO classes in October because you wanted more info on SLEEP!

Tuesday, October 16th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm

Click here to register:  Bit.ly/PMNewbornSleepWorkshop
Wednesday, October 17th from 10am to 12noon
Click here to register:  Bit.ly/AMNewbornSleepWorkshop
Cost:  $75
We heard you and we have improved our Newborn Workshop to include an evening and a morning class AND a longer class for more time for Q&A!

Class Description:  Become equipped with practicable tools to use with your newborn.  This class teaches you how to take all the overwhelming messages parents are bombarded with today and use them to tailor the right approach for your unique baby and parenting style.

Come build your confidence in a positive and encouraging environment!

Registration is filling up, buy your tickets today!

Tuesday, October 16th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm

Click here to register:  Bit.ly/PMNewbornSleepWorkshop
Wednesday, October 17th from 10am to 12noon
Click here to register:  Bit.ly/AMNewbornSleepWorkshop
Class will be hosted in the Tea Room at Small Pockets Boutique at 12300 Inwood Road Dallas 75244.
For more information, feel free to call Jessica at 214-435-2169 or send an email to jessica@sleephappyconsulting.com.

 

Host Your Own #SleepHappyDonutParty

It’s easy to start a Sleep Happy Donut Party tradition in your community. It’s a great event that makes Moms, Dads, and little ones (and teens for that matter) happy about waking up.

It would be a great event to plan for your small group at church, an social event for your moms club, an Early Childhood PTA group, an event for your school’s Kindergarten Round Up schedule, or your neighborhood.

I start by creating a flyer, Facebook event, and/or email invitation.  Encourage guests to RSVP so you know how many donuts to order.  I ordered 92 donuts plus some donut holes, and I had 75 guests.  We ran out after 1.5 hours.  Next year, I will order 120.

Start your event early.  We started at 7:30am.  In the past, I have started at 7am.  No one come that early…lol.  With a come and go event like this, and being the first time for some to get up that early… you will have arrivals during the first hour of your event.

Hosting the event in your own driveway makes it easy set up and clean up! If you are hosting at your school playground or park, enlist some high school volunteers to help with set up and clean up so that you can enjoy the party.

What you will need?

  • Order your donuts at least two days in advance from your favorite donut shop or grocery store. (order ALL glazed so the options are all the same).
  • Grab some OJ or juice boxes
  • Cups or Ice
  • Napkins
  • Trash bag or can
  • Table
  •  Outdoor chairs

To make it super simple, I always make the invite BYOC. (Bring Your Own Coffee ~diet coke, DP, or water)

We have hosted probably 5 or more Wake Up Parties since my oldest started Kindergarten. What I have found is how thankful and excited parents are when they arrive. THEY love that you created an fun event to help them get out of bed. Moms and Dads enjoy meeting neighbors, seeing friends, and watching the kids play outside. Often it turns into a whole morning event of fellowship and playtime. You will LOVE hosting this event and your friends will talk about it for years.

Will you be planning a #SleepHappyDonutParty in your neighborhood?

Be sure to share and tag us on social media with #SleepHappyDonutParty!

 

 

Sleep Routines: The Teacher Perspective Video

You’ve got the right supplies, you’ve got the new outfit, you might even have a First Day of… sign ready to go..

You’ve googled Pinterest lunches and stocked the pantry for the first few weeks.

But… have you equipped your little one with the skills to help them transition from Summer days to school days with the most success?

In this video, you will hear the Teacher Perspective.  Cathy and I discuss some GOLDEN nuggets of wisdom on what the first days of school actually feel like for young children.  It’s all the things your child can’t answer when you pick them up and ask, “what did you do today at school?”

Our goal is to help you set your child up for school success, so we are talking about the things most parents don’t consider…

How your child learns school routines and transitions?

How your child processes all the sights and sounds and distractions of the lunch room?

How your child internalizes all the new processes and procedures of necessary in a school day?

and more…

Visit the Sleep Happy Facebook Page and share your thoughts and tips for back to school.  We would love to hear your Back to School story and how you set your child up for success!

Still have questions, not sure how to begin to reset routines, Sleep Happy can help!  Schedule a Free 15 minute Phone Consultation today so that I can hear about the sleep challenges in your household!

Don’t forget to share this video in your favorite Mommy FB Groups and with your Mommy Friends!

The Sleep Happy Seed

My story started back in the Fall of 2003 at a neighborhood event.  As a new mother, I was just so excited for some adult contact.  I took my five-month-old, Madeleine, with me down to the gathering at a house around the corner.

My little girl was a good sleeper from week 3.  I had perfected the Five 5s even though I thought my uterus was going to fall out.  I was a pro at the swaddle, almost as good as a Labor & Delivery nurse.  Madeleine knew the signals, it was crazy.  She was a 1%er in the sleep department, but I worked hard to set the boundaries for her to learn.  But still, something was off in our schedule.

Always eager to learn from other moms who had been through the same stages before, I mentioned to Michelle, mom of 3 year old Mia, that our morning feedings were off.  I was breastfeeding, Madeleine was going down around 9pm before I went to bed, but our mornings were a mess.

That’s when Michelle said, “Well you know, babies can sleep 7-7.”

“WHAT?  What are you talking about?”  Nobody said that.  My pediatrician didn’t mention that.  REALLY?????
I went home equipped with a book Michelle had pulled out of her bookshelf for me.

You see this was shocking news to me, but by the time I had Madeleine I already had a lot of experience with babies and children.  I have a BS degree in Child Development and Family Relationships.  I nannied for newborn twins while I was observing preschoolers, like Michael Dell’s daughter, in the lab school at the University of Texas.  I tested out every theory I learned in school on those adorable boy/girl twins I loved so much.

When I graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, I got a job at Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) in Fort Worth because of my ability to recite the developmental milestones from birth to 3 years old so quickly.  This was probably because I had experiences with the twins to back up everything I studied in the books.

At ECI, I worked with the birth to three populations in their homes as a case manager.  I learned how to create goals and strategies for each child’s individual needs and how to train parents to work with their children on those goals.  I gained a vast knowledge of the sensory system and how if affects development, and learned how children interpret the world around them from the Occupational and Physical Therapists there.  I learned about feeding and how to help underweight babies gain weight from the dietician.  I learned how feeding goes hand and hand with speech development.  I learned how important it is to offer solids with different textures in order to help babies develop their oral muscles, and how important having those foods in their mouths is so that they can process the feeling in a sensory way.

After ECI, I went on to teach Kindergarten in Dallas ISD.  There I learned what children needed to be equipped with to be successful in the school setting.  I learned what sponges they are.  I saw how with encouraging, confidence building activities children could go from knowing one word in English to writing stories and speaking in full sentences by the end of the year.  I learned how much some children still needed massive sensory input to help organize their bodies.  I had one child from Ethiopia who literally played in the rice and beans sensory station for 6 months. During the summers off, I continued to nanny children.

In July of 2003, I gave birth to my first child.  And then, in that yard that Fall afternoon, Michelle, the mom of the 3 year old, gave me a mission.

I was going right home to test this crazy theory that my little girl could sleep 7PM TO 7AM.  I started to think of my nanny days and remember that older kids did this… but I was skeptical that my 5 MONTH OLD needed to do that.

Well by just 3 days later I adjusted up Madeleine’s bedtime and she slept from 7pm to 7am.  She kept this sleep schedule until pretty much 6 or 7 years of age.

Yes, I am serious.  I told you she was a 1%er.  She also had firm boundaries from 6 weeks because she was healthy and a great eater.  She woke up once when she was 2 and it turned out she had an ear infection.  At 15, she continues to be the child that needs the most sleep in our family.

At 8, she was diagnosed with dyslexia.  If you know about children with dyslexia, you know how much harder their brain has to work in school.  They fatigue so much faster with tasks like writing and reading.  Children with dyslexia are very intelligent and driven.  They know their performance often does not match their intelligence, so they push themselves to be high achievers in the classroom.  I hate to think what school would have been like for her from kinder to second grade if she was only getting 9-10 hours of sleep.  I think I would have had a very different child and one that was less successful at school.  She would have struggled to attend and focus in class running on less sleep.

That’s my story of how the seed for Sleep Happy  was planted.  Those words from Michelle.  That challenge.  That hypothesis. I had to test it.

OH I should probably mention that after 2 more miscarriages (I had an ectopic before Madeleine), I delivered surprise TWINS!!!

Twins, friends, two babies at once.  Both my husband and myself are ONLY CHILDREN.  Both of our moms are only children.  Coming from the smallest families in the world we thought we were NEVER going to be allowed to have more than one baby.  Be careful what you wish for… it may just get handed to you on a silver platter! 😉

So…if you have learned anything, you know me well enough that I got those TWO babies on a sleep schedule as fast as I could.

Yes, they took longer.  They were pacifier babies.  Madeleine sucked her thumb.  I didn’t know about paci replacement training and a pile of pacis back then.

In the land of motherhood I was weird.  I drew attention.  I always got the questions like …. “Why are you so calm?”
“Why are you so relaxed?”
“Your babies go down AT WHAT TIME?  AND WAKE WHEN?”

My story is different.  When I had children I already has spent years being a nanny, spending time on the floor with 100s of children throughout high school, college, and into my 20s.  I continued nannying even in 2015, which was the last time I nannied a 12-week-old until he was 6 months.  After years of study of tiny humans, how they learn, and what they need to develop… after years of learning again from an interdisciplinary team on the floors of families across North Texas, I learned how to address even the most specific needs of the birth to 3 population. I learned what neglect looked like and broken attachments.  I learned how much a child can learn when their needs are addressed early.

All these experiences and all these lessons, gave me confidence in working with children and families.  It is THE gift I was given.

A gift I now know,  I was meant to share.  A gift my friends saw and pushed me out of my comfort zone to share with others who I could help three years ago when I started Sleep Happy Consulting.

My mission is to build confidence in mothers around the world.  It starts with sleep.

While the seed was planted for Sleep Happy Consulting in the Fall of 2003 on Michelle Tran’s driveway in Dallas, Texas, the vision was not put out in the world until August 10, 2015.  On that day… my friend and uber talented photographer friend, Melissa Zihlman outed me to her massive following…

And the rest is history… 3 years, over 300 families in 20 states and Ireland, children from newborn to 6 years.  #happysleepers created every day!

Mommas have opened their hearts and invited ME to be a part of their journey.  To be a member of their village. To support them in creating new sleep routines for their families.  They have trusted me to guide them, share my expertise in how to look at things from different perspectives, how to interpret challenges and move past them, how consistency really is how their little one learns, and how their goals matter.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you and your family.  The journey has been beyond anything I thought it could become.  I am no longer afraid to dream big.   I am so excited about the future of Sleep Happy.

I want mothers to know that they do not have to live with the feeling of being overwhelmed, sleep deprivation, and frustrations that they have been living with.  I can provide the knowledge and tools to equip you with the ability to create the boundaries for sleep that you want for your family!

The Secrets to Happy Back to School Routines

Summer can be the time to loosen up the reins on schedules.  It stays light later at night, school is out of session for most, and everything is just more relaxed, right?

While many thrive on the lazy days of summer, other moms crave the confidence and predictability a routine provides.  So with school schedules fast approaching, let’s answer your questions about how to get back on track and set your child up for success with back to school!

The first step is the determine how much sleep your child needs.  Below are the recommended sleep hours from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. 

Parents are often surprised by the amount of sleep a child actually needs.  Think about the AASM recommendations and reflect on your child’s ability to get up and get going for the day.

As the start of school approaches, consider adjusting both bedtime and wakeup times.  The secret is to start WAKING your child earlier in the morning.  7am or 7:30am is a good time to start with depending on how much time your child needs to get ready and what time school starts.  You can continue to push it back as you get closer to the first day.

As you start the earlier wake times, you can gradually adjust your child’s bedtime.  Once you have started the day earlier, your child should naturally be ready for an earlier bedtime.  For example, if the summer bedtime is 9pm, start by backing it up to 8:30pm the first day of early wake times.

The second secret is to make it FUN!  We happen to start the first day of early wake ups with DONUTS!  We always plan a Sleep Happy Wake Up Party with neighbors to make it something the children can look forward too.  That way the children up and out the door in the sunlight, running and playing with friends.  And who doesn’t love donuts!

Take this idea and make it your own.  Maybe you meet friends early at the donut store instead of planning a party in your driveway or maybe you and a mom friend take the kids out for breakfast.  As long as you are waking them up earlier than usual, requiring them to get dressed and including an element of fun, you are helping them get back in the swing of school routines.

Early wake up days are also a great time to practice independent dressing, teaching your child how to walk to school, or bus riding proceedures.

Getting outside in the sun early in the morning helps to naturally set body clocks.  Make notes on sleepy cues and how long it takes your child to fall asleep, as well as the mood when you wake them at 7am the next morning.  Children are creatures of habit.  Implementing this technique consistently for a week will help your child adjust to the new schedule.

Don’t know the right bedtime for your child?  Here is a great resource for determining bedtimes based on the time your child needs to be up in the morning:

 

This chart takes into account the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommended night sleep totals per age.  It quickly gives you the facts on a research based bedtime to consider to set your child up for school day success!  These bedtimes are a great place to start.  Give it 3-5 days of consistently working to implement these times and gather data about your individual child’s needs.  Then you can make adjustments.

A natural indicator for whether your child gets enough sleep is how they wake up at the designated time to prepare for the school bus or day care.  If your child wakes up refreshed and able to tackle the day, then they are typically getting enough sleep for their body.  If you struggle to wake them and keep them awake or experience frequent tantrums or resistance to moving through morning routines, this is an indicator that your child may need more sleep.

For families experiencing resistance with the morning routine, consider an earlier bedtime. Try setting morning routine expectations the day before during playtime, and create a visual sleep chart for your child.

By helping your child get the sleep they need you will set them up for success at school and make your time together after work more enjoyable.

As parents we want our children to have the restorative full night’s sleep they need to be focused and energized for the entire school day.

Be sure to share this with other friends who are stressed about getting back in the routine.  And hop over to our Facebook page to share your successes and struggles so that we can support each other as we all get back to our sleep happy routines!

Finding this information to be just what you were looking for, but struggling to put the pieces together specifically for your family?  I can help!  Click here to schedule a Free 15 Minute Phone Consultation to discuss what sleep looks like at your house and what kind of support you are looking for so that we can make your sleep dreams come true!

Sleep Happy Newborn Class July 18th

Are you a new or expectant mom in the Dallas-Fort Worth area?

Have you started reading the books and information about sleep but don’t know where to start?

Join us for an introductory workshop on newborn sleep.  This class will cover a respectful and individualized approach to newborn sleep based on reading your baby’s cues with practical ways to begin laying the foundation for healthy sleep.

Become equipped with practicable tools to use with your child.  This class teaches you how to take all the overwhelming messages parents are bombarded with today and shows you how to tailor the right approach for your unique baby and parenting style.

Come build your confidence in a positive and encouraging environment!

Click here to email Small Pockets Tea Room today and reserve your spot.

Class Details:

This class is held at Small Pockets Tea Room in Dallas, TX

Feel free to bring your newborn

Class is approximately 1 hour in length

Recommended to arrive 30 minutes early to enjoy your lunch

Handouts are included

Short Q&A session after class

Class was created for expectant mothers in their last trimester and mothers with newborns up to 12 weeks.

Class Topics:

How to maintaining your confidence

How to reading your baby’s cues

How much sleep your newborn really needs

How to keep nights and days straight

How to begin to build the foundations of healthy sleep

 

How to Adjust Your Calming Routine

In the newborn stage, babies need adults to provide that sensory input {aka recreating the motion they became accustomed to in the womb}.

If you have been unsuccessful at calming your newborn, change up your approach. Test out different speeds of swinging, having baby’s head tucked in close or sitting out a little on your elbow to feel the motion more, barely patting or giving a full pat while swinging, shushing softly or really loudly. Turn up your intensity and make notes on how your baby responds.

Are you still not seeing the cues that mean your calming routine is working?

Could baby’s diaper be wet?

Does your baby need to suck for calming?  Offer finger or pacifier to the routine.

Is your baby overtired?

When infants are overtired, hormones are released that make it harder to calm their systems for sleep.  In the real world, you are going to miss a wake time windows some times.. so don’t stress.

In my practice, I empower parents to learn from these experiences and note how their child is different when they are overtired.  Know what to expect and have a plan for those times when baby gets overstimulated.

If your baby is overtired, and you are testing the swinging, shushing, patting, sucking, cradling method then I recommend turning up the intensity even more for several minutes to see if this method helps your overtired baby relax and prepare for sleep.  Swing faster than you would if your baby was not overtired.

You will know your baby is calming when see their eyes get heavy and you also might feel a deep body sigh.

Congrats!  It’s working.  Take notes…awake time, technique, etc. so that you can repeat this successful non-feeding calming routine again.

Is your baby is continuing to fight the calming routine?
  • For babies birth to 3 months this typically means they need more intense sensory input to get past the over stimulation.
  • For older infants 4-7 months fighting and squirming usually means “I am overstimulated. I can’t take any more sensory input. Please put me down in the crib for me to try to calm myself or take me out for a reset.”  In other words, the patting, shushing, swinging, etc. is causing their system to be in overload.  Removing all stimulus and allowing them to lay in their crib to try to calm or on a mat on the floor in the living room without any visual stimulation usually helps them calm down in a few minutes.

Make notes of what works and doesn’t work for YOUR overtired baby.

Have you tried these tips and found they did not work?  Then you may benefit from more specific recommendations based on your baby’s unique needs.  Schedule a free 15 minute phone consultation to see if Sleep Happy services is a good fit for your needs by the services page.

Introducing the Sleep Happy Monthly Club Membership

Introducing the Sleep Happy Monthly Club Membership!

Children’s sleep needs change as they grow and move through different developmental phases. That is why we created the Sleep Happy Club for former clients. Membership in the club includes ongoing sleep consultant follow-up and support. Members receive monthly age appropriate sleep updates, covering changes to watch for and explaining developmental milestones.

Our goal is to equip you with the knowledge and support to smoothly transition through the different developmental phases while maintaining the healthy sleep habits you have already created.

If you would like to have your sleep expert on call each month, visit services page for more information or send me an email today!

Solve Your Naptime Struggles with the Quiet Box Method

Introducing the Quiet Box…

The Quiet Box is a great tool to reintroduce or reinforce nap time or quiet time.

The Quiet Box is a shoebox or plastic box filled with a few quiet toys that is introduced with enthusiasm to a child at nap or quiet time.   I always recommend to have established Sleep Rules or Sleep Expectations in place prior to using the Quiet Box Method.  Once nap or quiet time expectations in your home are set, the Quiet Box can be introduced.  It should  only be used when little ones are laying down AND calm.  The privilege of the Quiet Box can be lost if your child protests loudly or is bouncing around the room instead of resting.  Build up the excitement for the Quiet Box.  Let the child know that after nap, the Quiet Box gets put away.  But staying calm and resting during “quiet time” means you earned the Quiet Box again tomorrow.

 

Do you have to go out and buy a bunch of things in order to use the Quiet Box Method?

No way! Use what your have around the house.  Find some toys that are at the bottom of the toy box or the back of the closet.  You do want the box to be somewhat novel, so you can always pick up some new books at the library.  My favorite quiet toys include books, manipulatives, puzzles, little people or characters, toys, soft stuffed animals, a few duplos or blocks, dolls that have fine motor opportunities like buttons, zippers, and snaps on them, stacking cups or a practice board to name a few.

My suggestion is to pick 3 different toy options to start with.  For example, 2 small books, 3 little people, and a few duplos.  You can always add more, but the idea behind the method is to entice your child to go calmly in their room to “rest” and have independent developmental playtime.   Depending on the age of your child, you would like them to eventually go to sleep, so keep your box simple and not overwhelming.  After the first day, you can always alter the box if you feel your child needs more or less.

Make sure you put the box away, out of reach when nap is over.

I will be sharing unique finds to add to your Quiet Box over time, so be sure to follow Sleep Happy on Instagram and Facebook!

And one more nap tip … if at first the Quiet Box does not work, reevaluate how stimulating your child’s room is.  Simplifying your child’s room can help create a more calming environment.  It may seem drastic, but it can be a great way to help reset nap or quiet time.  Here are pictures from one Sleep Happy Mom of two who made changes to reset the boundary for nap for her 2 year old daughter.  Her daughter was spending her entire nap time pulling out clothes from the dresser, changing clothes multiple times and even taking offer her diaper during her two hour nap time.  Once Mom introduced the quiet box and simplified her room, her daughter was engaged with her box and then would pack it away before laying down to take her regular 1.5-2 hour nap.

 

Many thanks to my darling models,  age two and a half,  for allowing me to borrow their toys and modeling how to use the Quiet Box Method for our Sleep Happy readers!

Have additional questions on how to reset Quiet Time for your little one?  Give me a call at 214-856-0341 or shoot me an email at Jessica@SleepHappyConsulting.com.

 

Sleep Happy Gives Back: Supporting Babies Need Boxes

Ever since I founded Sleep Happy in 2015, I have had a desire to give back to parents of little ones. That is why I am so excited about our month of supporting the non-profit organization, Babies Need Boxes, this April. Babies Need Boxes distributes baby boxes filled with essential childcare products. The boxes themselves are safe sleep spaces for infants up to 6 months.

Throughout the month of April, 20% of all Sleep Happy sales will be donated to Babies Need Boxes. That means that each phone consultation scheduled, Sleep Happy Club Membership dues paid, 10-day consultations package booked, or Pillow Bar purchase made through Sleep Happy in April, will benefit this wonderful organization.

The idea of babies sleeping in cardboard boxes actually has a long-standing tradition in Finland. For over 80 years, Finland has handed out boxes for safe sleeping filled with newborn essentials to all new parents. The founder of Babies Need Boxes, Danielle Selassi from Minnesota, was inspired to create the non-profit organization after hearing about Finland’s cardboard box program. Danielle’s goal was similar: to provide safe sleep solutions and newborn essentials to all families, regardless of socioeconomic status.

Supporting a child’s start to life with education, support, and safety are core values for us here at Sleep Happy Consulting.  Equipping parents with safe sleep options and education from the very start of their parenting journey creates confidence in parents.  I am so excited to have found this movement and to be supporting Danielle’s mission this year.   The goals of her nonprofit aligns with the Sleep Happy mission:

To be a source of knowledge and empowerment for parents; equipping them with the confidence and tools to teach their children to become happy sleepers.

After earning my BS in Child Development & Family Relationships, my first job out of college was with Early Childhood Intervention. Early Childhood Intervention focuses on serving the birth to 3 population with developmental delays & their families in the home. My work as a case manager, sitting on floors with parents & little ones, is where my heart grew for educating & empowering families. Supporting Babies Needs Boxes is a great way to get real solutions to support parents into the homes.

Are you ready to have all your sleep goals achieved while supporting Babies Need Boxes? Then don’t hesitate, contact Jessica today by scheduling a free 15-minute Phone Consultation emailing jessica@sleephappyconsulting.com, or by calling 214-856-0341.