Co-sleeping with Your Preschooler
Some parents who chose co-sleeping with their infants worry about keeping them in a family bed too long. You probably have worries about your child becoming too attached or that an older child will affect your marital relationship. Many families continue to co-sleep with their preschooler, who grow up to become healthy and well adjusted. Just as with infants, co-sleeping makes a child feel safe and loved. The real question should not be whether or not co-sleeping is a good idea, but rather whether or not it is a good idea for your family.
The beauty of co-sleeping with a preschooler is that there are a lot more options than with an infant. With babies, the child usually sleeps in the bed, or in a sleeper attached to the bed. Here are the options for co-sleeping with your preschooler. You’ll probably find one that works well for your family.
* Occasional co-sleep. This is the arrangement most people have in their households. The parents and children have their own rooms and beds, but the children are free to join mom and dad if they have a bad dream or can’t sleep.
* Family bed. Children sleep in the bed with mom and dad. This can become a strain on the marriage if there isn’t good communication or if Mom and Dad use cosleeping as an excuse to be lazy in their relationship, but many couples make do by going to another room after the children fall asleep.
* Musical Beds. In this arrangement, there are several beds in the house that are not assigned to specific people. The sleeping arrangement for the night depends on the situation.
* Two beds for mom. This is where there are two beds, one for mom to sleep with the kids and one for mom to sleep with dad. This way, children get the benefit of co-sleep, but they know when mom and dad are to be left alone.
* Sharing a room. Instead of having the child in a family bed, they have their own bed, futon, or mattress in the same room as mom and dad.
* Sibling bed. This is when brothers and sisters share a bed instead of with the parents. If you have a younger child who has been co-sleeping, this is a good way to get them used to sleeping on their own. This has worked well in my family in making the transition from family bed to solitary bed.
You should be wary of having an infant and an older child sleeping in the same bed. Since the older children are mobile, but unaware of safety hazards; an older child could unknowingly endanger an infant. If you do choose to have more than one child in the bed, be sure they are separated and that the preschooler is well aware of the rules. To stay safe without alienating your preschooler, you could consider bringing a bed or mattress into your room for them to sleep on. This way they can remain close to you without endangering your other child. If your preschooler has older siblings, you may consider a sibling bed so the baby can be safe with you.
When choosing sleeping arrangements in your house, be sure to choose what works best for your family. Everyone around you will probably have an opinion on your choice; you need to choose what’s best for your family, not everyone else.