Wednesday October 17, 2012
High-need children require different methods of intervention.
A HIGH-NEED child is also sometimes known as a spirited or intense child. If you have one, you’ll know it. He’s the loudest baby in the nursery; the one who sits in one place only if held down by a safety harness; the one who never, ever seems to sleep.
If you’d like to be sure, check out Ask Dr Sears for the definition of a high-need child at www.askdrsears.com/topics/fussy-baby/high-need-baby/12-features-high-need-baby.
Elaine Ho’s first child, J, is a high-need child. She shared some of the lessons she’d learnt in her never-ending battle for sleep (for her and her son). It’s by no means an exhaustive list, just what works for J through trial and error, and information she gained from lots and lots of reading.
Note that these tips are to be used in addition to the basic sleep tips for “regular” kids, already highlighted here: http://parenthots.com/features/9-Sleep-tips-for-babies-and-toddlers.aspx
Tip #1: Accept that he’s different
Do not be swayed by your friends’ stories of how their four-month-old baby now sleeps through the night thanks to the “cry-it-out” method. That does not work at all with a high-need baby, and he’ll end up hurting himself, or you’ll be crying with him till dawn. High-need kids are simply wired differently from other kids. The quicker you accept that, the faster you can look for what winds him up, and what can wind him down.
Tip #2: Planning is paramount
Imagine that the child is like switch. For a high-need child, that switch is a very, very loose one that flips “On” at the slightest touch, but takes a lot of effort to flip back to “Off.” It takes a lot of time and effort to wind him down for sleep, so you should schedule your day with enough buffer time before bed to allow the child to wind down.
Tip #3:Where to sleep?
Very likely, his favourite place would be next to you. The high-need child loves his parents to bits and wants to be near them -all the time. They are also terrible sleepers who wake up very often throughout the night, so it’s less disruptive to your own sleep if you can just reach over to cuddle him back to sleep … if he’ll let you. Some need more vigorous rocking that Ho has come to know as the sleep “dance,” or the “mummy-no-sleep-dance.” Ho’s high-need child now sleeps in his own room, but can only sleep through the night if one of his parents is next to him.
For more tips, go to ParenThots.
How To Con Your Kid is essentially a quick reference parenting guide with tips and ideas on how to encourage your child to get on with their daily routines. Superbaby is a compendium of rudimentary tools – making it a good “first read” if you haven’t yet explored other child-thrive books.
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