Just A Little Encouragement

Just A Little Encouragement

Helping Children Cope With Loss

Sleep consultant Mahaley Patel offers a plan to help parents navigate an experience that nobody wants to have - but many do.

A few months ago, I had a family reach out to me to help their three-year-old son. His grandmother, who took care of him several days a week, had passed away. He went from consistently sleeping through the night to waking up multiple times at night and refusing his naps.

I've dealt with a vast array of toddler sleep issues, but this one really gave me pause. I wanted to do my job and get this child’s sleep back on track, but I also wanted to be sensitive to the fact that he was trying to understand the fundamental reality that someone he loved was not coming back.

Related Read: The Things We Dread (Jordan's first conversation with her son about death).

Explaining death to a young child is something that no parent wants to go through, but the reality is that many of us will. If you are reading this because you are grieving a loved one, I am so very sorry. I hope these tips help you navigate changes that may occur in your child’s sleep following the loss of a loved one.

DIARY

Witness

When I left my seven-day retreat - seven days with no access to phones or computers, no music, no books, nothing to do but look myself straight in the eye and see what, if anything, I might find - I didn't go home; not right away. Part of the commitment I made when I signed up for the retreat was to spend the two days following my departure somewhere quiet, all by myself. The hope was that I'd be able to use this time to figure out how to take what I'd learned into my *real* life: the earsplittingly loud, endlessly busy one filled with responsibilities and distractions and triggers and proposals that need to be written and homework that needs to be finished and meals that need to be cooked.

So I booked two nights in an Airbnb in a town called Occidental. I'd never been before; never even heard of it. I found it because I did a quick search for inexpensive places to stay in Napa, and picked one that sat next to a little pond, and had a hammock strung up between two apple trees that I thought looked like a place I might like to nap.

I expected to feel frantic during those first couple of days on the "outside," as it were - panicked by the number of emails I'd missed; desperate to find out what had happened to everything from my kids to the news cycle while I'd been gone. But on the morning of my last day at the retreat I was handed back my phone...and I didn't want it, to the point where I felt full-on physical revulsion.

Anxiety

Why I Reject Self-Care And Embrace My Crazy (And More Overshares)

On this week's episode of Here To Thrive with Kate Snowise, we cover oh, so many (heretofore unexplored, at least by me) subjects - including the relationship between alcohol and working-mom anxiety, the fairly enormous differences between dating in your 20s and dating in your 30s, and the horror show that is "aggressive self-care" (spoiler: you probably do it, too).

Listen here.

DIARY

Just, Yes

Tarrytown, New York, with Dad on Friday

Something has been in the air these past few days, and I've been having one beautiful little experience after the other. So I thought I'd tell you about them.

It started on my flight to New York, where I currently am for my high school reunion (more on that in a mo'). The woman in front of me was traveling with her kids, and one of them - the baby - started fussing, and immediately the woman next to her said, "Oh, let me hold him," and then just...helped her. The whole way to JFK. I passed stray toys that I found at the bottom of my backpack to the older one through the crack in the seat, and the flight attendant brought extra snacks and helped fill bottles, and there we were: A miniature village of women at 36,000 feet.


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