From the time they are born, your children take up a large amount of real estate in your thoughts. One of the things I come back to again and again as a mother is the wondering and worrying over how the choices I make for my children today will affect them down the road. Almost no subject is off limits when my mind starts pondering this. It's hard to imagine that events that they will likely never remember may influence their future; even learning to sleep on their own. But how cry it out positively affects kids later in life, is a subject researchers have been exploring, and the results may be surprising.
Sleeping and sleep training is a hot topic in the parent world. The landscape of this discussion is packed with strong opinions on both sides of the argument. Everyone has their right to be passionate about their beliefs, and letting a little one cry it out is certainly a hot button for some. However, among those who sing the praises of this method, it's not just personal opinions fueling their decisions. Experts in the field are reporting that not only can cry it out work, but it may be a beneficial building block for kids in the long run, according to the Baby Sleep Sight.
You may be wondering, How can letting my child cry bring about any good results? No parent wants to feel they have intentionally caused distress for their baby. But as Baby Center's website pointed out, the foundation this method is built on is teaching your child to self soothe at nighttime. It is believed that this is a skill that transfers to other times and situations as well. Building upon the self soothing skills your child learns as a baby could prepare them to calm themselves in other situations that feel overwhelming.
Aside from the ability to manage their feelings in tough situations, crying it out is believed to halt a popular form of child manipulation: crying to get what they want. According to the website for What To Expect, "by six months babies are wise to the fact that crying often results in being picked up, rocked, or fed — pretty good motivation to keep on wailing." Since this behavior can happen at all hours of the day, learning at bedtime that crying won't convince mom to let baby stay up later will set a standard that crying won't help little ones get their way.
Perhaps the most comforting news parents who want to use the cry it out method can take comfort in, is that their baby is under no more stress than babies who are not crying it out at bedtime. As CNN reported, a study out of Australia found that the stress hormone, cortisol, was lower in babies whose parents sleep trained. Not only that, but these same babies had no more behavioral problems or attachment issues than those who were not part of the cry it out sleep training method.
Even though cry it out has some positive outcomes, you still may not be comfortable with the method. That's OK, there are others out there you may prefer. But for those who think this will work for their family, move on with confidence no matter what the haters say. Stay focused on the long term goals and remember all the benefits your child can experience from this choice.