- Courtney discusses the two types of motivation
- Courtney reviews why behaviors happen and why toddlers protest
- Courtney shares the exact steps to start with before calling her or her team for sleep coaching.
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Podcast Episode Transcripts:
Disclaimer: Transcripts were generated automatically and may contain inaccuracies and errors.
Welcome to the kids sleep show, where we help tired parents from around the world to get their children to fall asleep independently, sleep through the night and build healthy sleep habits for Life. I’m your host, Courtney Zentz. Now let’s sleep together.
Hello, and welcome to this week’s episode of the Kids sleep show, Courtney Zentz here and I am so excited to talk to you this week, all about toddler behavior, because your toddlers behavior during the day is probably mimicked at bedtime and overnight. So I’m going to show you a little bit of a different perspective on why you have issues with your toddler sleeping through the night. Because it’s probably linked to something that’s happening when the sun is still up and shining bright. But to begin, we need to understand why toddlers act and behave the way they do. So we’re going to talk first about what intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation is. Because just like us are we going to get up and go for a walk in the morning Are we going to only go for the walk because at the end of the walk, we get a cookie, right? Those are two different types of motivation and drivers into why we’re doing things. So with intrinsic motivation, that’s our internal drive to do something to go back to school to get a doctorate or to go walk or exercise because we know it’s good for our body, right. And so those are intrinsically things that we’re motivated to do. Extrinsic motivation is something my daughter’s actually really excited about with her Irish dance her and my son, I tell them, you know, if you score a goal and one of your travel soccer games, I’ll give you a five bucks, and with my daughter, if you get a medal at one of your Irish dance contests, then you get five bucks. And so those extrinsic motivators are something that my kids like and that I use sparingly, but they work frankly, and I don’t have to have whining when they go to practice. So that’s great. But you have intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, you know, telling a seven year old, you just want to go to Irish dance, because it’s good for you. Even though she loves it, sometimes leaving whatever it is we’re doing is hard. And so there’s not necessarily at that age, a ton of intrinsic motivation yet for certain things. However, when her glitter sparkle dress came, for example, she had more motivation in the world to like, have Miko do all these things to get it sorted. So, you know, you have to understand why your child behaves the way they do. But also like, what motivates them, okay, to ensure that we’re setting up the right foundational elements, and making sure that your child then doesn’t have any sort of a push with you, or any sort of a battle, if you will, around the things that you are trying to get them to do. So an intrinsic motivation is challenging for children around sleep, because they don’t understand why they sleep, and why there are benefits to doing so. So beginning with some of those conversations, like if you want to do this thing better sleep is super important. We’re going to talk about why we all sleep. As a family, we’re going to go through and read stories about how it makes us strong, and it makes us happy, and it helps us feel better. Right? We can even go through things during that time. As far as things like breathing, right? I talk a lot about this product, the animal but I love because it’s really good for helping kids to understand the power of their breath. But still intrinsic motivation for kids, especially at a young age. You know, when you’re talking two years old, it’s a little bit more challenging than dealing with like my daughter who’s seven, right big difference in what’s going on. But when you’re trying to teach intrinsic motivation, okay.
You want to talk about like the pride that comes from being successful at achieving sleep. And as I mentioned, like all of those physical and emotional benefits and then the confidence that a child gets. People think what we do in the world of sleep training is just so like nasty and lonely and teach your kid to cried out, it’s like, your kids deprived of a skill, frankly, like they don’t know they can go to bed by themselves. And as a child that stinks, frankly. So helping your kid to have that confidence that they can do it and they could do it on their own and that they’re big and strong and that they have this thing they don’t need to rely on you for something right imagine relying on someone for something as simple as like going to the bathroom so every time you have to go to the bathroom, you’ve got to find whoever that person is that takes you to the bathroom, now you’re capable of going on your own. You just don’t know it yet. That’s toddler potty training, basically. But they have to get that confidence to understand and then have the motivation to want to do it. It’s the same as sleep sleeps a skill set, right? So we have to look at that. Also the extrinsic motivators around what’s happening in the day, prizes, stickers, things like that. Bedtime reward charts, the problem is that depending on the age of the child, or the child’s, you know, kind of wiring, sometimes, extrinsic motivation doesn’t always work. And so one of the things that I like to start with when I’m working with the toddler sleep client is actually bedtime is secondary. So for the entire first week of us working together, we’re spending an extra week. So it ends up being about four weeks instead of three, or you’re solely focused on first listening for 24 hours, I want you to listen to your toddler, what are they asking for? Can I have yogurt bites? Can we go to the park? Can I have a cookie? Can I you know, can you come push me on the swing? Like whatever the things are that your child is asking for? They’re motivated by, right. But you also have to look at what are the things that they’re seeking as a form of comfort and support. But also as something that they like, would you rub my back at bedtime? Can you rock me to sleep? Will you lay in here until I’m asleep, right? That’s helping them to feel secure in their environment, which we ultimately want to do. But we want to do it in a way that doesn’t allow us to have to sit in there for two hours. At bedtime, nobody wants to do that. So what you have to look at is listening during the day, and then starting to make the changes first in the day before you call us to work with you at night because the behaviors are mirroring each other. I’m almost certain that if you assess and kind of listen for a day, you’re going to see that like that response to a child getting told no during the day is going to be the same response that happens overnight when they try to have you come in or they try to get in your bed, whatever the situation is with your toddler because the behaviors mimic. Okay, so a great example is in the daytime. I had a client just recently who told me their toddler was throwing food. So they were sitting, eating, throwing food. And I’m like, Okay, well, what did you do? She’s like, well, I picked it up and put it back on the tray. Like, okay, did they stop throwing it? Well, now they just throw it again. I’m like, right? Why? Well, because there was no consequence to the fact they were throwing it, they threw it, you picked it up, they threw it, you picked it up, it turned into a game. And it was their way of basically showing protest, right. So I said, the next time your toddler throws their food, you are to walk over to their tray, detach the tray or take the plate off with all the food and say, since you’re throwing your food, you’re obviously full, we will eat again, at dinner, they are not allowed any snacks. And their meal is now concluded, they’re making the choice to throw the food. So they have to understand that we don’t throw food. And that that was an unacceptable choice, right? You make changes to a behavior by adjusting the behavior that is a consequence. People call consequences. You know all the things and it’s like consequences are bad. Like if your kid goes to run in traffic, you’re not gonna be like a natural consequence, get hit by the car, or you didn’t look both ways, right? You’re gonna grab your kid to be like, No, and your voice escalates. They understand the severity, they stopped the action. It’s no different. In the home, you don’t need to raise your voice. It’s just they need to understand that they crossed a boundary that is there for their protection, right? You need to make sure they’re eating so that they’re full, and they’re growing and thriving. If they’re not going to eat, then you know what you’re done with your meal, but you’re not getting a snack in an hour, would you ask me, they’re not going to starve to death. If they don’t eat for three hours, they just eat at dinner and you’ll see they’re going to eat a lot more. So these behaviors that are happening during the day are going to mimic at bedtime and overnight, you’ve got to kibosh some of those things in the day. Because even though it’s not the same as far as how it looks, meaning, you know, your kids not going to be throwing peas at bedtime, but they’re going to be doing something else throwing a temper tantrum throwing their animals, and they have to also understand that that behavior is not acceptable. So when that happens, it’s taken the animals putting them in a bag and saying we’re obviously done with these because we don’t treat our toys like that. And you bag them up and you take them outside of the room. Does it mean you have to toss them in the dumpster? No, but they have to learn that their choices have repercussions. And we have to teach them that there are boundaries in the day, and that there are boundaries with sleep training, as well. And it’s hard as parents, especially if you have multiple kids to keep the boundaries. But it is always something that is just necessary to keep order. You know, like, it’s very hard, especially if you’re sleep deprived. But you’re gonna see that when you fix the challenges during the daytime hours, the bedtime sleep training process and the overnight wakings. And disruptions are, Oh, my word so, so, so much easier. Because you don’t have kids who are just starting to learn that there’s boundaries. You know, I use the example a lot of our dog. He’s a rescue. And so he came new to our house with already established kind of situation. Doesn’t sound like it was amazing, because he doesn’t like men. But he’s a great dog. And so we had to get an electric fence. Well, what did they do to teach him not to jump out of our yard to go into our neighbors? Well, they put little white flags up, right. And so for a period of like two weeks, we have to walk him around a couple times a day, to start to understand the beeping, right. If he gets too close to the flag, it’ll beep. And so the beeping is helping to teach him a boundary. Well, the problem is, there’s foxes in our area where we live and this dog, he wants that Fox he’s getting, he’ll take the bet he’ll take the consequence, which is the shock to have the option to get that Fox, okay. So every day, I have to watch him dark through and get the fox, right. He hasn’t caught him yet. But like he tries and so every day, he’s trying to do this. And finally, I called the Fence Company, and I was like, look like you got to turn this thing up. And the guy’s like, oh, yeah, sorry, man. Like it’s really low. And I don’t know why it was set so low. But that’s why he’s jumping the fence because it’s so he doesn’t he’s always hearing is the beeping, and then nothing happens. So I was thinking he’s getting shocked, he actually doesn’t care because he’s not. And he’s taken off after the fox. And it’s disturbing at five in the morning when I still want to be sleeping or getting some stuff done, like reporting this podcast as I am right now. So
there’s things like that where it wasn’t till we turned it up, that he made the decision to stay in the yard because it hurt, right, the shock hurt him. So you have to, I’m not again, I’m not saying we like put shock bracelets or anything on our kids, I’m just saying my boundaries create confidence. They also create consistency, he knows his place. And if he decides he’s going after that box, there’s a consequence that comes with it. And so it’s the same with kids. Like if you listen to what your kid is saying that they want to do, and then they make the choice to act out in a behavior that they know is wrong, they have to lose something that they care about. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter. They don’t care. They’re not going to change their behavior. Okay. So that’s the biggest difference, they don’t care. So if they don’t care, they’re not going to change. But if they do care, like all your kid is motivated by his going to the park and you say, I’m sorry, you didn’t have a great night, you didn’t make the right choice during the day through your food, you, you know you did this thing. So we’re just not going to be able to go to the park because we have to be well rested, to go to the park. Right. And if you’re consistent with that, in whatever it is that they’re looking for, you start to see that that the boundaries will start to shift, right? A lot of people mistake protest, okay, protest is your child’s emotions, because they are unhappy about whatever the situation is, it’s their job. We as parents have to create safe and healthy limits for them to live. And we keep our limits, our children will feel safer. I know, that’s crazy, because there are some times pushing the limits, but they do truly feel safer. And sometimes kids can feel overwhelmed when there aren’t limits. And they are making all these choices that they don’t have the mental capacity to do. And when we’re not acknowledging how they’re feeling, that can be super overwhelming as well. So protests is happening because children are checking their boundaries and they’re trying to determine like, hey, is this like, Is this in my place or not? Right? So, you know, I think the first step in before you call us to sleep training your toddler is really helping your child to foster some independence, but by having some rules and boundaries around certain things like the food throw, owing, for example, or the temper tantrums, like that’s not an acceptable behavior, and I’m just not going to tolerate it. You know, as a parent, I have two kids. And I am just like you in some of these daily battles that I have. And my kids don’t know or care what I do as a career. So it is one of those things where, you know, I, my husband, at one point lane and Betty goes, Courtney, you know, you care too much. I’m like, What do you mean, their kids? Like, I want to give them the world? He goes, No, you care too much. He’s like, I don’t care. If they don’t like the color popsicle, they got, don’t eat it. I don’t care. I don’t actually want you to have the popsicle. I don’t get them the popsicle color that they want. You go, Oh, it’s okay. I’ll go get your cherries, like, why? They eat what they get, or they don’t get it. You care. You’re gonna go get them whatever color they want. You’ll go get them the different socks, they want stuff on the campus, not a big deal. Like, I’ll just go great. He’s like, No, see, that’s the problem. Because it’s stemming over into all the other things. And I’m like, Oh, my gosh, you’re right. Like I do this for a living. And even in my own life, I didn’t think about it in that perspective. So it’s, you know, it’s one of those things that was really interesting for me as a parent, because I you know, there’s nights where I’m like, What am I doing wrong, you know, and it was literally my husband telling me that I cared too much. Or the next day, I was like, if you don’t want it, you don’t have to eat it. You can wait till lunch or something. And it was an immediate change in my kids. And I was like, Oh my gosh, you’re right. So sometimes parents just need that lightbulb moment. And that’s what I hope this podcast does for you today. And as you just start to assess what your toddler is doing, how you can be a more supportive parent in that way for them to foster and grow independence. And then if you do still struggle, or if you need help, like working with toddlers can be tough. We’ve got to figure out their intrinsic and extrinsic motivators, we’ve got to understand the unique situation is there dietary things that need to be changed, or just there’s a lot that goes into working with families. And that’s what we’re here to do. So if you still need help, and you’re stuck, definitely reach out and give us a call here at Tiny transitions. Because we are very good sleep coaches. We’ve been doing this a really long time. There are a lot of people in the market. And they are not nearly as experienced as we are. So if you need help, we’re here. But I challenge you to first start with the daytime, assess what’s happening in the day, and work to correct and make changes to that daytime behavior in order to successfully see some shifts at bedtime and overnight.
I hope you have a great rest of the day. Thank
you so much for tuning into this week’s episode. And as always reach out to us if you have a question or a topic that you would love to get some support and assistance with. You can find us over on Instagram at Tiny transitions drop me a DM I’m in there all the time. And I would love to know what you want to hear more about. I hope you have a beautiful rest of the day.
Hold on one more thing before you go. As a valued listener of the kids sleep show. I want to help you build a great sleeper not just in the times you’re listening to the show. But all day every day. Every week of the year. I have a new Facebook group called slumber made simple. It’s a place to gather with other parents looking for sleep support, laughs and the latest in sleep research to build a family that is rested and at their best day in and day out. If you want to be part of the community where you can get free sleep support, weekly training sessions, unbelievable content and so much more. Head on over to tiny transitions.com forward slash community. That’s tiny transition stuff comm forward slash community or head over to Facebook and search summer Made Simple. drop me a note and let me know when you join. I can’t wait to see you there.