Eric Christian Olsen on Sleep Training His Son: ‘Your Heart Just Breaks a Little’

11/02/2015 at 03:30 PM ET

Eric Christian Olsen and his wife, actress Sarah Wright, recently found out that their 2-year-old son Wyatt Oliver is definitely a people person in the most adorable way possible.

“We went to a playground and there were eight kids there. And he went around hugging all the other kids,” the NCIS: Los Angeles star, 38, told PEOPLE at the Environmental Media Awards in Los Angeles on Oct. 24.

“Our kid’s the hugger. He’s the one smiling and hugging people. He’s like the best golden retriever puppy you’ve ever seen. He’s endlessly happy.”

Eric Christian Olsen Sarah Wright
Michael Simon/Startraks

Well, not always. The couple, who have been co-sleeping with Wyatt, recently had him transition to his own bed, which ended in some tears and heart break.

“The first night of full sleeping, he was crying a few times, but then went back to sleep,” shares Wright, 32. “The next morning I went in and said, ‘Wyatt, how did you sleep?’ And he was like, ‘Good. Wyatt was crying.’ I went, ‘Why was Wyatt crying?’ And he said, ‘Wyatt was sad. Wyatt wanted to talk to Dada.’ ”

Says Olsen, “Your heart just breaks. He just wanted to hang out. They’re so emotionally aware at 2 years of age that it’s terrifying. You have a real human on your hands.”

RELATED VIDEO: Celeb Moms Spill: The Ups and Downs of Breastfeeding

Olsen, who presented the EMA Children’s TV award to Miles from Tomorrowland at the gala, adds that having his son has made him become even more environmentally conscious.

“I think you can be selfish about your own choices knowing it just reflects you, but once you have a kid, you have to be responsible and you have to make the right choices for them,” explains Olsen. “He’s walking into a world that, if we don’t change the way we live, is going to be a very different place in 20 years.”

— Matthew Cole Weiss

Share this story:

Your reaction:

Add A Comment reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.

Showing 12 comments

Shawna on

Your heart breaks because it’s supposed to break! Because parents aren’t supposed to leave their child to cry for no good reason. I transitioned all 3 of my kids to sleeping fine on their own with no crying it out at all. They are now 10, 13, and 15 and have no sleep issues at all. Crying it out is what lazy parents do because they don’t want to actually parent.

Anonymous on

@Shawna, while I am vehemently against CIO as it is known, I also believe that at 2, a little fussing is OK. We’ve been transitioning our 2 year old for 4 months. Finally, last week, I couldn’t take the laying on the floor next to him for 1+ hours. I gave him a kiss, told him I loved him, I’ll be there come to him when he wakes up. He whimpered for about 10 minutes the first night. It was a whimper, not a cry, and still slightly heartbreaking. Perhaps this is what Eric is talking about.

And yes, I want to burn all the books by Wisebluth, Ferber, and that Baby Whisperer trash!

Yasmine on

@Shawna – I’m thinking that if they bed-shared for 2 years, it wasn’t CIO in the Ferber/Wisebluth sense. I’ve spent the last 4 months transitioning my 2 y.o. from falling asleep nursing/in bed sharing mode to falling asleep in his own bed. I’ve become fed up with the 1.5 hours of laying on the floor next to him. Last week, I gave him a kiss, told him I love him, I’ll come to him when he wakes up, and I left the room. He whimpered for 10 minutes. It wasn’t the sad painful cry of CIO, but rather a whining, “you’re really doing this?!?!?!?! I hate you!” The next night it was 7 minutes, and last night is was 5 minutes. Yes, it’s heartbreaking, but it wasn’t a pained cry, and it wasn’t for no good reason. Perhaps this is what Eric meant.

And I also believe that Wisebluth/Ferber/The Baby Whisperer are all disgusting!

Song4Ten on

He could have saved himself the heartbreak by having Wyatt sleep in his own bed from day 1…

Anonymous on

Shawna, do you want a medal, you self righteous bitch?

Arii on

Well Shawna, surely you realize that you are a perfect parent and no other parent could possibly be as wise. Please forgive the commoners for their horrific parenting skills. (Insert 1,000 eye rolls.)

Emily on

Song4ten- maybe, but I know for me, it felt completely unnatural and against all my mother instincts to separate from my baby for hours at a time at night. I was also BFing. Both my girls slept between us until about 5 months old, then moved to their crib with no issues. I trusted my instincts and it worked perfectly for us. Parenting is not one size fits all. Lots of trial and error!

Anonymous on

Song4Ten- There’s nothing wrong with co-sleeping (and really, kids sleeping on their own is a fairly modern phenomena. Kids routinely shared a bed with a sibling or two back in pioneer days, and before that it was the norm for entire families- overnight guests included!- to share beds! And both are STILL the norm in some countries!), as long as you do it safely (i.e., use a co-sleeping crib).

Anonymous on

Perhaps if he stayed in his room from birth, instead of ‘hanging out’ at bedtime you wouldn’t be feeling such heartache. There’s a reason there is a bedroom for him that you likely purchased a crib or a bed for.

Kara on

They just want to be Wyatt’s best friends and allow him absolutely everything – he is the little king of the family and it will end up in tears in a few years. And that shallow woman thinks she has enough experience to teach other parents how to be good parents on a blog, darling, you spend your time on social media taking selfies and publishing disguised advertising, grow up first, get some experience and then come back with your supposed knowledge only in your own mind. All new mothers think they know better, it is irritating.

Anonymous on

I think it’s so cute how Wyatt went around hugging the other kids!

Angelica on

The way his son talks is so cute, he is remarkably smart for that young age, so happy for his family.