What is Sleep Training for children?

As a new parent, one of the biggest challenges you may face is getting your baby to sleep through the night. Sleep training is a method of teaching your baby to fall asleep on their own and stay asleep through the night. There are different modalities of sleep training, but in general, the term "sleep training" refers to methods you can use to cultivate your child's independence as it relates to sleep.

Through sleep training, parents can teach their child how to fall asleep independently. This promotes the general development and personal growth of the child because it allows them to stop relying on external factors, such as rocking, feeding/nursing, and/or a parent's presence in the room in order to fall asleep or go back to sleep after awakening during the night.

Some popular methods of sleep training include:

  • Extinction (Also known as Cry It Out) - After ensuring that all basic needs of the child have been met, the parent puts the child in his/her crib awake and walks out. The idea behind this method is that the undesired behavior (in this case, fussing or crying) is "extinguished" by not responding to the behavior.
  • Graduated Extinction (Also known as the Ferber method) - This is similar to the Extinction method, however; this involves "check-ins" with the child at defined intervals.
  • Various other methods include the Chair method, Bedtime-routine fading, and more.

Once sleep training is complete, both parents and child will enjoy the long-term benefits of uninterrupted nights of sleep. Sleep training allows your child to learn many skills, such as self-soothing, that promote healthy habits both during sleep as well as during basic activities of daily living. It is important to remember that sleep training is not for everyone. It is a highly personal choice that depends on every individual family's structure, needs, and preferences as it relates to child-rearing. Parents who wish to sleep train their child, or who may be curious about sleep training, should seek out the resources and guidance necessary to do so by consulting with their child's pediatrician.

Published on: 3/29/2023

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