Children that Sleep in the Same Bed as Their Parents
Many children want to sleep in the same bed with their parents. during their first years of life. Some of the reasons why children do it is because they’re scared of the dark, they fear being left alone or they’re attached to their parents.
So, yes, often, children like to sleep with their parents because they’re afraid of the dark, monsters, as well as being alone and other common issues at a young age.
Letting children sleep in their parents’ bed is something that creates different opinions. There are parents who love to sleep with their children. They argue it helps them develop certain bonds. Others aren’t very inclined to let them sleep in their beds because they consider this to be detrimental to their independence and development.
Below, we’ll help you better understand the situation as well as share with you some clues that can help you determine to what extent it’s good to let your children sleep in the same as you.
Why children want to sleep in the same bed as their parents
It’s very common in families to have children who want to sleep in the same bed with their parents. In fact, there are several explanations for this behavior. However, the most significant explanation is biological.
Human beings naturally love to have contact with their peers. It doesn’t matter if it’s the day or night. Belonging to a group, having its protection and affection is positive. Therefore, it’s normal – and to be expected – that babies and children like to be and feel accompanied.
Logically, these reasons may vary according to the child’s age and personality. It’s also something that is very much influenced by the family dynamic and relationship between the parents and child.
For example, babies between the age of 0 and 2 usually want to sleep with their parents. Despite this fact, there are other people who recommend (to a possible extent) that a baby should sleep in their bedroom from the fourth or fifth month of birth. To help them lose their fear of being alone and of resting without mom and dad by their side.
However, this is relative. In cultures that co-sleeping is very common, children sleep with their parents until the age of 6 or 7. For example, Japan is one of these countries. This is evidenced by work carried out by researchers from the Universidad de la República, Uruguay.
When it comes to older children, it’s easier to get them to understand that they should sleep in their own bed. Some children are even able to gradually create an attachment with their bedroom.
Children that sleep in the same bed as their parents: fear of the dark
Being afraid of the dark is one of the most common reasons why children want to sleep in the same bed with their parents. The child is simply afraid of the nighttime or being in the dark. This is why they seek support from their parents inside their bedroom. This is shown in this case study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology with Children and Adolescents.
In general, children who are afraid of the dark express their fear. Therefore, you’ll be able to find a solution. You can easily notice their problem and you’ll be able to take care of it. Thus, you won’t have the need to guess why your child doesn’t want to sleep in their bedroom or waste your time figuring out another reason for their fear.
You should pay attention to your child’s possible fear of the dark. This fear can be so intense that in some cases the child may suffer from nyctophobia. It may be possible that you aren’t aware of this phobia or believe that this behavior is something normal and temporary for your child.
Fear of being alone
It’s normal for children to feel fear or to be afraid of being alone. This is usually overcome over time, little by little, as they see that there’s nothing wrong with being alone sleeping in their room.
It’s common for children to be afraid of being alone out of fear of other issues, such as monsters, ghosts and the like.
Read about Six Childhood Emotional Wounds
Attachment to their parents
Many times, it’s their own affection for their parents (called “attachment”) that motivates children to want to spend all their time with them, even when sleeping. This is something that may be more palpable in some children than others, so it doesn’t always present itself in the same way.
If attachment issues are detected, it’s important to work on them with professional help so that in the future, the child can grow and develop properly.
Benefits of sleeping in the same bed
There is no general rule about the benefits of children sleeping with their parents. In fact, for some people, this practice brings benefits to both the child and parents.
Some of the advantages of allowing children to sleep in the same bed with their parents are:
- Monitoring the child’s sleep
- The child and parents will be at peace of mind
- It can help synchronize the sleeping patterns of the parents and child
- An emotional bond between the parents and child can be established
- A baby’s sleep apnea episode can be corrected
- The possibility of being able to take care of your child’s needs much easier
- It’s easier for a nursing mother to breastfeed her child during the night, as shown in this article published in Pediatría Atención Primaria
Disadvantages of sleeping in the same bed
You might think allowing children to sleep in the same bed with their parents is a harmless practice. However, sleeping with your children also has its disadvantages. Below are some examples:
- Loss of intimacy for the parents
- It creates a child-parent dependency
- Parents don’t get that much rest, as pointed out in this study published in Paraninfo Digital
- Children are likely to develop sleeping disorders, as shown by this research published in Archivos Argentinos de Pediatría
- Parents run the risk of crushing or suffocating their child, this is especially common for babies
- It becomes more difficult for children to sleep on their own in the future
To sleep in the same bed or not to sleep in the same bed?
Letting children sleep in the same bed as their parents on a daily basis is a question you must consider in terms of several issues ranging from the well-being of the children to the intimacy of the couple themselves.
Keep in mind that, although everyone can rest well in the same bed, it’s good for you to help your child to sleep alone so they can get used to resting in their own room and to respect their parents sleeping in another room. There are many good strategies you can use.
You can also create routines with your child before going to bed. They can help your child understand that it’s time to go to bed.
It’s advisable to examine the whole situation and do what’s in the best interest of your child – primarily, not just you or the family group in general. And remember, if you need help with it, you can consult a psychologist.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
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- Cámara, A. (2014). Tratamiento de un caso de miedo a la oscuridad mediante entrenamiento a padres. Revista de Psicología Clínica con Niños y Adolescentes, 1(2), 125-132. https://www.redalyc.org/pdf/4771/477147184003.pdf
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- Rodríguez Villar, V., Moreno, M., & Navío, C. PRACTICANDO EL COLECHO. ASESORAMIENTO DE LA MATRONA http://www.trances.es/papers/TCS%2005_3_6.pdf
- del Carmen, P., & Milagros, V. (2016). Colecho y muerte súbita, opinión de las familias. development, 110(1), 16-26. http://www.index-f.com/para/n25/pdf/048.pdf
- Convertini, G., Krupitzky, S., Tripodi, M. R., & Carusso, L. (2003). Trastornos del sueño en niños sanos. Arch argent pediatr, 101(2), 99-105. https://www.sap.org.ar/docs/archivos/2003/arch03_2/99.pdf