This is usually not a subject I talk about on the blog, but it’s a good one to bring up. Lately, I read an article about the problems of co-sleeping with your kids, which got me kind of upset. The article implies that experts discourage co-sleeping with kids because they will have development problems and such.
My daughter is 6 and still sleeps with us 98% of the time. When she was a newborn, we had a crib for her, and she slept in it for about 1 week, but after that she just didn’t want to sleep in the crib. We tried making her ‘cry it out’ but we couldn’t endure 3 minutes. Also, we found it much easier to have her sleep with us in the bed. Our bed was a basic IKEA bed with a single, firm mattress so we didn’t have to worry about the baby being smothered.
….and she’s been sleeping with us ever since.
She does have her own bed and occasionally she will sleep in there, sometimes alone, sometimes with daddy, sometimes with daddy on the floor in a sleeping bag, etc. But usually she prefers our bed.
For us, we found that we really liked sleeping with our daughter in bed. In Japan, where my wife is from, it’s actually quite normal to sleep with your children even through grade-school. In Japan, the only difference is that people sleep in futon mattresses on the floor (then fold them up and put them away during daytime to save space), so a family will just lay the futon mattresses side by side on the floor and sleep together. Since homes in Japan are smaller than Amerocan homes, there’s also less space so there are practical reasons too. Also my Indian co-worker told me how as a kid he slept 8 people to a room because life was hard then. Now he’s a manager at a major IT company here in the US.
But, unlike America, there’s no stigma for sleeping with your kids in places like India or Japan. In fact, based on my understanding, most parents in the world sleep with their kids instead of forcing them to sleep alone.
Also, contrary to what some might suggest, my daughter has developed just fine. She gets good grades in school, is fully bilingual (reading too) in Japanese and English, has lots of little friends, and the teachers like her a lot. She loves her parents a lot, and generally listens to what we tell her to do. Plus she’s gentle to younger children and like to help them.
But what about my marriage with my wife? Isn’t that impacted by having kids sleep with us?
Surprisingly no. I was worried about it at first, but because the home life is happy between us and our daughter, I think it makes us happier in general so we get along well. We have to adapt to the fact our daughter sleeps with us, but we both wanted to have her sleep with us, so our marriage has been fine.
Now, since we have a second child coming, and since our daughter is six, she knows that she will have to sleep in her own bed soon. Plus she is tall for her age (and heavy) so she is getting a little too big for out king-sized bed now. We’ve talked to her about it and she understands so she will do the right thing I think. 🙂
Anyhow, if you are a parent and feel that you want to co-sleep with your kids, don’t worry. If you have a loving, structured home, and both parents agree on how they want to raise their kids, then your kids will turn out fine regardless of sleeping habits.