Woo-hoo! Let me tell you, it's not every day a child-rearing study comes out that says something I did with my kids was actually okay, as opposed to the single most horrible parenting move ever. So I'm pretty pumped to hear that, according to recent research, sharing your bed with a toddler won't screw them up for life. Phew!
That's a huge relief, because although I did my dutiful best to convince both of my kids that staying in their big kid beds all night long was the most fun anybody could ever have, I always woke up to somebody's little feet in my face or arm slung across my chest. And was this groggy, sleep-deprived mom going to haul that child back to his or her private sleeping quarters at 3 a.m.?
The answer is NO. No, I was not going to make a big fuss that would ultimately result in less shut-eye for all parties involved. This was because whatever developmental issues the sleep police warned me would pop up later in my child's life, letting my kid stay in my bed was much less immediately harmful to her (and him) than having an even-more-exhausted-than-usual mommy.
At the time, I justified this theory by thinking about how "family beds" were no doubt the norm for countless cultures throughout history. Did Native American babies go straight from the papoose to their own twin-sized bed? Of course not. What about the Inuit? In those below-freezing temperatures, you'd have to sleep huddled together for the sake of body heat. Didn't Viking families all sleep around a big fire pit? Bet those kids didn't end up with behavioral problems. (Bear in mind, I was very tired when I was having these thoughts. Just in case my logic seems a little disjointed.)
Anyway. My kids ended up in my bed more often than not. Guess what? Pretty soon they're going to be at that age where kids would rather die of shame than let their mom hug them in public. So I'm really not feeling too regretful about those nights spent snuggling with a 2-year-old. Especially now that it's officially acceptable.
Do you let your toddler sleep in your bed?
Image via Ed Wolstenholme/Flickr