The Parent-Teacher-Child Connection: Should your little ones sleep with you?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Should your little ones sleep with you?

You're tired and need rest, but your one-year-old refuses to sleep.  So you bring him into your bed, snuggle, and hope he gets the message.  Night after night, the same ritual occurs until Junior feels comfortable with this method of going to sleep.  What's wrong with this picture?  Several things...
  1. Sleeping with a baby brings with it the danger that you could roll over and smother the child.  Or the child could roll over and fall out of the bed.  Either way, allowing your child to sleep in the bed with you is dangerous.
  2. When you allow a child to sleep in bed with you, your marriage suffers because you're snuggling with your infant instead of your spouse.  That's definitely threatening to a relationship.
  3. When children feel they can manipulate their parents at bedtime, they will transfer that concept to other areas of their lives like eating and playing.
So, what should you do? Establish a rule that your child never ever sleeps in your bed no matter how tired you are or how stormy it is outside.  When he is younger, let your child "cry it out."  I know that's difficult, but in the long run, it will be better for you, your marriage, and your child as he learns to self-regulate his sleep pattern.

But what about those stormy nights when they're three years old and older?  We kept sleeping bags near our beds.  When the thunder rolled, our kids rolled out of their beds, rolled out the sleeping bags, and crawled into them.  They felt secure knowing Mommy and Daddy were nearby, but accepted that they weren't allowed in bed - ever!

Do you have any other techniques for bedtime problems?

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