Dear David Coleman: My three-year-old only settles in our bed. Is it bad to let her sleep with us?

By | August 26, 2020

Q My three-year-old started back at creche lately and ever since her sleep has been a disaster. We can’t get her to settle in her own room, so we have taken her into our bed – which works like a dream – until we have to lift her back to her own. Sometimes she wakes again, and we have to go through the whole palaver again. I’m tempted to leave her in our be – but is this really bad for her?

David replies:  Co-sleeping, which may involve sharing a bed, or just a room, with your child, is not a bad thing. In many cultures, co-sleeping is the norm. Co-sleeping offers children the maximum levels of security and safety, to be close to their parent(s), and as such, most children love it and settle to sleep quite quickly and soundly.

A difficulty with co-sleeping only arises when it leads to discomfort for a child or their parent(s). For instance, if it is too squashed in the bed, or when children themselves look for greater privacy or seek greater independence, or when parents really want their own privacy/adult space.

So, if you and your husband are both comfortable with the idea of co-sleeping, and you can cope with an extra body in the bed, then it isn’t a bad thing. It is a valid choice for as long as it works for you all. Her disrupted sleep may be just linked to the transition back to creche and may settle naturally in time, at which stage you can gradually move her back into sleeping on her own if that is what you prefer.

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