"You don't have to sleeptrain your baby, but you can learn how to manage his sleep."
Barbara Bove Angeretti
Consulente per il sonno dei bambini e l’educazione empatica
Ciao, I am Barbara
I am a sleep and empathic education consultant. I am a mother of two girls. I am the President of the Maternage Association, I am a member of the IPSA International Pediatric Sleep Association and of the IACSC International Association of Child Sleep Consultants, I collaborate with the best doctors and professionals in the sector.
I love to study and be constantly updated on the issues concerning my work, so almost always (when I’m not in a videocall) I’m reading a research, a study or following a course, a master or congress in the pedagogical or psychological field.
Thanks to these interdisciplinary studies, I have gained in-depth knowledge on children’s sleep that has been fully reflected in the experience gained over many years of working with families.
As for the educational approach, I find that the word empathy well embodies the meaning of this perspective, which wants to be respectful, responsible and collaborative. An approach supported by the most recent studies in the field of neuroscience and developmental psychology.
My consultations take place online via video call and can last up to two hours, the time needed to understand the child’s habits, environment and relationships, to contextualize the difficulty encountered and understand how to overcome it. This meeting is followed by a support and coaching follow-up
How can I help you?
Extinction methods* which are explained further below, unfortunately still too often heard, which should “teach” sleep to children, have NO scientific basis, indeed they are considered by most scholars and researchers * in the field of human and social sciences to be absolutely inappropriate and harmful!
Sleep is not taught to children, sleep is a state of consciousness, not a behavior or a habit.
My goal is to provide the family with the operational tools suitable for managing the baby’s falling asleep and physiological awakenings in compliance with his needs, without a prepackaged method, certainly without ever letting him cry, without ignoring him, but bringing my experience to find a common ground. A child needs the mother (or the caregiver of reference) and the mother needs to be supported and to have confidence in her own abilities and skills.
Words like “vices”, “tantrums”, “bad habits” referring to a child have no meaning! These are words we adults use to define a request we don’t understand.
Understanding the dynamics that regulate the sleep of children is the first step necessary to restore harmony and serenity.
* Methods: Some of you may have heard of various more or less imaginative methods by which one could or should “teach” sleep to little ones. Unfortunately these methods are still proposed by self-styled experts…. Keep reading
Emphatic and respectful education
The term “attachment parenting” defines a type of care that mainly concerns the first years of the child and includes: cosleeping and/or bedsharing, full-term breastfeeding, babywearing and in general all those behaviors that favor proximal care.
Empathic education is based on COLLABORATION rather than on imposition, it does not use methods based on rewards or punishments and promotes active listening and emotional acceptance.
The main feature of this approach is listening to the child, understanding his needs and the ability to respond to these requests, to be in tune with him and understand his feelings.
The needs of the child change as they grow up, our role as parents instead remains unchanged. We continue to listen to him and trust him, to accept his requests, which does not necessarily mean satisfying them, but making him feel understood and sharing his experiences.
Empathic communication works best when the parent gives an example and guides the child in expressing his feelings, without blocking them, but showing how to manage them. A parent who is present, aware and welcoming, favors the development of a very solid self-esteem and emotional competence, thus building the foundations for a harmonious development of his child. The need for contact and closeness has in fact been included among the primary needs of children, like those of hunger and thirst, indeed it seems to be even more intense than the latter.
Empathic education offers a natural approach to parenting, using INTERNAL MOTIVATION rather than external, as an educational tool.
Pursuing needs, welcoming them and possibly satisfying them according to empathic education is the furthest thing from a lax attitude, that is, an excessively permissive and almost indulgent educational method, now recognized as an inadequate and potentially harmful form of parenting for children. The difference between the two consists precisely in the constant presence, attention and reciprocity that the parent offers to the child, approaching in a sweet and responsive way, behavior at the basis of a secure attachment.
Educating with empathy and respect means helping children to grow with love, living discoveries together and helping them understand limits without using fear and intimidation, without using rewards or punishments, but being present in quality and quantity of time. The little ones thus learn our values and assimilate the rules not by imposition or for fear of punishment, but by understanding. This will help form their intellectual autonomy and develop critical thinking, which are some of the best tools we can provide them to face life’s challenges with independence and confidence in their abilities.