Le Pause is a French parenting technique which I heard about a while back from a blog post by Jacqueline Leigh Boeheim, and probably, like many parents, realised I already do it – at least to some extent. So what is it? As Boehiem comments it’s something parents around the world probably do, it’s just that the French gave it a name. It’s primarily a recommend technique the French have for helping mother’s with new babies for them to sleep through the night. In Le Pause, if the baby cries at night or makes signs of being awake parents are advised to go in, observe and just ‘pause’ and wait for 5 minutes before seeing what their child wants. Babies often self-settle and responding instantly doesn’t encourage this, it can even wake them up. The French must have something right if it’s reported French babies are sleeping through the night by 2 months.
What drew me to Boeheim’s article and the realisation that Le Pause aptly described part of my own approach to parenting was how Boeheim was describing it for other aspects of parenting. There is a tendency to react instantly whenever you hear your child/ren arguing or starting to cry, etc. Call me harsh if you want, but through my experience in youthwork and with my own children I’ve often found if I just ‘pause’ and don’t react immediately most arguments sort themselves out and relatively quickly (maybe a bruised ego here and there). Certainly often within the time it’s taken me to get to there 🙂 It also helps children learn skills in negotiation, something they’ll have less chance to do if I had intervened immediately, not to mention there’s always the chance one child is better at ‘faking it’ and getting the attention that really aught to be given to the other child.
It also applies when you hear crying, okay I only do with my own children as I recognise the difference in tone between when they are crying because they are really hurt and when it’s just being plaintiff/annoyed or a minor injury. They’re quite good at picking themselves up after minor accidents just dusting themselves down and they know I’m there if they are really hurt.