I wasn’t planning on co-sleeping with my toddler. One night, it just happened. My toddler had a cold and was having trouble sleeping. Thus, I let him come into our bed. He slept well. I slept well. Everyone slept well. So, the next night, I let him stay in our bed again. Pretty soon, we had a family bed. Here are a few reasons why toddler co-sleeping works for my family.
Sleeping through the Night
When my son hit age two, he had trouble with his diaper leaking, waking up scared in the middle of the night and so on. While babies are a little easier to get back to sleep (in my opinion), toddlers may want to play, have a snack and go through a bedtime routine again. Being up for two hours in the middle of the night caused me to be one tired momma. And, since my daughter had to be at school before 8:00 am, there wasn’t going to be any sleeping in. Yet, once we moved our toddler into our bed, he has been sleeping “like a baby.” He rarely wakes up and when he does, he usually gently drifts back off to sleep. As a result, everyone is happier because we are all sleeping better.
I never co-slept with my kids when they were babies. I was always afraid I would roll on them and this kept me up at night. However, I did keep them right next to me in a bassinet. Yet, when kids are over two, I feel a lot more comfortable with them in my bed. Yet, this doesn’t mean you don’t take safety precautions. Although SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) affects infants who are younger than one year old, a toddler still needs a safe sleeping environment. For instance, we got rid of our bed frame and our new king bed doesn’t require a box spring. Thus, we have a huge bed that is very low to the floor. You can also purchase mesh bed rails to prevent your child from rolling off the bed. Of course, you shouldn’t be co-sleeping if you have been drinking, using drugs or sleeping pills. Obesity, sleep apnea or extreme exhaustion are other reasons you may not be able to co-sleep with your toddler. Finally, make sure there aren’t any gaps between the mattress and the bed frame or the bed and the mesh guard rail.
A lot of people frown upon toddler co-sleeping. Nay-sayers say it will make your child dependent and clingy. Yet, there is a lot of research out there that says otherwise. According to information on the drsears.com website, “co-sleeping babies grow up with a higher self-esteem, less anxiety, become independent sooner,” amongst other benefits.” When my daughter was a toddler, she often slept in the family bed. When she became a preschooler, she transitioned to her bed just fine.
It’s Not for Everyone
I enjoy the togetherness of the family bed. I like waking up and seeing my son’s peaceful face, and the rhythmic rise and fall of his chest. Yet, co-sleeping with a toddler may not be for everyone. Some people like their bed to be child-free and enjoy their nightly alone time or time with their spouse. I make sure to fit in date nights and couple time with the hubby to make sure we still have plenty of one-on-one (including well, you know) time.
For the time being, toddler co-sleeping is working well for our family! Remember, these are only tips and should not replace professional advice.
More from Melissa:
Let Your Kids Be Bored (Sometimes)….It’s Good for Them
How to Stop Being a Whiny Parent
4 Reasons to Stop Nagging Your Kids