How your clients refer to you:
Professionally, I am a Pediatric Sleep Therapist or a Sleep Consultant. To my clients, I am “Kimberly”, but when I work with toddlers/older kids, I explain to them that I am their Sleep Teacher!
Kimberly Walker, Ph. (917) 623-7077, email: Kimberly@ParentingUnlimited.com
How many years have you been in business in NYC?
How did you get your start and what was your initial inspiration?
I have worked with children and babies since a very young age. After college, I moved to Washington, DC. I was hired to help exhausted parents of a toddler and newborn twins. I was only there for nights and my job was to help take care of the twins so the parents could sleep. I quickly realized what they eventually needed was not just sleep for themselves, but also for their babies. I helped their twins learn to sleep through the night.
My name was then passed on to another set of twin parents and another set and so on. I moved to New York City to go to grad school at Columbia for Social Work. I continued working on the side with newborn twins at night helping them get to sleep. Soon, families begin to hire me not for night help, but to teach their children to sleep. Eventually, I became so busy that I started Parenting Unlimited.
For many years, I only worked with twins and now I work with singletons and toddlers and even much older children. I guess you could say my initial inspiration was working overnights with newborns and getting my own dose of extreme sleep deprivation. I remember feeling like I was only surviving because I could go home and sleep after a rough night. Obviously, parents do not get to go home and sleep after a rough night and so I quickly realized what a need there was to get your babies to sleep!
What do you feel differentiates you from others in your field?
I think one thing that differentiates me is that I have a background in psychology and working as a therapist. I am able to help moms with the emotional stress and ambivalence of teaching your child to sleep. We talk about fears and insecurities that can sometimes prevent moms from doing what their child really needs them to do. I help them work through all these fears so we can accomplish our sleep goals.
What do you feel gives you longevity in this big city with so many options?
As long as babies are being born, people will continue to be sleep deprived and some of them will need help getting on track. I think my reputation and the fact I have been doing this for so long will give me plenty of longevity!
How do you positively impact your clientele?
I positively impact my clients because after we work together their families are getting the sleep they need and everyone is much more peaceful, rested and happy!
What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite part is seeing how much more people enjoy being moms once their children are sleeping!
What is your favorite secret NYC spot?
Takahachi, a little amazing sushi place in the East Village that has been a favorite of mine since I moved to New York in 2002.
How do you benefit mamas?
I benefit mamas by helping them get the rest they need and helping them recognize that by teaching their children to sleep, they are giving them a gift. I really believe children need sleep in order to be able to grow and develop in the way that they should. When moms get the rest they need, I see firsthand how much more emotionally present and available they are to their children, themselves and their partner.
What is the most memorable feedback a client has given you?
I wrote a past client once that I had worked with many years before. I started the email off with, “I’m not sure if you remember me but… “ She responded within minutes and said “Are you kidding me? You are right up there with Oprah, Ghandi and Jesus in our house.” Of course, that is an exaggeration, but it was very sweet!
Pay it forward and name your top colleagues in the same field or related field:
The only people I know personally in the business are Jean and Lisa who run Soho Parenting. They offer a variety of great services for moms, dads and couples, including sleep help. They are both great!
What is the best advice anyone's ever given you? Or what is your "mantra" / words to live by?
I try to help people remember that as mom you have about 50 balls in the air all at once and you are trying to juggle all of them. The truth is they are mostly all rubber balls. Only about 2 or 3 of them are glass balls. If the rubber balls fall, they will bounce and nothing really bad will happen. Rubber balls are if the laundry is done and the toys are put away or if your child took exactly the hour and a half nap that he usually takes and drank exactly those 28 ounces you aim for. A glass ball is if your child is safe and healthy. If you are going to worry and stress, and we all know it’s pretty impossible not to, at least TRY to worry about your glass balls. Kiss your child (and your partner) good night and good morning and if the rubber balls fall, then let them fall because as long as your glass balls don’t fall everything is still OK!
As moms, the day can escape us, what is your best time-saving trick?
Most moms will take a shower when their kids are sleeping. But, some people feel like showers are a necessity and really not “me” time. Take your child in the bathroom with you. As long as it is safe, bring a bouncy seat or put toys on the floor and let them play while you shower/get ready and can see them. This way you can use their sleep time to do other things!