ChildForum Office of Pre-Primary Education

ChildForum Office of Pre-Primary EducationLead advisor on early childhood care and education 
National membership 
organisation

Publisher of the New Zealand-International Research in Early Childhood Journal

 

Training Children to Settle Themselves to Sleep - Should We Support Controlled Crying?

© ChildForum

 

Regarding ‘Controlled Crying’. There seems to be a wealth of opinions on this. My concern is the number of new Mums who will resort to extreme strategies to prevent their child from crying and harming themselves. Is there a balanced view on this including some age appropriate guidelines?" (Posted on Facebook by a ChildForum Friend).

childforum.com baby photoHaving a baby who sleeps through the night is often talked about as a sign of success as a parent.

The common method for achieving this is the Controlled Crying technique (also called Controlled Comforting).

It is a conditioning technique designed to alter a child’s behaviour. The child is left, alone to cry for increasingly longer periods of time before comfort is provided until such time as the child can self-settle to sleep at night and not cry, or at least not make noise that wakes others up.

This article gives clarity to conflicting opinions. It discusses the value of the Controlled Crying technique, when and how it should be used, problems with it, and age appropriateness. 

We also discuss its use in childcare and early childhood services. Suggestions for other ways of supporting good sleep and the wellbeing of the child and parents are shared.

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