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Source: 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.
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