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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.
Trish Pickelhaupt/NPR

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 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Becky Harlan is a visual and engagement editor for NPR's Life Kit.
Trish Pickelhaupt