Friday, May 11, 2007

T. Berry Brazelton: Alive, kicking, and Helping Families Get to Sleep!

I heard T. Berry Brazelton on the radio and was amazed by a. the fact that he's still alive! and b. how well some of his theories about children's development and parenting have held up over time. Much on the minds of parents of infants and toddlers is nurturing their children's healthy sleep habits. Dr. Brazelton's philosophy is that children have the inner resources to sleep well, but they need their parents' coaching to draw on these resources. He advocates that parents go to their children when they wake in the middle of the night, but rather than pick them up, give them a lovey, binky or some other comforting object and sit with them, repeating this mantra until they go back to sleep: You can do it yourself. You can do it yourself. Just listening to him repeat this mantra nearly put me to sleep. I like this idea that sleep is something that children can be taught to do well, but like all skills, it's something that must be learned from an experienced teacher: the child's parents! Cheers to Dr. Brazelton--and a good night's sleep!

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