You Can Lead A Child To Bed But You Can't Make Her Sleep

You can lead a child to bed but you can’t make her sleep.

Magda Gerber, the founder of Resources for Infant Educarers, or RIE™ approach to child care, taught parents and caregivers how to be “sensitive observers.” Simply put, the sensitive observer is peaceful, calm and completely present. This is true “quality time” when we are not “doing” but simply “being” with the child. Needless to say, this is easier said than done. This practice requires the adult to slow down and be mindful of the child’s pace, the child’s interests, the child’s rhythm. Through sensitive observation we are laying the groundwork for good communication with our children. As we slow down and observe our children we begin to understand who they are rather than who we want them to be. By truly seeing them we begin to recognize and address their needs.

This RIE™ principle is especially helpful when it comes to sleep issues in early childhood. Magda encouraged parents to look for the “soft signs” of sleep. By the time the infant or toddler is yawning and rubbing their eyes they are often over tired. If the night time ritual isn’t started until these signs show up there is sure to be crying by the time the routine is finished or even worse the dreaded “second wind,” where the child appears to lose all signs of sleepiness and may be alert and playful until late in the evening. Therefore, we must become very keen in our observations of what our individual child’s “soft signs” of sleep are and when is the best time to “lead your child to sleep.”

During the Compassionate Sleep Solutions™ class we will explore the following questions.

  • What are some of the soft signs of sleep?
  • Is the child’s environment conducive to sleep?
  • How is ritual and routine helpful with supporting peaceful sleep?
  • How might our feelings and attitudes toward sleep affect our child’s sleep?
  • Is our compassion or our confidence in our child’s capabilities enough?

Join Eileen Henry, RIE™ Associate and founder and director of Compassionate Sleep Solutions™ for a fun and informative exploration of how we can better facilitate our child’s peaceful and healthy sleep patterns.