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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Graduated extinction: Babies not species

(Photo by Evan-Amos)
Whereas the gradual extinction of dinosaurs wasn’t all that enjoyable, the graduated extinction of babies can be quite soothing.

Turns out that “graduated extinction” is a lot more upbeat than it sounds.  It simply refers to a “sleep training method in which parents allow babies to cry themselves to sleep.”

“But isn’t that cruel?” some parents might ask.  Not nearly as cruel as glaciers chasing dinosaurs.  And not nearly as cruel as babies not learning how to self-soothe.

Pediatrician Tanya Altmann explains that “self-soothing and sleeping techniques” learned as infants “can stay with them throughout their entire lives.”  Rather than always relying upon others to calm things down, babies can practice defusing their own emotions.

If this seems too harsh (for parents, not necessarily for babies) a technique to try all at once, incremental steps can instead be taken.  Using “bedtime fading” steps, parents can “wait longer and longer periods of time before going back to comfort” their crying babies.

Pediatric psychologist Daniel Lewin reminds parents that “setting a clear and loving limit for your child” allows him or her to “function better.”


Copyright May 26, 2016 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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