Should you immediately respond to the baby’s cry?
To wait until the child calms down by himself/herself or to react immediately? We know that babies can demand the attention of adults almost constantly, but is it harmful to them not to receive this attention as soon as they demand it?
Warwick University psychologists have done the research to understand how the use of certain techniques affects children’s behavior when they reach the age of one to three years. 178 children and their parents took part in the research.
Adults were interviewed about how often their child cries. Parents also talked about how they acted when they heard the baby’s crying during the different periods of their child’s development – from when the child was born to the age of one and a half years. The researchers evaluated both the behavior of the participating children and the degree of attachment formed between them and their parents.
What conclusions did the researchers come to?
- Firstly, the results of the study showed that today newborns are rarely left to cry, but as the child grows older, adults slowly begin to give it time to calm down on his/her own, gradually increasing this time.
- Secondly, there was no difference in behavioral development between those 1.5-year-old children who were not allowed to cry alone and those who were given time and opportunity to calm down without parents’ help. In addition, the fact that adults left their children to cry had no effect on attachment between them.
Mostly, parents intuitively adapt to the child and his/her needs.
In addition, experts found that children whose parents did not always react baby’s cry immediately, at the age of one and a half years did not cry as long as children from another group – such actions allow children to develop initial self-regulation skills.
The authors of the study noted that they do not encourage parents to leave their children to cry alone or, conversely, to respond immediately.