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Debunking the Crying Myth: A Nuanced Approach to Sleep Training

In the realm of parenting, few topics stir as much debate as sleep training. One common misconception looms large: the belief that effective sleep training always entails a lot of crying. Let's debunk this myth and explore a more nuanced approach to nurturing healthy sleep habits in our little ones.

Misconception: If You Don't Hear Crying, It's Not Effective Sleep Training

The prevailing belief suggests that the effectiveness of sleep training hinges on the volume of tears shed. However, this couldn't be further from the truth. Every child is unique, and their responses to sleep training vary widely. While some may protest loudly, others may adapt more quietly.

Expert Tip: Utilizing the Cry Scale

One invaluable tool in our toolkit is the cry scale. By observing and assessing the nuances of a child's cries, we gain insight into their emotional state and level of distress. This allows us to provide targeted support and intervention, fostering a sense of security and trust throughout the sleep training process.

Cry Level



No crying at all


Minimal whimpers, coos, or grunts


Gentle or intermittent cries (roller coaster, self-soothing)


Mid-level cries, your average "I need something" cry


Increased level cries, may sound more frustrated


Very intense, top of the scale cries


Shrill cry (not typical in program, indicates immediate need)

This cry scale serves as a valuable tool for understanding and assessing the emotional state and needs of children during the sleep training process. It allows us to provide tailored support and intervention, ensuring a compassionate and effective approach to nurturing healthy sleep habits.

The Reality: Understanding Individual Needs

At Parenting Practice, we acknowledge and honor the individuality of each child. We understand that crying is a natural form of communication, but it doesn't necessarily reflect the success or failure of sleep training. Our approach is rooted in compassion and observation, allowing us to tailor support to meet the unique needs of every child.

Mama's Insight: Embracing Compassion

As a parent myself, I've learned firsthand the importance of embracing compassion in the journey of sleep training. It's natural to feel unsettled when our little ones express their discomfort, but it's essential to trust in the process and remain empathetic to their needs. Remember, you're not alone in this journey.

Let's challenge the notion that effective sleep training equates to a lot of crying. By adopting a more nuanced understanding and responding with compassion, we can support our children in developing healthy sleep habits that promote their overall well-being. Together, let's redefine the narrative surrounding sleep training and cultivate a culture of empathy and understanding.


Meet the Author: Hi I’m Natalie Zaun - Mama of two, soon to be three, little girls and a certified pediatric sleep specialist! I have my Masters in Special Education and Elementary Education and love that I get to combine my passion and education into helping families. My goal is to not only equip all families with the resources and support to obtain great sleep, following the comfort of their child, but also empower families to enjoy this season of parenthood! 

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