Temitope Olajide is a child psychologist who has worked for about 15 years in corporate world. Beyond that, she is a certified child sleep consultant and calls the shots as head of Mummyclinic Global Services, an online platform that provides strategies and solutions to the challenges of child upbringing.
Temi Olajide is the author of Wi-fi Kids and Analog Parents, a book that equips parents on how to raise kids in this digital age. She is determined to help working mothers enjoy motherhood while achieving their dreams.
What was growing up like for you?
My parents did their best to live a transparent life. They were both great role models to us. I wanted to be a modified version of them, though not with as many kids as they had. By the way, I am the first and only girl in a family of four.
I would have loved them to be more approachable to us in our early days but typical Nigerian parents, which they were, they weren’t so approachable. The fear of many other things would not allow that. But they never lived a lie, so I grew up using their lives as a guide. That is something I still encourage parents to do.
If you cannot do so much, just be a good example because your kids can see through you and learn to be like you. Many parents don’t practice what they preach and that is where you start losing your kids.
How did you start this venture, Mummyclinic?
After marriage, I wanted to be that mother who enjoyed her life and work while raising kids but the narrative around me did not reflect what I desired. The narrative I saw was that, as a mother, you would experience sleepless nights, which is usually overwhelming, tiring and exhausting.
It is either you choose your career or your children. I didn’t want my life to be all that. I knew being a mother was challenging but I decided that, since I could not avoid it, I had to look for easier ways to overcome the challenges and enjoy the journey.
So, I started seeking knowledge and read books to find solutions. I wanted to change the narrative. It was deliberate from when I got pregnant with my first child. And that was the beginning of being an intentional mum. I did not leave things to chance, except pray for God’s guidance and blessings on my efforts, as I knew that God would not come down to do my job.
What did you do next?
When the digital age came, I joined Instagram and saw many mothers struggling and unhappy with the journey of motherhood. I remember always seeing their posts struggling with getting their kids to go to bed early, sleeping through the night and potty training. I figured that this shouldn’t be a problem any mother should face.
I wanted to help but didn’t know how.
So, I decided to finally take a plunge and live my dreams because I knew I could help working mothers. That was how Mummyclinic began.
How does Mummyclinic work?
We have been able to sleep-train many children in our sleep school. It is amazing to see the lifestyles of mothers transform and become productive when their children’s sleep habits improve.
We have witnessed improved bonding between husbands and wives as they get more time to spend with each other while their kids are in bed without any interruption all night too. We have had testimonies of children feeding better, behaving calmer, healthier and doing better at school due to improved sleep lifestyles.
You also worked as a banker. Why did you throw in the towel?
I left the banking industry after having my first child so as to give me more time to be with him. I did not have a lot of support around me at that time as my mother was not in the country. I also wanted a career as a business consultant because that was my desire after graduating from school. I became a child sleep and potty training consultant solely out of passion to help other mothers.
Was that why you went to get a certificate in child psychology?
After setting up Mummyclinic, I saw the numerous challenges our clients were facing, with regard to their children. I decided to get certification in this area to support more parents.
Parenting is easier when you understand the psychology of children.
As a child psychologist, I work with parents to help improve the quality of their child’s life.
With my knowledge of children’s behaviour, I help parents get the best out of their children making them understand the role of personality, genetics, environmental factors, social and cultural influences; educational background and parenting style can affect a child’s development.
I also teach healthy living, parenting skills and educate parents on ways to prevent various psychological disorders because if these disorders are not identified early and addressed, children may go on to bully others, fail in school, become violent or grow up to be maladjusted adults. It can lead to crime, substance abuse and make them experience employment and/or relationship failures.
What were some of the challenges you faced when setting out?
I would say the quality of Internet service in our country is rather poor, having tried so many networks. This can be really challenging as our platform runs majorly online in helping mums across the world. There are other challenges, like it is with every business, but they are within our control.
Why was it important for you to study child sleep behaviour?
I remembered travelling to London when I was pregnant and watched a TV programme of a sleep consultant 13 years ago. She was teaching us how to sleep-train children. I was so intrigued by that and felt that I could also do it, since that was the life I wanted as a mum. I went further to research sleep training and got trained so as to sleep-train my kids.
Imagine having your kids in bed by 7pm, and on their own beds till morning? I became more productive and relaxed as a mum and had time to watch my favorite TV programmes, movies and read books.
When I saw that many Nigerian mums were struggling with their kids’ sleep, I did a bit of research before starting off as a sleep consultant firm here in Nigeria and I found out that no one was sleep-training their children in West Africa.
When children have insomnia, as an expert, what is your recommendation?
A sleep routine must be created, as children thrive on routines. Watching TV, gaming or reading in bed should be avoided. Screen time should be reduced towards bedtime and children must be encouraged to go to bed early.
What advice would you give to a mum whose child suffers obstructive sleep and exhibits certain strange behaviour while sleeping?
They should seek a sleep consultant’s help. There is no single approach that solves this, as many factors can and trigger them.
What is your advice for women, especially those who work and manage the home front?
If you cannot get free help or support and you can afford to pay for it, engage the services of a helper. You can’t do everything alone.
They should improve on time management skills. They should learn to plan their day ahead, as this helps to reduce stress and work pressure.
It is not the number of hours you spend with children but creating quality and undivided time that matters. You can spend time connecting with them during school runs time and before bedtime.
Try and create bonding time around routines, blocking a minimum of 15 to 30 minutes a day solely for you and your child, no matter how busy you are. Children are very easy to please. They don’t need 24 hours from you. All they need is just quality time and attention.