Co-sleeping is when children sleep in their parents’ bed for a sense of security and the close physical contact. Co-sleeping can involve both small and older children, but there are many different views on whether parents should share a bed with their children, and there are no right or wrong answers!
We have put together a number of advantages and disadvantages related to co-sleeping, which may help clarify whether your child should sleep in their own bed or in yours.
What age should a child sleep in their own bed?
There isn't a perfect answer for this, as every child is different at every age. Co-sleeping can often help your baby get to sleep, therefore it may be more practical to have your baby within easy reach. As a new parent you can then react instinctively to accommodate your baby’s needs when they cry.
For example, you can breastfeed while lying in bed, which is often advantageous for both you and your child. It means that you can take care of, and be close to your child, without having to go to their bedroom several times during the night.
The Pros of Co-sleeping - strengthening the bond
It can be hard to get your child to fall asleep, but by simply touching them gently you lower the child’s heart rate, pulse and blood pressure. This has a positive effect and helps your child calm down more easily.
When you sleep with an infant, you also send out important breathing signals, which reminds the child that she/he should remember to inhale after exhaling. This is one of the ways in which co-sleeping enhances the attachment between you and your child.
Is a shared bedroom with your children a good idea?
However, co-sleeping is not necessarily only an advantage. There is a chance that the quality of your sleep will be impaired if the slightest sound or movement in the bed wakes you up. There is also the risk that your child will find it hard to get used to sleeping in their own bed later in life.
So one solution is to place your child’s bed in your bedroom. This means you can still guarantee attention and presence, but you can still spread out in your own bed.
The pros of children sharing a bedroom
Co-sleeping does not only refer to children sleeping in their parents bed. Siblings who share a bedroom tend to exhibit less sibling jealousy.
When children sleep in the same room or share a bunk bed, they often feel more secure than when sleeping alone in their own bedroom. So having children sleeping in the same bedroom means that they learn to respect each other, and therefore creates a stronger emotional bond.