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Intermittent Reinforcement

What is intermittent reinforcement and how does it affect my child’s sleep?

When we tell our child that something cannot happen but after a few tantrums or your child not giving up, we give in. This is intermittent reinforcement. This tells your child that the outcome is possible, it just takes a certain amount of persistence to get you to allow what he desires.

This is a confusing and conflicting message to send and makes it hard for the child to take you seriously. It happens in all aspects of parenting and we all get tripped up at some stage or other but we sometimes can’t see it so clearly when it comes to sleep.

When we are tired and things are a bit foggy in the crazy hours of the night, we often give in to something that is reinforcing a possible outcome for our child.

The most classic example is when you don’t usually co-sleep and your child sleeps in their own room from bedtime, perhaps needing a few resettling or replacing efforts from you in the night. Then, around 5 a.m, when you are desperate for some sleep, you can’t face it anymore and just let the child come into your bed with you (regardless of whether or not this serves a purpose of getting anyone anymore sleep).

When this happens, it teaches the child that this outcome is possible. He learns that if he persists, perhaps makes enough fuss or is loud enough for long enough, he will get to come into your bed with you.

Now, there is nothing wrong with safely co-sleeping if this is what you want and if this works for your family. However, it needs to either be allowed or not allowed. It can’t be something that is allowed ‘sometimes’. This just confuses the child and means continued disruption as they attempt this outcome at various intervals in the night.

This gives you an outline about what intermittent reinforcement is and how it is perceived by children. Watch this episode for more on this and what you can do to overcome this.

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2 days ago

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3 days ago

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I'll be here LIVE tomorrow at midday (GMT London) to answer your questions about the 2-1 nap transition!! ... See MoreSee Less

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4 days ago

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What a difference ONE COACHING CALL makes!!
Mum, Michelle says.."I felt so desperate when we spoke and when you’re in that moment, it’s so hard to see a light at the end of a tunnel. Just goes to show a few small changes and consistency goes a long way!"

Lois (age 2) was waking super early every morning and struggling to nap at nursery. The family were exhausted.

We put a plan in place and this is what Michelle said..."Lois woke up at 06:40 today! I’ve gradually increased the wake-up time on her clock to 06:30, but today she woke up a good 10mins after it! I can’t believe the difference since our call 2wks ago".

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4 days ago

The Sleep Nanny

Is your little one resisting a second nap during the day?

If they are somewhere between 13 and 17 months then it is likely that they may be ready to transition from 2 naps to just the one.

This can be complicated and it can be on and off for a number of weeks so you need to be prepared.

Check out this weeks YouTube video where I answer the following questions;
- When is your little one ready to transition from 2 nap to 1?
- What are the signs?
- How do you navigate this when they don’t sleep at the ideal times?
- And how long will this transition take?

Drop me a thumbs up in the comments below if you think your little one is ready to drop down to one nap.
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2 days ago

The Sleep Nanny

Q&A on the 2-1 Nap Transition ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

2 days ago

The Sleep Nanny

Are you facing the 2-1 nap transition right now? How old is your child in this transition? Comment below & tell us how it's going ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

3 days ago

The Sleep Nanny

I'll be here LIVE tomorrow at midday (GMT London) to answer your questions about the 2-1 nap transition!! ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

4 days ago

The Sleep Nanny

What a difference ONE COACHING CALL makes!!
Mum, Michelle says.."I felt so desperate when we spoke and when you’re in that moment, it’s so hard to see a light at the end of a tunnel. Just goes to show a few small changes and consistency goes a long way!"

Lois (age 2) was waking super early every morning and struggling to nap at nursery. The family were exhausted.

We put a plan in place and this is what Michelle said..."Lois woke up at 06:40 today! I’ve gradually increased the wake-up time on her clock to 06:30, but today she woke up a good 10mins after it! I can’t believe the difference since our call 2wks ago".

You and your family could be sleeping better too. Drop us a message today to find out how we can help you solve your sleep challenges.
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

4 days ago

The Sleep Nanny

Is your little one resisting a second nap during the day?

If they are somewhere between 13 and 17 months then it is likely that they may be ready to transition from 2 naps to just the one.

This can be complicated and it can be on and off for a number of weeks so you need to be prepared.

Check out this weeks YouTube video where I answer the following questions;
- When is your little one ready to transition from 2 nap to 1?
- What are the signs?
- How do you navigate this when they don’t sleep at the ideal times?
- And how long will this transition take?

Drop me a thumbs up in the comments below if you think your little one is ready to drop down to one nap.
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook
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