Practical advice for sleep, eating and behaviour issues in babies, toddlers and children up to 11 years old.
Dee Booth, Sarah Quick and Liz Ferris are a team of parenting advisors who know that all children are different, so they will help find the solution that is suitable for you and your child.
Jessica Haywards is a maternity nurse who has joined the team to help ease new mothers into life with a little one, ideal following a caesarian, tricky birth or for mums who would like hands on help in the first few weeks.
Being a parent isn’t easy. At some point, almost all families with young children will face a problem that they struggle to sort out themselves, and this is where I can help!
Some people call us parent coaches, others would class us as super nannies, or sleep trainers. If you can’t find the solution for your child’s sleep, eating or behaviour issues in books, on the internet or from your health visitor or friends, or if you simply want advice from an external person with experience and understanding of baby, toddler and children’s sleep, eating and behaviour, we can help you.
“Dee has a warm and engaging, yet no nonsense personality. She’s empathetic and non-judgemental. Her focus is on solving the problem and not blaming the cause!
Dee started working as “The Sleep Fairy” in 2009, having started working with children over 20 years ago. Since then, her methods have been so successful that she has trained and built up a small, select team of highly experienced “Sleep Fairies” to work with her, practising Dee’s tried and tested techniques, so they all have the knowledge and understanding to help you and your child overcome:
- sleeping problems
- self-soothing trouble
- night-time waking
- difficulties settling to sleep
- resettling through the night
- feeding issues and weaning problem
- tantrums and toddler taming
- toilet training
- the terrible twos
- colic or babies that won’t stop crying
- early rising
- ditching the dummy
- sleep, toilet training and eating problems/selective eating in children with ASD (autism)
- Introduction of a floor bed (Montessori style sleeping) – a very gentle approach to sleep training! Ideal for those mums who won’t leave their baby to cry.
If you’re just looking for some general guidance as a parent, to avoid falling into bad habits, or to nip niggles in the bud, a Sleep Fairy session will give you the understanding and confidence you need.
Sarah Quick comes to us with a wealth of knowledge and experience that prove invaluable when helping sleep-deprived and despairing families. You could say she’s “been there, done that, got the t-shirt”!
Liz Ferris is a Great Ormond Street trained paediatric nurse with over 40 years experience working with children as a nurse, nanny and childminder. She has a vast range of knowledge and understanding about children’s physical and emotional needs, as well as passionately wanting to help families in times of need.
Jessica Haywards has joined the Sleep Fairy Parent Rescue Team as a Maternity Nurse having spent most of her adult life caring for children and the elderly and training to further her knowledge in all things baby related. She has trained in breastfeeding support and volunteered at a BF support group, but is able to support new mothers whatever their choice of feeding for their baby. Having worked within family homes for many years, she is discreet and intuitive and knows when she is needed and when to step aside to allow a family their own private quality time together.
All the Sleep Fairies have their own children which we believe is essential, when being in the position of advising other parents about their children and babies. They are empathetic and patient and ensure that they find the path most suited to the families they meet, using their own experience combined with the tried and tested Sleep Fairy and Parent Rescue methods that they have been carefully trained in.
In Sarah’s words:
As a trained and qualified childcare worker and trainer with years of experiences with children and babies, both in the UK and overseas, everyone said “You’ll be a great Mum!!”. I was nervous and excited about having a child, at the tender age of 40 and when Ava was born after 51 hours of contractions, I felt tired and overwhelmed. I remember thinking, “Is this it?”
I believe passionately in a positive and fair approach to parenting, that all children are different yet strangely the same. I have always known that most parents possess the skills and qualities needed to raise happy, health sons and daughters. What I hadn’t legislated for, and many parents don’t, is the power of extreme emotions, sleep deprivation and self questioning that actually being a mother brings!
Like many new (and experienced) parents, I put on a brave face and joked about the challenges of raising a little person. I didn’t admit I was scared and felt totally out of my depth, and eighteen months went by before I went to my doctor and shared my fear that I was battling post natal depression.
I look back on those early days, and if I could go back, I would have sought help so much sooner and not pretended all was okay. My fabulously supportive husband, Ian, was great as were my friends. Another major supporting factor in moving forward was our friend Dee Booth, The Sleep Fairy, who helped us help Ava to self-soothe and settle, to part with her dummies and grow quickly into sleeping 11 hours sleep a night and a toddler who beamed constantly.
Ava is now 7 and dancing, singing and grumping her way through year 2 at school.
I’m delighted to now be working with Dee, and as strange as it might sound, I am glad to have been through those challenging times because I know that they have added to my knowledge and understanding of what others are going through too. I can support others, and help them to find their own way to happy and, yes, fun parenting!
In Liz’s words:
I am thrilled to be part of Dee’s happy little band of Sleep Fairies! I have over 40 years experience of working with children, in a wide variety of areas:
- I was a Registered Sick Children’s Nurse, trained at Great Ormond Street Hospital, although I am retired from nursing now.
- I was a Registered Childminder in Marlow for 30 years & have cared for hundreds of local children during that time!
- I run a ve
ry popular & friendly toddler group every Monday morning.
- I am currently working as a nanny for a delightful little girl & her lovely family.
- I have been involved in children’s work in churches for many, many years, helping to run Sunday Schools, youth work, & our annual extravaganza Marlow Lighthouse!
I have 2 children of my own, my son is 37 this year, my daughter 36. No grandchildren yet, but I am Grannie Liz to 7 adorable great nephews & nieces.
In Jessica’s words:
I feel very lucky to be joining the Sleep Fairies, and would love to offer you my services. My role within the team is to work with families in those first few weeks of having their new baby in their home, to enable mum to be eased into early motherhood and to support her at a time of great change when things can become overwhelming.
I work with families 24 hours a day, allowing mum to rest when she needs to, offering support and guidance whilst establishing breastfeeding, and providing an extra pair of hands around the house and with siblings. I will be on hand when needed and step back when I’m not. I am friendly and down to earth with a positive attitude and have high standards in cleanliness and like to create a safe, loving and secure environment for the babies and children in my care.
I was a hands on mum who breastfed both my children successfully and was involved in every aspect of their lives. During this time I belonged to a breastfeeding clinic in South Africa where we had casual mornings helping mothers who were also keen to breastfeed and talk to other mums about their baby problems. I have been involved in childcare for many years as well as fostering, and working in a paediatrics for two years as a physiotherapy assistant.
Since coming to the UK, I have worked caring for the elderly in their own homes where I am totally responsible for their care 24 hours a day, organising any medical requirements and liaising with their family to keep them updated.
I am now focussing on working with babies and have done the NEST post natal maternity nurse diploma, I have a current enhanced DBS, Level 3 paediatric and adult first aid, sleep training, breastfeeding, postnatal depression qualifications, food hygiene, health and safety, and medicine control certificates and proficiency and am busy with a multiple birth and doula course which I hope to have completed by the end of April.
I am discreet and have a good few years of experience working in different family homes, understanding the importance of family time alone, as well as the importance of helping the older siblings not feel left out when the new baby arrives. I am able to work equally well whether in sole charge, or in the shared care of a baby.
I am always happy to speak with and meet the families I am going to work with prior to engagement.
Knowing that all children are different, we use a variety of techniques to change sleeping habits and behaviour. Depending on the child, as well as the parents’ emotional needs, we use tough or really gentle methods and everything in between. We don’t have a specific method that we use as we don’t believe in the “one size fits all” approach to parenting. Routines are important but some flexibility is good too as it allows for real life to continue. And this is essential for happy parents and happy babies.
We DO NOT use controlled crying or highly regimented routines.
Where possible, we will see you in the comfort of your own home and spend a few hours getting to the bottom of where things are going wrong. We will discuss your views and your approach to parenting and talk about any worries you have about making changes.
“Dee really gets to understand how you feel about being a parent and makes sure your feelings are taken into consideration when making her plans.”
Not only will we look at your child’s needs, we will look at your family’s needs, your current routines and commitments and build a plan based around these. we will leave you with a written plan and go through it with you to ensure you are happy with it and confident you can follow it.
After we leave, you will be able to stay in contact with us for additional complimentary support while you settle into your new routine and plan. If you need further visits and support, this can be arranged – although most issues are resolved in just one session.
Once the plan is put into action, and you start making the suggested changes, your child’s sleep or behaviour will quickly change. Improvements in both are usually quick to take effect as the plan caters for your particular parenting issue and targets your specific problems.
“Because of Dee’s understanding of my situation, I felt confident about doing things I’d been unsure of before and I was amazed at how quickly things started to improve.”
We are all mums too and we understand the emotional difficulties of raising children. We know how sleep deprivation can affect our ability to complete even the most basic tasks, and what an impact it can have on the whole family. We are also aware of how tricky life can be when a toddler has taken control of the home, and how easy it is to get stuck in a cycle of appeasing a child for an easy life – but the path of least resistance is rarely the best path to take.
Sleep Fairy and Parent Rescue Consultations
- In an initial phone call we will establish what difficulties you are having and we will book you a consultation.
- You will be sent diary sheets to fill in with details of your child’s feeding, sleeping and behaviour for us to analyse. You will also receive a brief questionnaire to fill in. Both need to be returned prior to your consultation, if possible.
- During a consultation at your home (or on Skype) we will discuss the diary and the issues you are having, and where they may stem from.
- We will build a plan to help you resolve the areas of difficulty and you will be left with a copy of it to follow after I have left.
- When you start to follow the plan, you will see changes within a few days, often less!
- We stay in touch by phone, email or text, supporting you and offering additional tips if you need them.
Behaviour Coaching Sessions
Where general day-to-day support and advice is needed, we offer a Behaviour Coaching service. This will help you tackle excessive defiance, disobedience, tantrums, toddler taming, tricky eating, lashing out and all manner of undesirable behaviour. These sessions are longer than sleep sessions as we need more time to assess your child’s behaviour, and work through strategies to find which is best for your child, before putting a plan together.
These Coaching sessions can also be particularly helpful when a new baby is expected, or shortly after a baby has been born. It can help to build the baby’s routine around the routines of you and your other children so that the family grows harmoniously. It can also help the older sibling accept life with the new addition to the family.
Behaviour Coaching Sessions are often helpful for families with children with delayed development, learning difficulties, autism, Aspergers, hearing loss and some other special needs.
Maternity Nurse Engagement
Please note: The Sleep Fairy Maternity Nurse will not “sleep train” the babies she works with as they are too young in the first few months. But she will help to establish breastfeeding and a gentle, flexible routine if that is what is wanted.
The Sleep Fairy Maternity Nurse lives in with the families she works with for a minimum of 5 days, usually within the first 3 weeks of the arrival of the new baby, but she can come later if a mum is struggling with her baby of up to 16 weeks old.
She will work flexibly with the mother’s wishes, taking care of baby when mum needs to sleep, providing information and support about feeding, bathing, the set-up of the nursery, routine (if desired), and getting to grips with a new baby in the home. She can help with meals, tidying, laundry and older siblings when necessary. She will be an intuitive extra pair of hands around your home, whilst being full of knowledge (and not related to you so you will be happy to listen to her advice).
Please feel free to call us for further information about how we could help your family.
Dee says, “Between 1994 and 2010, I worked as a nanny with many families, helping to raise newborn babies, toddlers and children up to the age of thirteen. I have traveled to Australia to guide a mother through the first six months raising her baby alone. In other positions, I regularly have had overnight stays with babies and children whilst their parents have been away. As well as gaining valuable knowledge and understanding in many areas of parenting, I have also learnt to help children to develop the ability to sleep peacefully, alone in their own beds.
“Having my own child means that my techniques are tried and tested by me with my daughter, with the emotional involvement that only a parent can understand. My daughter was a premature baby, born 8 weeks early, becoming critically ill at 3 weeks. She is strong and healthy now, but I learnt a lot from this experience, allowing me to help parents struggling with premature babies once they have left hospital.
“Over the past few years I have moved away from working as a nanny and have started to help families with their parenting problems – Parent Rescue. As prior to my visit, many of the children I see had sleep troubles, some of my happy and well-rested families have nicknamed me “The Sleep Fairy”.
“Being The Sleep Fairy is a wonderful, fulfilling role that gives me great pleasure and is very rewarding!”