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The Pros and Cons of Co-Sleeping with a Toddler
Co-Sleeping with a Toddler: Pro's
There are several positive aspects of co-sleeping with your toddler. Co-sleeping promotes a healthy attachment, because your child feels safe and loved as he sleeps soundly right next to you. Your child knows that mommy and/or daddy are right there to comfort him if he has a bad dream. Night terrors, which plague many children, are probably much less likely in this scenario as well. Many children imagine scary creatures are lurking in the shadows in their bedrooms, or under their beds, and sleeping right next to a parent or parents most likely eliminates this fear, due to the overwhelming feeling of comfort and safety co-sleeping brings. Co-sleeping can also be a positive experience for the parents, because sleeping right next to your child allows you to know that he is alright, is doing well and is safe. If you are prone to anxiety at all, co-sleeping with your toddler may give you reassurance because you won't be as worried about your child's well-being in the middle of the night. Co-sleeping is also sometimes convenient if the child has a cold, because you are closeby to check his temperature in the middle of the night, etc. However, co-sleeping definitely has some downfalls, as well...
Co-Sleeping with a Toddler: Con's
In my opinion, there are many con's of co-sleeping with a toddler. Here are just a few:
- Minimized intimacy with your spouse
- Toddler does not learn how to self-soothe as easily, or fall asleep on his/her own, because he or she may rely on you to be next to him/her in order to fall asleep
- Sleep is interrupted frequently for both parents and toddler, as toddler gets too big for the bed and crowds out the parents
- Parents may worry about toddler falling out of bed if they get up for some reason, i.e. to go nurse a younger sibling, get a drink of water, or go to the bathroom
- A toddler sleeping in your bed may mean you cannot enjoy your own space like you would otherwise, i.e. you cannot stay up and read a book in bed or talk freely with your spouse in bed because toddler will need that space dark in order to sleep.
These are just a few examples. So, while co-sleeping with a toddler does have some positive aspects, as you can see, there are a lot of negatives as well.
My Own Personal Experience
We are currently trying to transition our three-year-old to his own "big boy" bed for bedtime, but it has not been a smooth (or successful) transition so far! While we have enjoyed some benefits of our time co-sleeping with him, we are definitely ready to get our space back and also ready for him to get better quality sleep in his own bedroom. My next plan is to set up my old CD player in his bedroom and put him to bed with a lullaby or Bible songs CD playing. Hopefully, that will help the transition to his own bed be a smoother one, and everyone can finally get some better rest in this house!
What are your thoughts on co-sleeping? Tell me in the comments below.