Culture of Sleep

Who can sleep well when afflicted with grief, when afraid or in pain? To fall asleep requires relaxation. The inability to fall asleep can create anxiety in both the child and also the caregiver and furthermore - the parents. Rufus’s father, like many parents, is experiencing feelings of worry and insecurity surrounding his son’s new sleeping arrangement. This stress may even cause Rufus’s father himself to encounter disruptions in his own sleep routine. Unlike some situations in life in which promising a reward to an individual can help to motivate behaviour, sleep is not something that can be obtained so easily. Furthermore, threatening penalties and consequences only creates more negative feelings and pressure on both the child and the caregiver, which is, without question, the opposite of relaxation and will certainly not help an adult, nor a child to fall asleep and should be avoided at all costs.  

Security plays a large role in the ability of any person to fall asleep. This being due to the fact that sleep is a defenceless condition and to find sleep requires a feeling of being safe and secure. A child may signal that she is tired but needs companionship or rituals to find sleep. If a child goes to sleep, that is a sign of trust. The drivers of child learning are positive feelings, well-being, and intrinsic motivation. A child who is under stress, under pressure or upset has no willingness to learn.  Children who cry and are on their own because they are denied what they need, do not learn to calm themselves and sleep peacefully. They resign because they feel forced to do so - as a defence mechanism. Therefore, withholding physical and emotional support while falling asleep cannot be called child-friendly education (Siegel D. J., 2018). 

Signs of tiredness

A child becoming tired can be signalled through glassy eyes, a blank stare, rubbing their faces, seeking closeness, whining. All of this can be called a “cry for sleep”.