Why each child develops at their own pace 

Sarah Beeson MBE health visitor and author explained why four mums Little Ones’ developed at a different paces. Answering questions on weight gain, walking, talking and why twins and premature babies may develop at different speeds for Gurgle Magazine.

Walking

‘Most children start walking somewhere between ten and 22 months. And taller babies  may take  longer than those with shorter legs. Tummy time and floor play really help – and try to resist the urge to hold a pre-walking baby’s hands; cruising around the furniture and pulling themselves up to standing is vital exercise for strengthening all the important muscles needed for walking.’

Baby’s Weight

‘Some babies are just slower to gain weight than others, and very “long” babies may be slower than shorter ones. But generally, if a baby seems contended – smiling, happy and producing plenty of soiled nappies – there may be no need to worry. ‘ In Chapter One of Sarah’s book Happy Baby, Happy Family she explains the three signs that tell you if you’re baby is getting enough milk – and weight gain is just one. 

Talking

‘It’s expected that premature babies will be slower to reach key milestones, although by about a year they are likely to be catching up. A speech and language therapist can help enormously. These are very important areas of a child’s development, paving the way for all other cognitive skills. Ask your GP to refer you if you have any concerns.’

Twins

‘Any direct comparison between children is unhelpful, but that’s doubly the case with twins. As with language learning in adults, some babies need to have all the components of language learning in place before they will even utter a single word – and it’s common for some children to wait until they’re well past two to do so – whereas others start babbling from a very early age and imitating all the sounds they hear.’

About Sarah Beeson

cropped-sarah-beeson-circle.jpgIf you’ve got a question about your LO check out Ask Sarah or get in touch.

Sarah Beeson is a health visitor and author of Happy Baby, Happy Family. She writes with her daughter Mumpreneur and writer Amy Beeson. Sarah’s memoir of training to be a nurse in 1970s London The New Arrival is a heartwarming true story published by HarperCollins.

 

Making the most of the last days of Summer 

Sarah Beeson was delighted to be asked by Maggie & Rose to share a few tips on creating memories with your children over summer.   

Children thrive on new experiences and summer can be a great time to do something new, revisit those long forgotten favourite activities or just have some relaxing time at home baking cakes and watching movies together.

You can help influence good behaviour in your children by keeping them topped up with fluids and healthy snacks. When you’re out and about a snack bag will save you money, time and the odd tantrum! The more exercise and fresh air they get the more likely they’ll burn off that excess energy and sleep better.

If the elements are against you it would be good to have some crafty activities up your sleeve but don’t feel like you have to be Mary Poppins. London is an amazing city with so much to offer children but not every day has to be a big adventure. Whatever you do, be part of it- you’ll benefit just as much as the children from a break and a change of scene.

Having a conversation early each evening about what’s in store for the following day is a good opportunity to set expectations and give everyone a say in what’s happening. Having a rhythm rather than a strict routine for the week may help. You don’t have to give them carte blanche on activity choices- present them with a few options and let them have a little bit of responsibility on the decision making.

Being positive and looking forward to spending time together is more likely to mean you’ll be in the right frame of mind to enjoy it. A few treats are always welcome but it is your love, attention and listening to your child that will make the biggest difference of all. Enjoy your summer!

 Enjoy Sarah’s article and the rest of the Maggie & Rose Summer magazine.

Sarah’s baby advice book ‘Happy Baby, Happy Family‘ is a perfect read for new parents.

About sarah

If you’ve got a question about your LO check out Ask Sarah or get in touch.

Sarah Beeson is a health visitor and author of Happy Baby, Happy Family. She writes with her daughter Mumpreneur and writer Amy Beeson. Sarah’s memoir of training to be a nurse in 1970s London The New Arrival is a heartwarming true story published by HarperCollins.

Is your child ready to start primary school in September?

It’s finally come – School Admissions Day. That long-awaited letter or email that informs parents which primary school their child is going to.

It can be a day of sweet relief or fraught with anxiety, but when your Not-So-Little-One starts Reception class, you’ll want them to be practically and emotionally prepared so they can enjoy going to school and get off to a flying start.

In my book Happy Baby, Happy Family I explain that children have five emotional needs as part of their learning and development. They are; Love, Security, Praise & Recognition, New Experiences and Responsibility & Discipline. The way you approach helping your child get ready to start school can also help their emotional development as well as practical.

Be Positive and show how much you love them

You want your child to have a good experience and feel positive about starting school but it can be a time of mixed emotions for you as your baby goes to big school. Be positive and upbeat when you talk about them starting school; chat about the new things they’ll get to do – there’s a whole new world of things to discover and do at big school.

Tell them how much you love them and that you’ll miss them; they are still your baby – just keep it light and reassuring. Many children have moments when they want to regress and play at being a baby. Let them; treat it as imaginary play and join in with plenty of goo-goo-ga-gas. This is very common if there is a new baby in the family – older children often want to sit in their bouncy chair, buggy or car seat.

Emotionally for you and your LO  it can be a bit daunting handing over responsibility of your child’s care and education to school. For children who are already at nursery or pre-school the routines of school life are sometimes more familiar and they often flow into the infants class without many worries. For children who have been mainly at home with you, the opportunity of starting school can be terribly exciting. They have built a secure attachment to you and know you’ll be there for them when they need you.

It’s a whole new chapter in your child’s life and a big change for you as well; feeling apprehensive and a bit regretful and emotional is natural but they will always be your baby – they really will!

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Small steps towards greater independence

September might seem ages off, but now is the time to start gradually helping your child to be more self-sufficient so they feel secure about starting school. Don’t worry about whether they know their ABCs and Numbers. Instead start practising good toilet etiquette and hygiene, buttoning up their coat and putting their shoes on.

Go at their own pace; they’ve got months to master simple self-care so they’ll be confidence about playtime and going to the toilet on their own once they start big school.

I remember when my own daughter, Amy started reception class. Her teacher scolded a mother who was understandably fussing over her child’s coat after the school bell had rung. ‘Do you think I’ve got time to button and unbutton 30 coats every break time?’ The teacher said, and I did see her point.

Sewing in their name tags and ensuring they can recognise their own labelled belongings will be an important skill from the very first day. They’ll know what’s theirs and what’s not.  A shopping trip for their new school things and giving them some choice, where you can, on their accessories will help them feel more secure and excited about starting school.

Praise your child when they learn a new skill

Praising and recognising their progress is very important but don’t be tempted to go over the top. They are developing the skills required for daily life and treats or excessive praise is not needed – you don’t want it to be a song and dance every time they put their own coat on. A smile, a kind word or a gentle touch is just right for encouraging and supporting your child.

Gradually increase the opportunities your child has to:

  • Get dressed and undressed on their own
  • Take their coat on and off and hang it up
  • Go to the toilet on their own and wash their hands
  • Put on their shoes and socks
  • Find their tissue and blow their nose
  • Pack up and take out their pencil case and books from school bag

Your child can rehearse these practical skills in small ways everyday, as you get ready to leave the house and come home again, without even realising they are gearing up for school life. Try not to have expectations, or show frustration. Give them two choices by saying, ‘Do you want to put your coat on or shall I do it?’ Use a casual tone like you don’t care either way.

Playing schools gives them a fun new experience

Many schools do taster sessions prior to starting full-time but there may be a big gap before they start school over the summer break. You can all have fun playing schools and being their teacher allowing them to practise their skills through imaginary play so they can become familiar with the shape of school routines before their taster sessions and over the summer holidays.

It’s a good opportunity for them to develop good listening, following instructions and learning to sit still – you might notice they seem to listen to their Teacher a little more than mummy or daddy! You could even swap roles and let them practice being the teacher and you the pupil.

Reading every day is the best thing you can do

The golden rule for all parents is to read to your child every day. This is so important and often starts from your child’s earliest days, through pre-school and into school until they don’t need you to read to them anymore. It is the most useful way to get your child ready for school as there are countless benefits, and just listening and keeping still to hear the story as well as awakening  their imagination is crucial to all learning. They’ll naturally pick up literary and numeracy skills through reading – no pushing is needed, just go to their own pace.

Responsibility and nice manners

Being in charge and taking care of their school bag and contents as well as clothing is an important lesson. Give them responsibility for packing the reader book that goes home daily and back to school with your child. You can practice this in your role play so they know exactly what to do when they are given this task at school.

The best way to teach your child to say please and thank you and to treat others with respect is to lead by example. When you talk to them, to your family, friends and people in shops or restaurants having nice manners yourself is the best way to get your child effortlessly copying your behaviour. Resist the urge to correct or tell them off too much, as it makes politeness into a chastisement, rather than a natural part of their behaviour.

First day at school

Your Little One’s first day at school is a big deal to you but play it cool Mama’s and Papa’s. They’ve had a really huge day filled with new experiences but they are more likely to need to crash out in front of kids TV than thrill you with their tales of school. Raconteur’s they ain’t!

So, let’s show them we missed them, get them rehydrated, nourished and chilled to avoid the post-school melt down with Sarah Beeson’s top three tips for meeting your child at the school gates.

First Day of School - CopyParents often have their own strong emotions to cope with on school admissions day.  If you haven’t got the school place you wanted I know it can hugely disappointing. But the greatest lessons your child will have will be from you, their parents. I hope this new adventure can be shared by all your family and you enjoy this new chapter. Give yourself credit for the amazing job you have already done and continue to do and all will be well.

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Got a parenting question for Sarah?

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If you’ve got a parenting questions just #AskSarah.

Sarah Beeson MBE is a health visitor and author with over four decades of experiences working with thousands of families. Her memoir The New Arrival and parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Baby are published by HarperCollins.

How to have a happy half-term for the whole family by Sarah Beeson MBE

Ask Sarah Circle and textI was asked by Tesco Living on whether it was important to main strict routines during half-term? My answer was, there is no answer to that. Personally, I think it’s nice to relax and have a break from the norm, but not everyone has the option. Many of us have to work during school holidays (I remember those days when my daughter Amy was little and the challenge of finding affordable but quality childcare was a nightmare). But just in case you were wondering whether you need to be strict Mum and Dad or fun Mum and Dad – do what make your family happy; it’s your holiday after all.

Do I need to maintain routines during half-term?

Just when you thought everything had fallen into place half-term comes along and disrupts your perfected weekday routine. You know what old saying, ‘A change is as good as a rest,’ well the same change can be said for this week-long break – there may not be a lot of restorative time but take up the opportunity to have fun and some quality time with your children when you can.

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New Experiences

Children thrive on new experiences and it can be a great time to do something new, revisit those long forgotten pre-school favourite activities or just have some relaxing home time baking cakes and watching movies together. Just because they are on holiday doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy helping to make the dinner or preparing and shopping for a day out – it’s how you do it, not what you do that counts.

If the elements are against you it would be good if you’ve got some crafty activities up your sleeve but don’t feel like you have to be Mary Poppins. A little bit of research can pay dividends – there are often free events on at local libraries, theatres and shopping centres that you can sign up to.

Whether the holidays bring snow or sunshine then blow the cobwebs away with a trip to the playground, a kick about or a long walk. Whatever you do, be part of it – you’ll benefit just as much as the children from a break a change of scene. Also more exercise and fresh air they get the more likely they’ll burn off that excess energy and sleep better and earlier.

Little Ones will be up with the Dawn as usual! But older children may like a bit more shut-eye. The scent of a nice breakfast cooking is more likely to get adolescents out of their beds then shouting and nagging. It’s a holiday and you all should have a little time to relax and be a little busy doing nothing. We all benefit from a some down-time after the stimulation of hectic school and work schedules so don’t feel that every hour needs to planned out. You can help influence good behaviour by keeping them topped up with drinks and healthy snacks. The odd treat is fine but sugary foods and drinks like coke or sugar-free squash may make them overactive and grumpy. When you’re out and about a snack bag will save you money, time and the odd tantrum.

Respecting one another’s choices

Five weekdays at home plus two weekends will not doubt disrupt your family’s usual routines but isn’t that what holidays are all about! Whether you’re going to be at home during the day with your family or not, planning ahead and being a little flexible about usual routines is the key for smiles all round.

If you do need to keep to a strict schedule because they may be on holiday but you’ve got to work, talk to them about what’s going to happen. Let them know the reasons why and agree on what you expect from them and what they can look forward to. Give them regular updates in the morning way before it gets to the critical point between being on time and very, very late.

If you are going to at home some of the time or all of the time having a conversation early each evening about what’s in store for the following day is a good opportunity to set expectations and give everyone a say in what’s happening. Having a rhythm rather than a strict routine for the week may help. So they’ll know you’ll be doing activities in the mornings, or every other day and they’ll get the chance to pick at least one thing. You don’t have to give them carte blanche – present them with two choices and let them have a little bit of personal responsibility on the decision-making.

Being positive and looking forward to spending time together is more likely to mean you’ll be in the right frame of mind to enjoy it. A few treats are always welcome but it is your love, attention and listening to your child that will make the biggest difference of all. Don’t worry too much amount maintaining the status quo of bedtimes and mealtimes – as long as their needs are meant and you keep them well hydrated, nourished and they get enough rest it doesn’t really matter if things are a little earlier or later than during the school week.

Half-term, the days are long but it’s only a week. It’ll be over before you know it. Enjoy yourselves.

What do you think? Is your family happier if you stick to the school time routines during a break or do you like to go with the flow? Tweet @NewArrivalBook or leave us a message on our Facebook wall.

And if you’ve got a parenting questions just #AskSarah.

Sarah Beeson MBE is a health visitor and author with over four deacades of experiences working with thousands of families. Her memoir The New Arrival and parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Baby are published by HarperCollins.

How to survive a Christmas shopping trip with kids

Sarah shares her top christmas shopping tips with Tesco Living.

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Christmas shopping with a baby

If you’ve got a newborn or a baby, the secret to Christmas shopping success is in careful planning and timing, says parenting author and former health visitor Sarah Beeson. You’ll want to coincide your shopping trip with when your child is sleeping, “So before you set off give them a really good feed, change their nappy and ensure they’re snuggled up and content,” she advises. “You will most likely only have a two-hour window to do a trolley dash, so make a list and plan exactly how to use this precious time.” If your little one wakes up, she does not recommend persevering. “There is no joy in walking around the shops with a crying baby, so park it if you can and come back another day.”

Christmas shopping with a toddler

If you’ve got a toddler or young children, the key is to avoid rush hour at the shops. “Go off-peak and avoid lunchtime and directly after school, as keeping the kids occupied in long queues is often the most challenging part of shopping,” explains Sarah. Before you leave for the shops, give your kids a drink and a snack, and ensure they’ve been to the toilet.

Make sure you’ve got everything you need with you too: “Have a few old toys that they haven’t seen in a while in your bag as a back-up to entertain them if they get fed up,” Sarah recommends. “Take a small banana and a bottle of water with you; tantrums are often related to dehydration, so a small, healthy snack can really help with good behaviour.” While it may be tempting to give in to your child’s pleas for a treat when you’re out, this is likely to backfire: “Sugary foods and drinks often make children overactive,” explains Sarah.

Turn them into Santa’s Little Helpers

If you will need to do the big Christmas food shop with your children, you can get a bit crafty, says Sarah. “Before you go, cut out pictures from the packet foods you regularly buy and create a list of items your children will be responsible for finding when you’re there,” she suggests. “Let them match the pictures on the shopping list in each aisle while you get on with the rest of the shop. Many places have little trolleys for children, which are great for making it a fun experience for them.” This approach may take a little while longer, but it keeps them occupied and out of your hair, and turns a chore into a learning opportunity. “Praise them when they find the items and you’ll have your very own Santa’s Little Helpers!”

Christmas shopping with older children

Your kids may be at that in-between stage when they’re not quite old enough to leave unsupervised. If you’re taking them along on a shopping trip, it’s still worth making sure they’ve had something to eat and drink and gone to the toilet before you set off. “Avoid bribery or threats to get them to behave,” Sarah advises. “Shopping for Christmas is part of creating a lovely occasion for the whole family, but takes planning and preparation,” she says. “This is a good opportunity to show them that it doesn’t just happen by magic.”

Help your child to feel included in the process by making a list together and letting them choose and make decisions on some of the things to buy. “This gives them some responsibility and shows you respect them,” says Sarah. If they’re busy looking for items and making choices about what to get, they won’t be bored and sulking. “Thank them for helping and give them praise – this shows them the standard of behaviour you expect and leads by example.”

Read the full article on Smart Shopping on Tesco Living

About Sarah Beeson MBE

Over four decades as a nurse and a health visitor Sarah Beeson’s career has been shaped by the needs of children. Since her earliest days on the wards of Hackney Hospital she has stood up for her patients as shown in The New Arrival her heartwarming true story of training to be a nurse in 1970s London.

Her expertise and innovation have been recognised with the MBE from the Queen for services to children and families, and her health prevention work received the Queen’s Nursing Institute Award but she’s happiest listening to mums talking about their baby.

Sarah firmly believes that this generation of parents is the best there has ever been. Her new parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby is the culmination of a life time’s experience watching, listening and being part of thousands of families’ journeys from birth to their Little One’s first birthday and will be published by HarperCollins in Spring 2015.

Sarah second memoir about being a newly qualified health visiting in rural Kent in 1970s She’s Arrived! will be published by HarperCollins in March 2016.

Sarah Beeson talks to Tesco Living on How to kick common childhood habits

Nail biting, thumb sucking…should you be worried? Sarah gives some advice about how to support your child on Tesco Living.

Ask Sarah

Don’t worry too much about some childhood habits

“Babies sometimes develop habits like sucking a dummy or their thumb to soothe themselves,” explains Sarah Beeson, former health visitor and parenting author. “Whether they suck the label of their favourite toy, or they’ve got to have the same blankie in their hands every night when you tuck them up in bed, if it causes them no harm, and isn’t something you’re bothered about, it’s fine to leave it alone,” she says. “Don’t force your child to break a babyish habit because you think you ought to or because of remarks from relatives or friends.”

Dummies

While many parents find dummies helpful to soothe newborns, it is one habit that is good to try and break before they are six months old, recommends Sarah. “Their growing attachment for it will increase and it can become harder to break,” she explains. “Dummies can affect your baby’s teeth: they often push food up into the gums, so once your baby is weaning it becomes even more important for them to give up their dummy to avoid damage.”

Sarah also recommends a positive approach: “The secret is giving your child lots of praise and encouragement. Offer cuddles, playtime and stories as an alternative to the dummy when they reach for it as a distraction. This calls for heaps of patience and perseverance, but every time you get them to accept an alternative is an achievement.” For thumb sucking, Sarah suggests gently taking your child’s thumb out of their mouth, holding their hand and playing Round And Round the Garden. “This way they are getting a positive experience in place of sucking their thumb,” she explains. “Also, you are unlikely to get the response you want from using verbal commands.”

Nail biting and positive encouragement

Nail biting tends to be more common in older children and teens, so requires a slightly different approach. “Talk to your child about what might help them stop biting their nails, and avoid methods such as bitter-tasting substances on the nails as a deterrent, as this can feel like a punishment, and take away from your child’s sense of achievement and responsibility,” Sarah says. She also stresses that if your child does not want to break the habit themselves, they are very unlikely to stop. “If your child feels nagged, then your words, no matter how well intentioned, are likely to fall on deaf ears,” she says. “Having arguments over the habit will just fan the flames.”

As with other habits, it is more helpful to give praise and encouragement when they are doing well than to reprimand or punish them when they don’t succeed. “Give them the majority of the responsibility for curing their habit,” Sarah suggests. “If they are at a loss for ideas about how to stop then you could offer some suggestions, but let your child pick one and stick to it.”

Most children grow out of these habits, either on their own or with help from a parent. The barometer should be whether you are still worried about it after trying the above suggestions. “Interventions rarely work instantly,” Sarah warns. “It’s good for your child to learn that sometimes things take time, and it’s far better to try one approach at a time than many, only to give up in frustration.”

Read the full article on Tesco Living.

About Sarah Beeson MBE

Over four decades as a nurse and a health visitor Sarah Beeson’s career has been shaped by the needs of children. Since her earliest days on the wards of Hackney Hospital she has stood up for her patients as shown in The New Arrival her heartwarming true story of training to be a nurse in 1970s London.

Her expertise and innovation have been recognised with the MBE from the Queen for services to children and families, and her health prevention work received the Queen’s Nursing Institute Award but she’s happiest listening to mums talking about their baby.

Sarah firmly believes that this generation of parents is the best there has ever been. Her new parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby is the culmination of a life time’s experience watching, listening and being part of thousands of families’ journeys from birth to their Little One’s first birthday and will be published by HarperCollins in Spring 2015.

Sarah second memoir about being a newly qualified health visiting in rural Kent in 1970s She’s Arrived! will be published by HarperCollins in March 2016.

#AskSarah Should my 3-4 year old still be having a nap? How can I get them to bed earlier?

This week’s #AskSarah question comes from Rachael @MushroomsMum otherwise known as @ReallyRachaelB who is mum to 3-year-old Mushroom, and a freelance writer, poet and personal coach over at Writing People Poetry. Catch up with her life as working London mum on Mothering Mushroom.

Mushroomsmum large@MushroomsMum Rachael Blair

Rachael’s #AskSarah question is; “Mushroom bedtime is between 7 -8pm but he is rarely asleep before 9/9.30pm, by which time he’s exhausted. I tried cutting out his nap on days he wakes up later but he is just exhausted by 3pm and falls asleep wherever he is and then doesn’t go to bed till 10pm. When it came to sleep ‘training’ I quickly knew that it wasn’t right for us but on naps and whether to reduce them/cut them out I’m not so sure?”

Rachael to nap or not to nap is a very good question. Mums know best about their child’s needs and naps can be tricky. If you’re happy to have a familiar pattern to your day but feel confident to go with the flow – do it. It’s understandable to want to get Little One’s to bed earlier on a weeknight and you can still be a bit more flexible on the weekend if you want to. There are times to be calm but firm and other times when you know they are having an off-day and can let yourself be a tad more indulgent – we all have those days whatever our age!

If you feel he still needs his nap then go with your instinct; it shows how much you are in tune with him that you respect his needs and put him first. Your Little One still has a lot of growing to do and it does sound like he still needs a sleep after lunch and ideally the earlier the better but things will be variable and that’s completely normal.

The afternoon nap

Lunch for this age group usually falls anytime from 11.30am – 1pm followed by a nap between 12.30 – 1.30pm. It’s fine for him to nap for up to two hours but encourage him to wake up by about 3.30pm at the latest if you want to get him to bed by 8pm. Turn back his covers or take off warm clothing so the cool air gets to his skin, or turn on his favourite TV show, chat to him positively as he naturally comes to. Small children often take anywhere between 5 – 20 minutes to come to after their afternoon nap in contrast to the morning where they so often seem to wake up with plenty of bounce.

Don’t beat yourself up if the day doesn’t go your way and it takes you until 2pm to get him off to sleep or he doesn’t nap at all. It might just be that he doesn’t need a nap that day and you may want to put him to bed early. Try to avoid trips out in the car or buggy when you’ve passed the nap window in case he nods off. If he does fall asleep for a very late afternon nap despite your best efforts then he must need it, it does happen every now and then, especially if he’s been unwell or things haven’t been how they normally are.

Influencing an earlier, shorter bedtime

Food, drink, exercise and rituals play a vital role in sleep and general behaviour patterns. What children eat and drink is very tied up with being able to let go and naturally drift off to sleep. Good nutrition and sleep go hand in hand.

In a recent #AskSarah about dropping the last feed I outlined a toddler bedtime routine and toddler diet plan; which would also be suitable for your Little One. So let’s just check off the list some of the things that will help get him to sleep a bit earlier.

1. Diet

Give him three little meals a day plus a healthy morning and afternoon snack and a milky supper before bed and maybe a milky drink with his bedtime story. He should be having about a pint of milk a day (including products like yogurt and cheese as part of his daily intake).

Avoid chocolate, sweets especially coloured ones (though a few white chocolate buttons or an apple cereal bar for an occasional sweet treat is fine). Cut out sugary foods in the late afternoon and evening as the sugar rush can keep them awake. Some children’s behaviour is badly affected by artificial colours. Sweetners in sugar-free and low sugar squashes make them permanently thirsty and feel full even when they have an empty stomach.

2. Exercise

A big factor in nap time and bedtime is exercise. They really do need to run their little legs off, whether it’s a trip to the park, going for a walk, dancing around, running about at nursery or a trip to a museum. Fresh air every day is a recipe for sweet dreams and if you can do an activity in the morning and the afternoon it usually pays dividends.

2. Calm Down

Turn off TV, put away phones, tablets and games at least 1/2 hour before bedtime. Set the scene by turning off bright lights. You can switch on the radio if you want some gentle background noise but nothing too energetic. Children like the security of bedtime rituals and soon pick up cues and patterns, every family has their own way of doing things.

3. Bedtime Rituals

A typical bedtime routine can be…

– TV and devices off (iPhones, iPads etc put away)

– Lights turned down low

– Milky supper

– Bath time

– Into bed with a story

– Nursery rhymes or prayers

– Kisses goodnight

If your child doesn’t want you to leave straight away you could sit in the room for 5 minutes in a dark corner preferably slightly out of sight. Then say you’ll check back in 5 minutes and leave him to drift off.

From supper-time to the last kiss goodnight, try to get your bedtime routine down to an hour or less. Establishing a bit of a ritual for going to bed helps your Little One feel secure and accept that it’s now time to start calming down and go to sleep. When he is relaxed and contented sleep will come more easily.

Final thought

Lots of luck Rachael. Getting your Little One to bed a bit earlier will give you all a bit of relaxation time. There will always be the odd few days when things don’t go according to plan. As he approaches school age he will probably start to drop his nap but for now you’re listening to your child and he will lead the way.

What did you think of this week’s #AskSarah? Did you like it? Yes, then please do share it with your friends and subscribe for updates on mums, babies, books and stories and send us a tweet @NewArrivalBook or join us on Facebook.

If you’ve got a question you’d like to ask then go to the #AskSarah page and drop us a line. Trust yourself and enjoy your baby, you are the expert on your own child.

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Ask Sarah

 

Over four decades as a nurse and a health visitor Sarah Beeson’s career has been shaped by the needs of children. Since her earliest days on the wards of Hackney Hospital she has stood up for her patients as shown in The New Arrival her heartwarming true story of training to be a nurse in 1970s London.

Her expertise and innovation have been recognised with the MBE from the Queen for services to children and families, and her health prevention work received the Queen’s Nursing Institute Award but she’s happiest listening to mums talking about their baby.

Sarah firmly believes that this generation of parents is the best there has ever been. Her new parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby is the culmination of a life time’s experience watching, listening and being part of thousands of families’ journeys from birth to their Little One’s first birthday and will be published by HarperCollins in Spring 2015.

Sarah second memoir about being a newly qualified health visiting in rural Kent in 1970s She’s Arrived! will be published by HarperCollins in March 2016.

First Day at School – 3 top tips for the pick up

Your Little One’s first day at school is a big deal to you but play it cool Mama’s and Papa’s. They’ve had a really huge day filled with new experiences but they are more likely to need to crash out in front of kids TV than thrill you with their tales of school. Raconteur’s they ain’t!

So let’s show them we missed them, get them rehydrated, nourished and chilled to avoid the post-school melt down with Sarah Beeson’s top three tips for meeting your child at the school gates.

First Day of SchoolHow was your LO’s first day at school? What preparation did you do? We’d love to know. Tweet @NewArrivalBook or comment on Facebook.

After four decades as a health visitor Sarah Beeson MBE and her daughter Amy co-wrote The New Arrival, Sarah’s true story of life as a trainee nurse in 1970s London. Their follow up memoir She’s Arrived! and parenting book Happy Baby, Happy Family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby.