Author Archives: SarahOckwell-Smith

About SarahOckwell-Smith

Sarah Ockwell-Smith, Parenting author and mother to four.

Why Most School Discipline Doesn’t Work

hundreds of thousands of school children are being failed by our current system every day. A system that places the onus on them to change, to behave better, to ironically ‘foster a growth mind-set’. They endure hour upon hour of detentions, loss of golden time, the shame and embarrassment of sitting on the red light, the sad cloud or the warning board. It really doesn’t have to be like this though. Continue reading

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In Defence of Cat Naps

I’m often contacted by parents who tell me that they want to “get my child napping for longer”, they write and tell me that their child only naps for 30 or 40 minutes and that they would really like to extend this to one and a half or two hours. Unfortunately however short naps (aka ‘cat naps’) are totally normal and very common…. Continue reading

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Potty Problems Q&A – Part 1: Pee

In summary, the answer to most potty training problems, especially pee related, can be summed up by focusing on three words. Three words that parents need to have bucket loads of during the process, however long it takes.

Confidence, Consistency, Compassion Continue reading

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Why Tantrums are Harder for Toddlers than Parents!

A child who feels sad, angry, unloved or struggling with a lack of autonomy is a ticking time-bomb. If their feelings aren’t diffused, with parental help, they are going to explode (aka – a tantrum)….. Continue reading

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8 Ways to Encourage Better Baby & Toddler Sleep – Without Sleep Training

Sleep training tends to punish babies and toddlers for problems that don’t belong to them. They are left to cry, put down while they still need a hug, denied milk when they are hungry and ignored when they most need comfort. I don’t actually believe any parent wants this for their children, yet their exhaustion leaves them with no other choice. Or so they think. There are in fact, many ways to gently improve infant sleep that don’t involve any sleep training at all. Here are eight of them: Continue reading

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The Three Biggest Mistakes Parents Make When Disciplining Children

It doesn’t matter if you’re an authoritarian parent, hot on punishment and reward, or a gentle parent, focused on connection and empathy. Your kid is going to misbehave. Because that’s what they do….. Continue reading

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The Rollercoaster of Real Baby Sleep

We (‘we’ meaning society) seem to think that baby sleep is linear. By that I mean we seem to think that it gets better as babies grow older. Or at least we believe it is static, ie. it won’t get worse again. The thing is, it’s not linear (certainly not in an upwards trajectory) and it’s not static. It goes up and down (mostly down in the first year). This is entirely normal and very, very common… Continue reading

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How to Gently Wean from a Dummy/Pacifier

I’m commonly asked for help and advice surrounding pacifiers (I’ll use this term as this is the most used around the world). Pacifiers can be a Godsend to some parents and a nightmare to others. If you’re currently pregnant and … Continue reading

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Why it’s OK to NOT be a Perfect Parent!

….You need to strive to do your best, but recognise that sometimes your best is enough, even when you don’t feel that it is. Continue reading

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How to Praise Your Children in a Gentle and Effective Way

Praise is a controversial topic in Gentle Parenting circles. Many mistakenly think that gentle parents never praise their children and eschew any attempt to show children that we are proud of them. In fact, this is simply not true. Praise can and does form a role in Gentle Parenting, however it looks different to the praise that most people know and use.
Continue reading

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