How to use a star chart for bedtime resistance

What is bed time resistance in the pre-school child?

How to use a start chart to decrease bedtime resistance

How do you know when you need a sleep consultant?

Working as a sleep consultant for the last 4 years I have come to understand that there are 3 types of families that come to me.

1. The obvious mombie- the so dog tired, stressed, anxious, tried everything in the book, read everything on the net, asked every opinion from FB, confused and must help me yesterday mum. I place her in the “urgent” box, cause I have been here. The family relationship is pulled tight. Work is being impacted, and mental health is fragile. Sleep success can take 4-6 weeks. 

2. The wait it out for this shall pass mumma.  True developmental sleep regressions do pass, but not 3 years down the tract.  These mummas tend to turn into no 1 mombies. Sleep success can take 2-4 weeks

3. The I can see it mumma.  These are my proactive clients, who want the information and education and support early.  This type of mumma has the time, energy and consistency and patience to focus and take information on board calmly. Then implement my sleep guide successfully.  Sleep success can take 3-7 days. 

Some times as parent’s our expectations are actually to blame for our baby’s sleep problems. Yes. they. are. All babies are different and sometimes you just have to adjust your expectations. I help client’s find this and then reset.

Often once you adjust your expectations and understand your bubs development sleep seems a little less complicated and much more peaceful nights arrive.

I had a moto for those 2am feeds  “there is no where else to be other than with my babies right now”.  That got me through till the next feed 2 hours later :-).

For the first 12 weeks of our twins life, I was existing on 4 hours sleep solid.  I knew/ expected that I would be sleep deprived, but never to that extent for months on end. I barely saw my toddler, and my husband and I were just floating somewhere room to room- and we went for help.  No way could I figure all this out on our own.

We made a plan that suited us, our baby’s and our parenting style. 10 days later we were in a much happier space, all 5 of us.

So please don’t wait, even for a simple question. Contact or phone for your free 15 minute phone chat.

How do you know you need a sleep consultant (1)

What is a Sleep Association?

What are sleep associations?

Sleep associations are the routines, habits and patterns or objects that we connect with feeling sleepy, and to help us transition off to sleep feeling safe and secure.

We might watch TV, listen to soothing music, read a book, have a calming tea, and the object we use most obviously a pillow!  These are the types of things you associate with going to sleep each night. Can you go to sleep without your pillow, or what happens when you wake up and your pillow is missing or on the floor? You would have an issue going back to sleep.

Sleep associations can be extremely powerful. Meet the Beanie Boos- small fluffy, big eyed stuffed critters that rule our bedtime like a fluro stuffed show! Each have a name, a date of birth, and must all be present and accounted for each. every.night.


Sleep associations help us drift off to sleep. They also help us go back to sleep when we wake during the night.

You can create and use cues to help your baby understand that it is time to go to sleep and to help your baby feel comfortable doing so. Sleep associations for babies, might be white noise, a darkened room, putting them in a swaddle, a comforter, a dummy, cuddling, rocking and feeding be it breast or bottle to sleep.

Positive or negative sleep associations-I like to talk about sustainable sleep associations.

I have had clients use hairdryers, tumble dryers, over head stove, exhaust fans, vacuum cleaners, bouncing on balls for hours at a time, 24/7 rocking in a pram then transferring into bed, and the old car ride. In fact you probably have listeners now out driving their kids to sleep.

Often these associations don’t become a problem, unless it becomes a problem and sleep deprivation, time and emotions are affecting your functioning of health, relationships, work and daily life- or your hair dryer blows up. Sleep fragmentation that makes you exhausted and makes your baby cranky.

The problem with sleep associations lies in the fact that your baby needs you to recreate the environment in which they fell asleep. You become their “hair dryer” and when they wake up between sleep cycles sleep its gone and they don’t know how to go back to sleep. So, they will call out for us to help them go back to sleep.

Which is fine whilst it is sustainable for you.







The main key is to set up  sleep associations that will  allow your child to go to sleep the same way each nap time, night time, and wake ups through the night, and when you wish to change a associations you need to consider the depth of attachment your child has to each one.

The ideal time to remove a sleep association say like a dummy is before 4-5 months. This is before the developmental stage “object permanence” kicks in.

For a child older than 6 months,   I suggest to not abruptly remove something that brings your child comfort and expect her to be okay with it.  Often though with a dummy cold turkey is the only way if you are having a repeat plugging issue for hours through the night.

I work with clients to find a way to gently support your child through that transition. This does require patience, and thus you need to be able to see it through and not buckle after 10 minutes. You need to be able to “top up” on all the other associations your child finds soothing.

For further information or help please email

How to calm your baby quickly

Heard of the 5 s’s by Dr Harvey Karp?

Groovy Babies explains the technique via video  and how they turn on your newborn’s calming reflex.

My baby hates his cot


Its a common question I get asked weekly.  

” my baby hates his cot” or “every time I put my baby in his cot he screams” or “why does my baby hate his cot”.

I call it cot acclimation or the process of getting a baby to become familiar with his sleep surface again.

Why does it happen? A couple of reasons-

– a baby is not familiar with the cot as a sleep surface.

– a baby feels “lost” in a larger environment.

– you are moving a baby from one room to another including the cot as a new sleep surface.

-you have been away on holidays and your child has formed a new habit when it comes to going to sleep.

– you have instigated a sleep behavioral method that may not have suited your child’s personality.

So how do I achieve it with my clients?The author, with closed eyes, and cheering baby in cot

We introduce a  baby to the cot in a relaxing, fun, non-threatening way at non-sleep times. This will allow your baby to become acclimated to being in cot with you there so no fears are left behind and your baby does not fear being left alone.

As the parent what are your emotions and behavior in regards to your baby going into the cot? Do you feel anxious, stressed, or like you are “rescuing” your child from the cot each time you put him down?

Our feelings and behavior do influence any given situation when it comes to our bubs.

Has you bub been in any recent separation situations? For example travel, daycare or illness.

What do you as the parent really think your child is expressing? Often parent’s get that their baby is reluctant to fall asleep, but often it is deeper than this. Is the behavior only around bedtime or is it showing up in other areas of the day?

Is it better or worse with you or someone else putting your bub to bed?


Three top tips for cot acclimation:

1. Plenty of play time during the day, in the room, in the cot, with toys, singing songs. Happy, Happy fun times.

2. Play Peek a Boo or a game of hide and seek for the older toddler.

3. Check the environment your baby is coming from to your new environment. Rarely does a child “HATE” anything, rather that the new environment is not familiar.

Work on these emotional well being tips for happy transitioning.

For further help or questions email


Babies and Sleep Regressions

What are baby sleep regressions?

How can I help my baby with sleep regressions?

Tips for baby sleep regressions?

Watch now with Groovy Babies expert sleep advice 🙂


For further information or help with your child’s sleep email

Separation Anxiety and Sleep


What is Separation Anxiety?

The development of separation anxiety demonstrates that your baby has formed a healthy, loving attachment to you. It is a sign that your baby associates pleasure, comfort and security with your presence.

It also indicates that your baby is developing intellectually (in other words, he/ she’s smart!).

Baby has learned that she can have an effect on her world when she makes her needs known and she doesn’t have to passively accept a situation that makes her uncomfortable.

Separation anxiety  is a normal emotional stage of development that starts when babies begin to understand that things and people exist even when they are not present Or “object permanence”.

This can occur from as early as 6 months and can peak between 12-18 months. Nearly ALL children experience separation anxiety.

In a younger baby they don’t know enough about the world yet to understand that when you leave her you’ll always come back.

How do I know if my baby has separation anxiety? bedtime-toddler

Separation anxiety is pretty easy to spot. The following are behaviors typically demonstrated by a baby with normal separation anxiety:


-Crying when a parent is out of sight.

-Strong preference for only one parent.

-Fear of strangers.

-Waking at night crying for a parent.

-Easily comforted in a parent’s embrace.

Separation Anxiety and Sleep.

If the windows of your baby’s awake time are fine, then separation anxiety CAN  cause  havoc with day time naps and settling routines at night.

– It can arise up at any stage of development and become an obstacle to napping. Remember -the longest separation for your baby or child is during his/her night time sleep. 

-All of a sudden your perfect sleeper will require extra help to go to sleep, or start needing you in the middle of the night for reassurance.

-Your toddler perfects the art of stalling at bedtime.

-It can be frustrating, tired and exhausting stage to go through.

Hints for dealing with Separation Anxiety:

– Maintain a consistent pre nap and bed time routine, continue with the music louder/white noise/ use your baby’s snuggly.

-Reassure your baby when he or she goes down to that you are close by or for now stay close by until he or she is asleep without touch.

-Allow your baby to be a baby. It’s perfectly okay for your baby to be attached to you and for her to desire your constant companionship. It’s evidence that the bond you’ve worked so hard to create is holding. So politely ignore those who tell you otherwise.

-Don’t worry about spoiling her with love, since quite the opposite will happen. The more that you meet her attachment needs during babyhood, the more confident and secure she will grow up to be

-Give your baby lessons in object permanence. As your baby learns that things continue to exist even when she can’t see them, she’ll feel better about letting you out of her sight. Games like peek-a-boo and hide-and-seek will help her understand this phenomenon.

-Practice with quick, safe separations. Throughout the day, create situations of brief separation. When you go into another room, whistle, sing, or talk to your baby so she knows you’re still there, even though she can’t see you.

-Don’t sneak away when you have to leave her. It may seem easier than dealing with a tearful goodbye, but it will just cause her constant worry that you’re going to disappear without warning at any given moment. The result-even more clingyness and diminished trust in your relationship.

-Encourage her relationship with a special toy, if she seems to have one. These are called transitional objects or comforters. They can be a comfort to her when she’s separated from you. Many babies adopt blankets or soft toys  holding them to ease any pain of separation. They become a friend and represents security in the face of change.

As a stage, it will pass. In time, your baby will learn that she can separate from you, that you will return, and that everything will be okay between those two points in time.

Much of this learning is based on trust, which, just as for every human being young or old, takes time to build.


For further help with separation anxiety: email