Thursday, June 19, 2014

You Are Not The Crutch. You Are The Teacher.

How to get your child to sleep is a huge topic in today's media. Many publications tout the idea that children should be trained to sleep by leaving them alone to cry or stare until they fall asleep. Unfortunately, this way of "teaching" children to sleep is not really teaching. It is leaving the student to guess and be confused. Any classroom teacher who did this would be fired as this process is not going to yield learning or growth.

The truth is that children need to see how we fall asleep. They need to know someone is nearby. They need to know their needs will be met if they voice a concern. This could be a gurgle, cry, or language in an older child.

Some children learn more quickly than others. Every brain is different. Everybody is different. It may be difficult, but patience and practice are the key. Two of my children chose to sleep on their own before age 2. My third child is four and chooses to sleep alone about half the time. The other half of the time he needs someone close by to help him remember how to calm himself and rest. Everyone is an individual and that is okay.

If you model or teach how to fall asleep while together, you are not a crutch. You are meeting your child's needs.

Some people teach sleep habits by using a type of cosleeping called bedsharing. Not everyone can safely do this. Feel free to try other forms of cosleeping. You can sidecar a crib or use two mattresses beside each other on the floor. If cosleeping is not safe due to smoking or another issue, have a nursery in the room beside your bedroom and leave your door open so you can hear your young child after he or she falls asleep near you. Then placed the child in the nursery. Respond quickly when the child wakes.

Leaving children alone to fall asleep before they have learned this skill leaves them to guess what you want from them or what they should do. By watching parents, being near parents, and being responded to when needs arise children will learn to calm and sleep.

There are some links below. Feel free to look through them for more information.

Research And Articles By James McKenna And Associates

Safe Bedsharing Guidelines

Dr Sears Weighs In

Sidecar Your Crib

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