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Bedtime Struggles & Adoption: New Resource

A Child’s Song is pleased to introduce our first publication: a children’s picture book designed to be used as a therapeutic parenting tool for adoptive and fostering families. Bedtime can be a challenging time of day–this book helps parents and children understand why this happens.

Your Baby Brain is Loud Tonight is relatable story for both children and parents as they find a way to manage big fears and build a secure, trusting relationship. The book’s concept of a child having both a “baby brain” and a “big kid brain” came out of our work with families parenting children who have experienced early trauma. Although these children had found safety and comfort in their parents through adoption, foster care or next of kin placements, the impact of their first three years of life continued to challenge their perceived sense of safety. The responses of fear and anxiety lingered in spite of a current safe environment and responsive parenting.

 

Understanding the Brain

The easiest explanation for this is the profound impact of the first three years of development on the way a brain is formed. Children develop pathways in the brain that match their early experiences.  If the child was left alone, received unpredictable care or felt scared in the absence of soothing early in life, parents will see outcomes of dysregulation, lower stress tolerance and unreasonable fears. For example, a child may spend years afraid to sleep in their own room because they are convinced that someone will steal them in the night.

The Good News

The good news is that these pathways can be changed through targeted interventions provided by therapeutic parents. Your Baby Brain is Loud Tonight was created as a tool to support parents in helping their child understand the way their brain has been shaped by their early experiences as well as how the presence of an attuned caregiver can affect change. Children will likely need to hear this story multiple times to process how it applies to them, and parents will need to provide multiple opportunities for their child to experience the way it feels when the baby brain is soothed.  The story line encourages parents to be the source of safety and soothing for their child–to essentially soothe the distressed brain consistently and repetitively.

“Your baby brain is loud tonight. It’s telling your big brain that you are alone.”

I gently lifted your chin and looked in your eyes. 

“You are not alone. I am here now. You are safe. We can comfort your baby brain together.” 

If your child struggles with fears and anxieties, in spite of your reassurances, this book will help you develop a language to speak about past experiences and how these experiences impact the way your child feels in the present. It’s also a gentle reminder to parents that time doesn’t always heal and that early memories stay in the body long after safety has been restored.

Andrea Chatwin, MA, CCC

Founder and Clinical Director at A Child’s Song

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