How Long is TOO Long for Kids to Sleep with Their Parents?
Saturday, May 19th, 2012
A while back, I shared my personal experiences and opinions about bed sharing in a blog post. And many people thanked me for making them feel a little better about their routine of sleeping with their children.
Obviously, at the forefront of the debate are safety issues that cannot be ignored when it comes to co-sleeping. There are several articles here on EverydayFamily where you can read all about that.
But let’s say your children DO sleep with you. At what age is enough, well, enough?
I recently researched an article for a client of mine about this very subject. Interestingly, I found out that there are no ‘real’ laws about sleeping arrangements within a family. However, many people become skittish when, say, an 11-year-old boy or girl is still sleeping with mom and dad. Suddenly, the family bed issue becomes one of sexuality and a question of right or wrong.
Yet, I know lots and lots of people who still pile into one bed at the end of a long day, turn on a movie and fall asleep together. From time to time (okay, more often than not), I do this – even with my 13-year-old daughters. It’s our version of an all-girl slumber party and we can talk and giggle and fall asleep with our feet touching. I can say for certain, that there will come a day when I miss these slumber parties.
Eventually, your bigger kids can become hard to sleep with. And definitely, if your kids are spending the night in mom and dad’s bed, then it will cause a conflict in the intimacy department. Additionally, being able to sleep alone is definitely a developmental milestone in a child’s life. All that aside, does co-sleeping eventually become morally corrupt in your opinion?
The truth is that there are still lots and lots (and lots) of families that opt for the family bed for whatever reason that works for them. They might not be advertising it on Facebook, telling their pediatrician, or talking about it at school – but they are doing it.
Are they harming their children? Is there something wrong with an older child still sleeping with his or her mom? Do you think that eventually (and always) kids reach an age where sleeping in the same bed should be forbidden? If your kiddos sleep with you, have you set a time limit of how long you will allow this to go on?
What do you think?