Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child
by Marc Weissbluth, M.D.
A Healthy Child Needs a Healthy Brain,
A Healthy Brain Needs Healthy Sleep.
If you have not already done so, please read Blog Posts 1 through 5 that describe how sleep is important and beneficial. I will post specific information for parents and children based on my book, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.” Please do not be put off by my book’s length. This is a reference book. Read only the topic of interest to you.
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child Video Series – Part 6 of 8
DO I HARM MY CHILD IF I LET HIM CRY AT NIGHT TO LEARN SELF-SOOTHING?
· Studies show that children are not harmed (Blog Post 24) when extinction or graduated extinction is used. Blog Post 25.
IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO MAKE YOUR CHILD CRY TO HAVE A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP
WHAT A PARENT CAN DO
∙ It may be difficult to begin or choose a sleep solution. Blog Posts 23 and 26. A Community Sleep Consultant may be helpful. Blog Post 27.
· No television or digital electronic devices in child’s bedroom (Blog Post 21), if possible. Blog Post 22.
· Some babies sleep better than other babies. Develop coping strategies to reduce stress if your baby has extreme fussiness or crying. Plan to encourage self-soothing skills at 2 to 4 months of age. Blog Post 20.
· ‘No Cry’ sleep solutions (‘Fading’ and ‘Check and Console’) may solve sleep problems. Blog Post 19
· Communicate with each other and coordinate nighttime parenting practices. Consider delaying your response to mild, suspected distress sounds (Blog Post 11) your baby makes at night by 5-10 seconds, especially after 3 months of age. Blog Post 18.
· Encourage partner to help care for baby daytime and nighttime. Be emotionally available at bedtime. Seek help if your child is not sleeping well and there are symptoms of anxiety or depression for yourself or partner. Blog Post 17.
· Encourage self-soothing; the earlier the better. Consider leaving the room after putting your child down to sleep. Provide opportunity for naps based on drowsy signs. Encourage partner to help care for the baby daytime and nighttime. Blog Post 16.
· Plan for healthy sleep by focusing on sleep quality, not just sleep quantity. Provide opportunities for naps. Blog Post 15
· Make a sleep plan that you are comfortable with; be flexible and tolerant. Blog Post 14.
· Become more aware of the difference between how you feel when well-rested versus mildly sleepy. Blog Post 13.
· Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule. Blog Post 12.
· Try to not respond immediately to every quiet sound your baby makes at night. Blog Post 11.
· Practice soothing to sleep and bedtime routines, every night, if possible. Blog Post 10.
· Watch for drowsy signs. Blog Post 9.
· Respect your child’s natural sleep rhythms. Blog Post 8.
· Encourage an early or earlier bedtime (even a slightly earlier bedtime may produce better sleep. Blog Post 6) especially at 6 weeks. Blog Post 7.