I don’t believe in co-sleeping. I never have, and it’s pretty safe to say, I never will. If it’s done occasionally, I can understand, such as in situations when my child has a nightmare, or if she isn’t feeling well.
But I just don’t understand how parents are okay with their kid(s) sleeping in their bed with them every night. At what point do you direct the child to his own bed? Does he even have one? Until what age does a child who co-sleeps stay with Mom and Dad in their bed?
I guess more research needs to be done to see the long-term effects of this behavior, but at the very least, the short-term consequences should be examined. (Note: The following represents my opinions only.)
THE CHILD WILL NOT LEARN INDEPENDENCE
If Junior is so used to feeling Mom and Dad near him as he sleeps, wouldn’t he need their presence just to fall asleep?
WOULD HE ALWAYS NEED TO FEEL SOMEONE ELSE THERE TO FEEL MORE SECURE? ARE THE PARENTS DOING IT TO MAKE THEMSELVES FEEL MORE SECURE? IF SO, WHAT LESSON DOES THIS TEACH THE CHILD?
Would he always need to feel someone else there to feel more secure? Are the parents doing it to make themselves feel more secure? If so, what lesson does this teach the child?
CHILDREN DON’T JUST ‘OUTGROW’ CO-SLEEPING ON THEIR OWN
If they had their way, kids would co-sleep with their parents as long as they all fit in the bed. After that, one of the parents would need to relocate to the couch.
IF THE CHILD STILL DOESN’T SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT, THE PARENTS’ SLEEP WILL BE AFFECTED AS WELL
Not sleeping through the night doesn’t just mean crying. It can also include whining, talking during sleep, tossing and turning, kicking, etc.
EVEN IF THE CHILD IS POTTY TRAINED, ACCIDENTS HAPPEN
IF THE CHILD WILL ONLY SLEEP WITH MOM AND DAD, EITHER SHE STAYS UP UNTIL HER PARENTS GO TO BED, OR HER PARENTS FIND THEMSELVES GOING TO BED DURING PRIMETIME TELEVISION
After our kids are in bed, the next two to three hours are all my husband and I have all day to do anything for ourselves, be it watching a movie, catching up on the news, checking email, or just sitting on the couch with our feet up on the coffee table without shouting, “Stop it!”, “Too close to the TV!”, “Don’t hit your sister!” and on and on and on. If they co-slept with us, we would totally lose our minds.
CHILDREN WON’T LEARN DISCIPLINE AND BOUNDARIES
Kids tend to have their own toys, highchair, dishes, and car seats. So why shouldn’t they have their own place to sleep? There needs to be a level of respect taught regarding their own and others’ private space.
When I ask my friends how they feel about co-sleeping, most of them admit that it started as a one-time thing—To Stop Her From Crying or We Needed Sleep. Then the nights stretched to weeks, the weeks to months. Next thing they knew, their child was absolutely unwilling to leave the bed.
WHEN I ASK MY FRIENDS HOW THEY FEEL ABOUT CO-SLEEPING, MOST OF THEM ADMIT THAT IT STARTED AS A ONE-TIME THING—TO STOP HER FROM CRYING OR WE NEEDED SLEEP. THEN THE NIGHTS STRETCHED TO WEEKS, THE WEEKS TO MONTHS. NEXT THING THEY KNEW, THEIR CHILD WAS ABSOLUTELY UNWILLING TO LEAVE THE BED.
We were almost in that situation with Peanut up until recently, but we realized that if we kept going at this rate, she would never leave our bed (for the record, she was sleeping in our bed for only a few weeks–I broke all my rules before coming to my senses).
Now we do this, and stick to it. It wasn’t that much of an adjustment for her, thankfully, but we knew we had pulled back from the precipice just in time. Even though we put up with her crying almost every night, we know it will get easier with time as she learns her own sense of independence and feels secure in her own crib by herself.
Do you believe in co-sleeping with your children? If so, how and when do you transition them out of your bed?