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Your Questions On Spanking, Siblings and Sleep Training, Answered

A collage of a clock and a crib surrounded by stamps and stationary elements.

Most parents will admit to winging it once in a while. Who has time to research studies on sleep training when you aren't getting any sleep?

Enter Emily Oster. The Brown University economics professor built her career on data-driven parenting. She looks at the studies and translates them for tired parents. Oster has published three parenting books — one on pregnancy and the early years, one on toddlers, and her most recent on school-aged children, which we covered on Life Kit.

We posed three of your anonymous parenting questions to Oster for Dear Life Kit. Watch the videos below to hear her data-informed responses.

On spacing between children

"What's the best age gap between siblings? My daughter is about to turn one, and I see so many people start trying for a second baby around this time. I'd like to give my body a break, but I want our kids to have a close relationship. Is it OK to wait a while?" — Age Gap, ASAP?

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On sleep training

"Dear Life Kit, My infant is too young to sleep train, but I've heard I should put them down drowsy but awake to prepare for better sleep in the future. It's not working for us. How important is that suggestion?" — Soothing To Sleep

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On spanking

"Dear Life Kit, We always talked about not spanking our kids, but since we hit the terrible twos, spanking has become a thing in our house. I think my husband resorts to that more often than he should. I do spank my son, but not as hard or as often as my husband. It's driving a huge wedge between us." — Stressed About Spanking

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Have a question you want answered by Life Kit? Submit it here.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bronson Arcuri is a video producer at NPR, where he directs the "Planet Money Shorts" video series and helps out with Tiny Desk Concerts from time to time. He also produced "Elise Tries" and "Ron's Office Hours" along with the "Junior Bugler" series, which he still insists was "pretty good for what it was."
Becky Harlan is a visual and engagement editor for NPR's Life Kit.
Trish Pickelhaupt