Sleep training teaches your baby to calm themselves down at night, which helps both child and parent catch some much-needed Zs. While most parents agree that they could use more sleep, sleep training methods have been a major point of debate for parents and experts alike. Here are three of the latest expert-endorsed sleep training methods to consider.
Gradual Extinction Method
This method, also known as the “interval method,” consists of checking in on your child when they start crying at increasingly long intervals, rather than not at all. According to the Sleep Foundation, parents using this method should check in immediately the first few nights, but then gradually increase the time before checking in.
This method allows parents to show their face in their child’s room, reassuring them that you’re close by. However, according to WebMD, parents shouldn’t pick up their baby or stay for more than 2-3 minutes during check-ins. A study published by Pediatrics showed that this method provided significant sleep benefits, and had “no long-term effects on parent-child attachment or child emotions and behavior.”
The Check and Console Method
This method, according to the Sleep Foundation, is similar to the gradual extinction method, but it involves parents checking in before the baby starts crying, instead of after. After putting the baby to sleep, parents should check back in every couple of minutes, to reassure the baby and help them settle down. Parents should gradually increase the time between check-ins until the child eventually falls asleep.
But this method isn’t for everyone. The Sleep Foundation warns that some children will get overly excited when parents check in, which will make them increasingly upset every time they leave.
The ‘Camping Out’ Method
While the above two methods require parents to leave the room as soon as they kiss their baby goodnight, the “camping out” method, according to Raisingchildren.net.au, calls for parents to stay in their child’s room until they fall asleep. At the beginning of the process, you want to stay as close to your baby as possible while they fall asleep. Then, move further and further away each night, until you’re eventually no longer in the room.
According to the Sleep Foundation, parents should provide minimal physical comfort if their baby starts crying. While parents will be able to see their baby cry, they should stick to making reassuring sounds while maintaining physical distance.
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