This is a new series where I am trying to answer common questions from parents and kids about sleep. Some have been submitted by friends, and some by subscribers to my email list. This is a common question: “How long will my child cry during sleep training?”
No parent likes to hear his or her child cry. Some forms of sleep training (extinction or “cry it out (CIO)” strategies) may involve some crying. Parents often want to know how much crying to expect during this process. It is hard to answer this question with precision as it depends on the situation and the child. Some general rules of thumb:
- Older children may take longer to sleep train than younger children
- The second or third night may be the worst night (due to the “extinction burst”)
- Generally, the crying should be getting better by the end of the first week and is usually done by two weeks; if you do not notice improvement in this time frame it may be worth taking a break and revisiting this with your pediatrician.
- Most important: there is no evidence that crying during sleep training hurts children no matter what you read in the shadowy corners of the internet.
In my next video in this series, I’m going to review how you can minimize crying as much as possible.
[Special thanks to Topher Cox, who provided a better edit without even being asked].
You may notice that this videos are a bit more informal than my previous ones. Several weeks ago my friend Lizzie 1 was visiting for college reunion with her little boy. Both she and my wife agreed that I seemed a bit too tightly wrapped in my last videos.
So they challenged me to shoot a bunch of videos on the spot, and also decided that this series will be called “Breakfast with Dr. C”. I think I look goofy, but that is how I look in real life, so it is OK. I will be publishing them during the next few weeks.
Let me know if this is helpful. If you like this, send me questions that YOU would like answered. You can either put them in the comments below, or join my email list and contact me directly. Short, one sentence questions will work best.