Infants and toddlers (N = 33) exhibiting spontaneous awakening and crying episodes during the night were randomly assigned to one of three groups: scheduled awakenings, systematic ignoring or control. Scheduled awakenings consisted of a parent arousing and feeding or consoling the child 15 to 60 minutes before typical spontaneous awakenings. Once spontaneous awakenings were precluded, scheduled awakenings by parents were gradually eliminated. Systematic ignoring consisted of allowing the child to "cry it out" without parental attention except to ensure physical well-being of their child. Children in the scheduled awakening group and the systematic ignoring group awoke and cried less frequently than children in the control group during 8 weeks of treatment and during two follow-up checks, 3 and 6 weeks after treatment. Systematic ignoring was found to be more effective than the scheduled awakenings condition during 1 week of treatment; otherwise effects of the two conditions were similar. Implications of the use of these treatment procedures are discussed.
- Received December 1, 1986.
- Accepted March 11, 1987.
- Copyright © 1988 by the American Academy of Pediatrics