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Many parents feel pressured to “train” babies and young children to sleep, but kids don’t need to be trained to sleep, they’re built to sleep. Sleep issues arise when parents (with the best of intentions) over-help or “helicopter parent” at night—overshadowing their baby’s innate biological ability to sleep well. In The Happy Sleeper, child sleep experts Heather Turgeon and Julie Wright show parents how to be sensitive and nurturing, but also clear and structured so that babies and young children develop the self-soothing skills they need to:
• Fall asleep independently
• Sleep through the night
• Take healthy naps
• Grow into natural, optimal sleep patterns for day and night
The Happy Sleeper is a research-based guide to helping children do what comes naturally—sleep through the night.
The Happy Sleeper features a foreword by neuropsychiatrist and popular parenting expert Dr. Daniel Siegel, author of Parenting from the Inside Out and the New York Times bestseller Brainstorm.
In this guide to encouraging healthy sleep patterns in children, psychotherapist Turgeon and parenting group leader Wright write for those parents who would rather be told that their kids should "get smart" than "get tough." Solid information on children's brain development and physiology supports a clear and systematic "attunement" philosophy that strikes a happy balance between "cry it out" and "overhelping." Maintaining that kids are built to sleep, Turgeon and Wright claim that parental attempts to rock, bounce, and breast-feed babies to slumber can inhibit this essential skill development. Their methods focus on letting the child see the parent as a reliable presence, while still putting baby in charge of actually going to sleep. These include the "Soothing Ladder," which encourages using minimal intervention techniques to help babies re-establish sleep after normal nighttime wake-ups, and the "Sleep Wave," a simple but meticulous check-in routine. Different approaches are given for kids up to age six, making this a manual that will grow with the child. Turgeon and Wright's compassionate but firm system reminds parents that even the smallest infants are already learners, and to be more cognizant of what they want to teach.