It’s not just babies sleeping with Mom and Dad, it’s toddlers and older kids, too … but is that OK? And what happens to Mom and Dad if they’re rarely alone together?
Cosleeping is a hot-button topic for plenty of parents. Some are dead set against it and others do it with their babies and toddlers … and even older kids. Parents against cosleeping site sleep issues as the number one reason why they’re against cosleeping with kids.
“You need to be consistent from day one,” says Jennifer Barr of Nashville. “If you don’t make it clear with your little one when he’s a toddler that ‘this is YOUR bed and this is MOMMY’S bed,” you open the door for issues.”
When kids of 2 or 3 come pattering into their parents room night after night many moms and dads will pull them into bed with them and before long the child is 5 and Mommy and Daddy’s bed is HIS.
Experts estimate that about 15 percent of families have children ages 5 and older whom they share a bed for part or all of the night, several times a week. There are plenty of parents who sleep with kids 7 and older, but it seems the older the child, the quieter parent are about it.
Whatever your situation, here are some current thinkings on cosleeping:
• NOTHING WRONG WITH IT
Experts say there’s nothing wrong with sharing a bed with your children as long as Mom and Dad can still have intimate time for themselves. ”If both parents agree on the arrangement and everyone gets enough sleep, cosleeping is absolutely fine,” says Jodi Mindell, Ph.D., a psychologist and vice chair of the board of directors for the National Sleep Foundation. “It’s a choice that families make.” If one of the parents isn’t happy with the situation though, you may want to find a better sleep solution for your child.
• SLEEPLESS IN MUSIC CITY
Playing musical beds is a nightly routine in plenty of homes, says Jennifer Waldburger, coauthor of The SleepEasy Solution. Plenty of parents want their kids out of their beds and into their own but can’t make it happen. All of this up, down, up, down causes a lot of lost sleep. If this is the case in your house, it may be time to put your foot down with your child.
• SEPARATION ISSUES
When kids aren’t doing the things they should by themselves by certain ages, separation issues may be going on at home. Not learning to fall asleep on their own — or do other things for themselves — holds kids back. When kids rely on their parents too much for this, that and the other thing, more separation is needed.
• ADOLESCENCE IS GOLDEN
Most experts agree that kids should be sleeping on their own by adolescence. For kids entering puberty, cosleeping can be uncomfortable, confusing, and even inappropriate, says Valerie Levine, Ph.D., author of Break the Cosleeping Habit.