Children's Sleep

Sources: Papers On Health

This most important matter of good sleep for the

child depends not only on health of body but on ease of the infant's

mind. It is wrong to treat the child otherwise than through the

understanding, where he is afraid, or in a strange place. Waking up,

after being put to sleep in a strange room, the little one may receive

a shock which may prevent sleep for the rest of the night. If he be

patiently soothed and matters explained, all will be well; but it is a

great cruelty to thrash or threaten in such a case. To frighten a child

with ghost stories, or "Bogies," IS TO COMMIT A SERIOUS CRIME. It is

not dealt with by the law, but it certainly deserves to be. Never bring

before a child's mind any imaginary terrors; rather teach it to

understand them in such a way as to remove any cause of fear. But do

not force a child to examine an object which it fears, you may do

terrible damage before you can explain. All fears should be most

carefully dealt with, and no force employed; the little one who has no

imaginary terrors, and is kindly taught to think every fearful image at

bottom some innocent cloak or shadow, will sleep soundly and grow

healthy in mind.

When, however, ill-health is the cause of wakefulness, other means must

be used. Cold feet, and chilly feelings generally, frequently keep

children from sleep. Pack in such cases the lower limbs up to the waist

in thick folded flannel FOMENTATION (see). This will often not only

give sleep, but prevent more serious trouble. All soothing powders and

narcotic drugs should be most strictly avoided.

Often the child is sleepless from feverish heat instead of coldness;

then cooling applications should be used (see Children in Fever).

These may take the form of two caps for the head of thickest cotton

cloth: one, tight fitting, to be wrung out of cold water and put on,

the other, looser and dry, to be put on over the first. This alone will

often secure a night's sleep. Or the head may be soaped (see Head,

Soaping). It is inadvisable to rock a child to sleep, it will go to

sleep if comfortable.