How Long Should Children Sleep in Their Parents' Room?
Knowing when children are ready to sleep in their own bed or move out of their parents’ room can be a complex issue. How do you know when it’s the right time?
Co-sleeping is a highly common phenomenon that comes with its share of pros and cons. The fact is, we’re defenseless mammals when we’re born. We require more time under the care of our parents than many other species.
This ancestral instinct makes children want to sleep in their parents’ room – it’s something that’s in our genes. Although many say that babies are manipulative, the truth is that newborns have a profound need for protection. It’s their natural instinct to want to be close to their mothers.
Many mothers also consider it easier to sleep near their babies. This saves them from the hassle of having to get up frequently during the night to tend to their little ones.
Among the disadvantages of co-sleeping is a risk of asphyxiation when babies are very small. We can also mention the fact that, once children get used to sleeping with their parents, it can be hard to move them to their own room.
When is the right time to move children out of their parents’ room?
If you’ve opted to co-sleep with your baby, you might be asking yourself how long you should continue. When’s the right time to move your baby out of your room? Unfortunately, there’s no exact answer to these questions.
Rather, the right time will depend on each family’s particular dynamics and the characteristics of each baby. However, what’s certain is that, if we’re no longer sleeping well or this is causing issues for you and your partner, it’s time for a change.
Something that has helped many parents is to use a special crib that slides right up to your bed. You can place a normal crib alongside your bed as well.
That way, your little one won’t feel alone. He or she will be protected and, at the same time, you and your partner will have your own space.
Is your child ready to move into a room of his or her own?
An indicator that children are ready to sleep on their own is when they sleep through the night without waking up. If this is the case, then you can consider moving your child to a nearby bedroom. Some babies sleep through the night when they’re very small, but they’re the minority.
In most cases, babies wake up several times throughout the night. Some say that, as long as this is true, babies should remain in their parents’ room.
It’s unhealthy for babies to sleep on their own before 3 months of age
This practice can be very dangerous. The level of cerebral stress that children suffer when they feel abandoned is extremely high. These babies do eventually fall asleep, but only because the brain secretes a high amount of “sedatives.”
These sedatives are a sort of neurological protection. In some cases, babies can even have convulsions as a result of the extreme stress they experience.
This doesn’t mean your children should sleep with their parents for their entire lives. Nor should you feel guilty for the decision you make. However, it’s important that you understand that it’s completely normal and healthy for babies to want to sleep with their parents.
You should always keep in mind that babies aren’t born programmed for this world where mothers have so many other responsibilities.
“The right time to move a child to another room will depend on each family’s particular dynamics and the characteristics of each baby. However, what’s certain is that, if we’re no longer sleeping well or this is causing issues for you and your partner, it’s time for a change”
Be firm, but loving
If you have an older child – at least 3 years old – that you want to move out of your room, do so lovingly. Offer your child a beautiful and attractive bed just for him or her.
Assure your child that he or she is old enough for this step. Negotiate, but be firm. Don’t make this into an unpleasant experience for your child.
This is especially important if the other parent is uncomfortable. Couples need a space for intimacy. You and your partner’s bed is a sacred place and should be treated as such.
The right moment
So then, the best time to move your children to a new room is when it’s beneficial for them, and not harmful. If you go about it the wrong way, your baby will resist, but eventually give in.
You may think you’ve been successful, but how does your child really feel? Are you producing anxiety or contributing to an anxious personality?
Being a parent can be tiring, but we need to be willing to respect our children’s natural processes. Even the most primitive of animals do this. For example, an eagle never kicks her offspring out of the nest prematurely, but rather waits until just the right time.
Don’t allow social pressure to get the best of you. Each child is unique and deserves to be loved and treated as an individual. The good news is that, sooner or later, your children will eventually be ready to move out of their parents’ room.