How can I study in bed

The psychologist Anette Kast-Zahn is the author of a book that many tired parents have picked up on. After all, the title promises a lot: "Every child can learn to sleep". in the Süddeutsche.de-Interview reveals how parents make it easier for their children to fall asleep and stay asleep without the little ones having to fear being alone in the dark.

Süddeutsche.de: You have been working for decades with parents who have been sleeping over night and whose children do not sleep What absurd tricks do some fathers and mothers use to finally bring their little ones to rest?

Anette Kast-Zahn: A couple had a hair dryer over the bed that had to run for half an hour until the child slept. Even several times at night. And he actually had to blow, only the sound from the CD didn't work. Another father, 1.90 meters tall, always squeezed into the cot. A mother was lying on the lambskin in front of it. That sounds strange, but they were all loving parents trying to get their child to sleep.

Süddeutsche.de: Still you failed?

Kast tooth: Yes, because it didn't get any better that way. The problem wasn't that the children couldn't fall asleep, every child can. After all, like eating, sleeping is a natural need. But these children had learned that they can only fall asleep with the usual ritual and in the presence of their parents. This is a problem not only in the evening, but also at night.

Süddeutsche.de: Why?

Kast tooth: Every child wakes up several times during the night and checks whether everything is in order while half asleep. This is completely normal. For the child, however, okay means that everything is as it was when falling asleep. So if it finds that the bottle is missing, that it is no longer resting on the parents' arms, or that the hairdryer is switched off, it sounds the alarm. We would also have a problem if our pillow suddenly disappeared at night.

Süddeutsche.de: So how can parents get their children used to it without falling asleep?

Kast tooth: Just knowing that every child can fall asleep without a parent and consequently sleep through the night is a great help for many. Of course, this does not mean that the baby should be alone in bed from day one. The very little ones often twilight in their arms or while drinking. After eight to twelve weeks, however, it makes sense to put the still awake but tired child to bed instead of carrying it around. When it cries, mother or father sit by and show by stroking and speaking softly that they are still there. If the baby does not calm down, give him a brief hug. But when it stops crying, they put it back in bed. In this way, the baby gradually learns that it can also fall asleep in bed. And finds himself in the familiar falling asleep situation when he wakes up.

Süddeutsche.de: What do you think of the pacifier as a sleep aid?

Kast tooth: Babies can easily find their thumbs again, of course, but not the pacifier that has rolled out. Nevertheless, it is very good for falling asleep and many children no longer need it at night. But if parents have to get up six times to look for the pacifier, they should consider how useful it is.

Süddeutsche.de: Not only do the parents wake up, it is also exhausting for the children.

Kast tooth: This is mostly overlooked by parents when such exhausting sleeping habits have become entrenched. If children can restore their sleep conditions themselves while half asleep, the quality of their night's sleep also increases. If, on the other hand, you notice that something is wrong and you cry, you are awake for the time being.