Wednesday, December 22, 2010
5 Days to a Perfect Night’s Sleep For Your Child (Review)
If you are having trouble getting your child to sleep, this may be the right book for you: 5 Days to a Perfect Night's Sleep for Your Child: The Secrets to Making Bedtime a Dream by Eduard Estivill.
I will admit--the last couple months have been very trying, with a baby who wouldn't sleep. When my son was a baby, he fell asleep by himself quite easily--he'd cry for five or six minutes before falling asleep for the night. My daughter was not so cooperative. She'd cry for hours and hours until we'd go in and pick her up. Then she'd wake again at 2 in the morning and wouldn't stop crying. I rushed to the library to get a book on teaching good sleep habits.
The first book I got (whose title I won't mention) advised me to sing to my daughter for an hour or more before putting her to sleep. So I turned off the light, sang to her for an hour every night, and tried to get her to sleep. Singing for an hour plus every night is not fun, karaoke or not. I was able to use this method to get her to sleep the first time in the night, but when she woke up at 2, she wouldn't go back to sleep. I was getting two two-hour naps a day instead of real sleep. It was brutal. Eduard Estivill's book helped me get back to a normal cycle.
It's a really short book (can be read in one sitting), and I don't want to give away too much of his secrets (he should get paid for this wonderful gift he's shared with the world), but his philosophy in a nutshell is this--sleeping is like eating: it's a learned skill, and it needs to be taught. Most parents approach sleeping as a punishment or as a voluntary activity. Instead, they should think of teaching their kids to sleep, by being firm, confident, and authoritative. Estivill says not to sing, not to coddle, only to tell your daughter that she needs to sleep. He has a chart that lists intervals that a parent should re-enter the child's room when teaching sleep.
As Estivill warned, it was hard on this dad for the first couple nights, but we're on our seventh night, and it's worked really well. Baby Pod still doesn't sleep right away, but she now sleeps through the night, and she does a much better job of putting herself to sleep. I've noticed that with the extra sleep ("extra" meaning going from 4hours a night to eleven), she's a lot happier, more energetic, and generally healthier. If you are desperate to getting your child to sleep better, I'd highly recommend Estivill's book. Check it out.
(also posted on bigwowo.com)