Thursday, April 7, 2011

Evidence-based parenting tips

While parents often lose sleep for years, getting kids to sleep through the night is not hard. Real experiments confirm that the Ferber method — let your baby cry in his crib for 10 minutes, briefly comfort him, leave, repeat — works wonders.

Improving kids’ behavior isn’t hard either. Experiments confirm that clear, consistent, mild discipline — like putting kids in the “Naughty Corner” — works even on difficult kids. The problem is that if parents stop imposing discipline, kids soon revert to their old tricks. ...

In the Ask the Children survey, kids’ main complaint about their parents wasn’t lack of face time, but what I call “secondhand stress” — the fact that their parents were often tired and short-tempered. The upshot: One of the best ways to be a better parent is to give yourself a break. Electronic babysitters like television and video games definitely help: When they take your kids off your hands, they don’t just give you extra time to relax; they makes it easier for you to treat your kids well.
--Bryan Caplan, NYT, on making parenting easier

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