A Novel Way to Help Your Infant Sleep Better

When it comes to helping infants and toddlers sleep through the night, it turns out being emotionally receptive may be more important than sticking to a routine, according to Penn State researchers.

The study found that children slept the best when parents responded to their children’s cues, such as losing interest in an activity or glancing at their parent for attention, appropriately.

For instance, one child slept better when her mother made continuous eye contact and reassuring statements while breastfeeding. On the other hand, the child of a mother who “used stern directives with her 24-month-old during book-reading whenever the child got up out of bed," had a more difficult time falling asleep.

ScienceDaily reports:

“When parents provide reassurance through emotional communication, [researchers] believe that it lets children know they are in a safe environment … His findings pose new challenges to parents because they suggest that being emotionally available — paying attention to cues and responding to children appropriately — is more effective than a specific bedtime behavior in promoting better sleep.”

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