Book Review: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth
Every parent can learn something from Dr. Marc Weissbluth’s Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. If your child currently struggles with naps and bedtimes, Dr. Weissbluth offers reasonable steps you can take to establish healthy sleep patterns. Parents of children who are sleeping well can gain valuable insight on why their approach is working and how to maintain healthy sleep patterns as their child enters different developmental stages.
Dr. Weissbluth is a renowned sleep specialist and pediatrician, founder of the Northwestern Children's Practice, author, and father of four. He is a sleep disorders specialist at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago. In this book, he builds on more than 30 years of research and pediatric experience to explain his step-by-step method for instituting beneficial sleep habits. He highlights research that illuminates why sleep is crucial and key to your child’s development. Some of the important concepts highlighted in this book include:
- Coping with and stopping nightmares, bedwetting, and more
- How daytime sleep differs from night sleep and why both are important to your child
- Ways to get your child to fall asleep according to his internal clock
- The common mistakes parents make to get their children to sleep
- Exploring different sleep cycle needs for different temperaments
- Emphasizing the significance of a nap schedule
As the book’s title suggests, children who are well rested tend to be less irrational, better functioning and more sanguine. Indeed, we are all better versions of ourselves when we are well rested whether we are two or 82.
Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs names sleep as one of human beings most basic physiological requirements, along with food, water, and shelter. As parents, we are eager to provide our children the best food, clothing, and home that we can but are less prepared to know how to guide them to get proper rest. It is important that we help them acquire this skill as we would any other practical life task. After all, sleep is not a phase the child will grow out of, and the goal is to help establish patterns that will stay with children into their adult lives. Dr. Weissbluth encourages parents to establish, regulate and respect their child’s sleep schedule and to give it the highest priority as much as possible. There can be exceptions, but they should not be the rule as a consistent bedtime trumps even a late bedtime.
Another of the lessons Dr. Weissbluth imparts is the method of putting children to bed earlier if you want them to sleep better and for longer periods of time. He points out that often children are kept up too late for a myriad of reasons: perhaps they are engaged in sports or activities outside or inside the home or they are up to spend time with one or both parents when their biological window for sleep is actually much earlier. Weissbluth maintains that, “sleep begets sleep” and posits that the earlier you put your child to bed, the later they will sleep. To those who are skeptical that such strategies work, Dr. Weissbluth explains that “It’s not logical, it’s biological.”
This book is a recommended resource to keep on your shelf. Rest is vital to the healthy growth and development of your child. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child outlines proven strategies that ensure good, healthy sleep for children of any age.
Order a copy of the book today.