Practical advice for sleep, eating and behaviour issues in babies, toddlers and children up to 11 years old.
Dee Booth, Sarah Quick and Nic Judd 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 cesarean, 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 what we do parent coaching, others would class as a super nanny role or a sleep trainer. 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-judgmental. 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 in 1994. 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, practicing Dee’s tried and tested techniques, so they all have the knowledge and understanding to help you and your child overcome:
- Sleeping problems – night-time waking, difficulties settling to sleep, resettling through the night, early rising
- Crying – colic, babies who won’t stop crying, self-soothing trouble, ditching the dummy, letting go of comforters,
- Food – fussy eating, feeding issues, weaning problems
- Behaviour – tantrums, terrible twos, constant negotiations, toddler taming
- Toilet training
- Sleep, toilet training and eating problems/selective eating in children with ASD (autism), ADHD, ADD, dyslexia and developmental delay
- 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”!
Nic Judd joined the team after working as a paediatric nurse for over 10 years. She specialised in neonatal cardiac patients and her role involved counselling and supporting parents as well as working with the little ones. Her experience in such a sensitive area gives her the perfect background for working as a Sleep Fairy.
All the Sleep Fairies have worked with babies and children for a minimum of 5 years and have their own children. We believe that this is essential when being in the position of advising other parents about their children and babies.
Dee’s Sleep Fairies spend six to twelve months training with Dee, observing a broad variety of consultations so that they learn to understand how to resolve as many different problems as possible and are fully equipped to confidently deal with anything that may arise in a consultation.
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, healthy 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 postnatal 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
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 fun parenting!
In Nic’s Words:
Before joining the Sleep Fairy Team, I worked as a Paediatric Cardiac Nurse withing the NHS for over 15 years. After my ﬁrst child I returned to my nursing as a Paediatric and Fetal Cardia Nurse Specialist where I worked alongside specialist midwives, Fetal Medicine teams and those families experiencing a diagnosis of having a baby born both a heart defect, chromosomal abnormalities and life limiting conditions. It was from this work that my interest in helping families ﬁnd peace and harmony in their lives really began to take form.
I visited families immediately after a diagnosis so I am experienced in caring for and sensitive to how a slight deviation in a family structure, poor sleep due to stress and anxiety, bad eating habits, changes in family dynamics and depression can have a huge impact on how we are able to parent.
It’s tough and I can speak from personal experience, its even tougher to have the conﬁdence to know we are “doing it” right! Being a good parent is about being good enough and this means not always getting it right!
With that said, it was very ﬁtting that I met Dee, by chance, outside my house while we were exchanging toys on a buy and sell group. A year later, and I am now working within a fantastic team who have made me realise that I am deﬁnitely not the perfect and experienced mum I thought I was! I get things wrong but I am good enough and its never too late to put into place better parenting strategies!
Dee has taught me that there is deﬁnitely no “one size ﬁts all” approach and getting to understand the family dynamic, and your children, individually, is key.
I understand the importance of holistic care and ‘treating’ the family as a whole, with each parent contributing to the child’s well being. I have seen ﬁrst hand the stress and turmoil families can get into following periods of trauma, a diagnosis, or just having slipped into bad habits which have caused the equilibrium to be upset within the family home. But remember, it is never to late to make a change.
I love working as a Sleep Fairy and helping families get back to where they want to be!
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.
“They really get to understand how you feel about being a parent and make sure your feelings are taken into consideration when making their 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 and 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.
“It was so helpful to have Nic there while we tried out the sleep training option she had helped us to choose. She reassured us that what we were doing was right for our baby and that he was okay – and when he woke from his nap he was his usual smiley self!”
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.
“Because of Sarah’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.
Behaviour Coaching Sessions are often helpful for families with children with delayed development, learning difficulties, autism, Aspergers, hearing loss and some other special needs.
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 had overnight stays with babies and children whilst their parents were 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 and son, 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 years I moved away from working as a nanny and 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 nicknamed me “The Sleep Fairy”.
“Being The Sleep Fairy is a wonderful, fulfilling role that gives me great pleasure and is very rewarding!”
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 is able to support new mothers whatever their choice of feeding for their baby.
In Jessica’s words:
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.
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.
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.