The practice of kids sharing the bed with their parents is common in many countries. Some parents will find it very comfortable and the most natural and ideal thing to do, while others will find it not right and are totally against it. For partners who are away from home during the day working, sharing a bed with their kids during the night allows them to spend extra time with them. This makes it right for them but others will still disapprove of this practice.
Bed-sharing with infants and toddlers is a common practice with many mothers because of the advantages that come with doing so. The nurturing and closeness that happens during the night helps in the creation of a stronger relationship between the baby and its parents. The infant gets to feed during the night and the mother sleeps comfortably beside their child.
Another great thing about sharing the bed with an infant is that the child hardly wakes up crying during the night because they are well fed and feeling the cozy warmth of their mother. This is very unlike when they sleep alone in their crib where they tend to wake up a lot during the night.
Infants who share the bed with their parents been known to breastfeed for longer periods compared to babies who sleep alone. This also allows the mother to tend to the baby quickly if they start coughing or crying or when they need a diaper change during the night. The mother can also monitor the baby if he is sick and tend to them accordingly and easily.
It is also widely believed that babies who bed-share with their parents are more independent, more confident as children and more outgoing. When they become adults they also tend to have a higher self-esteem and acquire better stress-management abilities. They also get more comfortable when it comes to intimacy compared to their adult counterparts who slept alone when they were kids. It is however, very important to note that sleeping arrangements when one is a kid, are not the only determinant of how a person turns out. There is a lot more involving character-shaping than just bed-sharing. It is also important to note that bed-sharing will not influence the baby to sleep throughout the night because there are other factors contributing to that.
It is not all good when it comes to parents bed-sharing with their kids. There are a few problems that arise. Some of them are as follows:-
The parents might not have a quiet and comfortable night sleep often times thanks to wriggling, kicking and squirming kids in the bed. Many children toss, turn and they kick and wriggle when snuggled against the parent. This is never comfortable and many parents, who have experienced this, when asked, would prefer to sleep on their own.
When kids get used to falling asleep next to their parents, they often have trouble sleeping in the event that the parents leave them with a relative or a babysitter. This can leave the kid distressed a lot and make it difficult for whoever is minding them. The kid will insist on waiting for his parents to show up in bed so they can sleep and a case of tantrum throwing following, will not be surprising.
Sometimes kids have bed-shared with their parents for too long that when it comes to them transferring to their own bed; the process becomes too drawn-out and difficult. This is of course caused by the kids’ resistance and their preference to continue sleeping in their parents’ bed. Bed times become very unpleasant for both the kids and parents during the transition period and when they finally overcome their desire to bed-share with their parents, they will have gone through a lot of emotional turmoil.
The love life of the parents will definitely be affected when they share their bed with their kids. With a kid or kids in bed, it is no doubt impossible to have that earth-shaking lovemaking. Many parents will be careful not to disturb their sleeping kids or they will simply find another location where they can let their passions run wild. Some parents will avoid making love altogether because with the kids in bed, the urge to do so isn’t there. In some cases both or one parent might resent the fact that they have to make this sort of compromise, because they are bed-sharing with their kids. Less love making for married parents might actually affect their marriage negatively.
Sometimes the parents could be infected with dangerous infectious health conditions and sleeping with their children could pass these conditions to them. This makes bed sharing with children very dangerous.
There are parents who smoke, take alcohol, drugs or medication and they bed-share with their kids. Such arrangements can be dangerous too to the health of the kids especially infants. There have been cases where smoking parents caused the kids to inhale smoke or parents slept on their children and suffocated them because they were drunk or on heavy medication drugs. If parents indulge in any of the above, bed-sharing with their kids should be avoided.
Children who are used to co-sleeping with their parents will often times fail to go to sleep without either one of the parents. This will force the parents to go to bed even when they don’t feel like sleeping, so that their child can fall asleep. With the current times where parents even have to bring work home, in most cases they will have to soothe their child first by lying down with the child before embarking on the work they brought home.
In the event that there is divorce, separation or death of one parent, the child could be deeply traumatized and might not go to sleep for the next couple of days. The remaining parent will also experience a lot of difficulty when it comes to dealing with the situation. When this parent has lost his or her partner through divorce, separation or death and when the child isn’t taking it very well, that actually makes the situation worse.
When one parent remarries after divorce, separation or death, this new partner might not like the idea of bed-sharing with kids. This could pose a new problem for the kid and the parent and to the new relationship. The kid will of course be reluctant to leave the parents’ bed and this could cause conflict within the family. Besides the kid might also feel uncomfortable bed-sharing with a new member of the family.
There are times when parents will think that the kids are asleep when in truth, they aren’t. The parents might indulge in their intimacy, comfortable that they have privacy when in reality they don’t. The kids might be watching and this is not a good thing at all. It is always important to move the kids from toddler age onwards out of the bed because that is the age when they begin to understand and tell tall tales as soon as they begin to talk. As a parent, you definitely don’t want the teacher of your child calling you and reporting how your child regales his classmates with tales of your bedroom passions.
In some cultures, the marital bed is sacred and not even the kids are allowed to sleep in it. Such cultures will consider it unholy or wrong for kids to sleep where the parents make love. Many will condemn such practices and recommend that kids sleep in their own bed. Even individuals from cultures that don’t hold such views strongly, will still feel that bed-sharing with kids as parents has a wrong-feel to it especially if the kids are past toddler age.
Many parents who bed-share with their children will prevent anyone who is not part of the family from finding out that they do so. They will never publicly admit that they share the bed with their kids who are past two years for fear of criticism. Naturally, this is not how it should be hence the fear of criticism.
As seen above, the good about parents co-sleeping with their children only stops when they reach toddler age. From there onwards, the problems begin and it is never a good idea. In the end it is always up to the parents to ensure that their kids sleep in a safe and secured sleeping environment. Any sleeping arrangement that parents come up with, should always be decided upon with the interests of the child on the forefront.