Why are Child Sleep Books So Extreme?

SleepWe’ve been having some sleep issues at home recently, so my wife borrowed a few sleep books from the library. One thing I have noticed is that they all seems so extreme! It’s basically all or nothing, with one book stating that you should leave your child to cry for up to 1 hour without comforting them.

We’re first time parents going through this with a 9 month old that has just learnt to stand in his cot, crawl everywhere and no doubt starting to get separation anxiety when put in his room alone. We don’t think that we need to be this extreme.

We plan on taking in some of the advice common to most books, such as a defined and repeated bed-time routine of dinner, bath, story, lullaby, bed. But we’re not prepared to just let our son cry himself to sleep, but taking him into his room and preparing for bed and allowing him to protest and cry about being there while being held, then once he understands that we’re not giving in he tends to calm down and give in.

Once we’ve got to this point we will lay him down in his cot and gently pat an reassure him until he’s almost asleep.

Are we doing this all wrong? Is the all or nothing approach of these books the only way to go? Are we too nice as parents?

I’d love to hear your real life experiences in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Why are Child Sleep Books So Extreme?

  1. No you are not too nice.
    Very normal parents.
    After having a wonderful, perfect first child. We ended up with an absolute horror of a second child. We love him dearly and wouldn't change him for the world. But oh gosh! That first three years was an absolute blur.
    We too read through countless books, tried all the 'tricks of the trade' but alas. The force was strong with this one.
    In the end, we continued rocking and patting and letting him sleep in our bed. No we didn't create a rod for our backs. They don't sleep in our bed forever.
    That is what worked for us in the end and I do believe there is more harm being done when they are left to cry for long periods, like some of the books tend to suggest. We continued with your 'defined and repeated' routine, it provided some sense of normalcy for us and him.
    My advice, read as much as you want, get as much info as you can from other parents/people/chn's BUT at the end of the day, do what works for you!
    I am happy to report that we had a third child. Who was THE polar opposite of her brother.

  2. The way I see it is that life is a tough gig. All children really want is to know the boundaries. Once they hit one, and they'll take a little while banging away at it, they'll accept it and be happy. Otherwise they just keep pushing and pushing until they are either exhausted and give in or keep on going until they hurt themselves or others. As parents we too have to do things we don't particularly like, but like the old saying goes 'some things look sweet and yet are really poison, while others which at first taste like poison are in the long run really sweet'.
    So learning early where the acceptable boundary is for the environment and society we live in gives children a real benefit. They learn quickly how to play the game of life and get the most out of it.
    Look how 'harsh' I was as a parent, and both of you turned out just fine. xxx

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