You’re a parent, A.K.A superhero, running around all day long doing a million things at once (and I’m sure that’s not an exaggeration). What do you look forward to, possibly more than anything else, at the end of your long day? My guess is, snuggling into your warm bed and getting some darn sleep!
Then again, you’re a mom (or Dad or Aunt and Uncle!), so even if you are lucky enough to get into that snuggly bed of yours, you are up and out of it before you can catch a wink of shut-eye. You all are laughing because you know it’s true.
What are you to do? How are you going to get your kid laying down at night so you can get some sleep and recharge for the next busy day ahead of you?
Christmas is quickly approaching, which means there is even more on your “to-do list,” as if it wasn’t already full enough. Getting good sleep is essential to revitalizing your body as a mom. It allows you to tackle the day and slay that to-do list like the superhero you are.
Just imagine the relief when you finally get your child laying down at night, hoping with all that is in you that they will fall asleep quickly.
But inevitably, they ask for that second glass of water, or they have to pee (again), or they need to hug and kiss you for the one-hundredth time. I’m sure you have all been there. Those are such precious and sweet moments, but at the end of a long day can be incredibly torturous.
What can you do to make bedtime quicker and more enjoyable for both you and your kids?
Against many expert opinions, although studies are beginning to change some of those views, laying in bed until your child falls asleep could be a great option.
Those against you laying down with your child as they fall asleep generally feel that doing so causes codependency and doesn’t allow your child to learn how to self-soothe or grow up to be independent. They think this inhibits a child from developing essential social and independence skills needed to exist in our fast-paced and ever-changing world.
This idea couldn’t be further from the truth. Studies have shown that children who had a parent lay with them until they fell asleep felt more secure and explored the world around them with greater ease. This security enables a child to be more independent and confidently figure out the world around them.
If you are a mom that has been laying with your kids until they fall asleep since they were little babes, let this serve as a relief that you have not ruined them in doing so. In fact, you are helping them feel secure in this turbulent world. You are helping them be confident, which is just what they need to be independent.
If you are a mom that spends hours every night getting up to bring your child back to their room, hoping and praying they will just fall asleep already, maybe this will encourage you to try a new approach. Get some extra snuggle time in with your children who are growing up in the blink of an eye. Let them feel your love and security as your arms wrap around them or gently pat on their backs as they fall asleep.
In America, co-sleeping has been a debated subject for quite some time. Contrary to popular belief, sharing sleeping space with a baby or toddler is more common in the home than reported. Because of its social unacceptance in America, many moms say their babies or toddlers are sleeping in their own room, but in actuality, they are sleeping next to the mom.
Why would they do this? Why lie about sleeping with or without your child? For many, it is a natural parental instinct to have your child sleeping nearby. However, the way society looks down upon co-sleeping causes many to shy away from sharing that they indeed sleep with their child, fearing how others may perceive them.
If you were to look at other cultures around the world and how they co-sleep with their children, you would find a commonality with them all. The majority of cultures co-sleep with all their babies and toddlers. The difference may come with how long they sleep in the same bed or room.
Some cultures share their sleeping space just until weaning, while others share sleeping space until the children are teenagers. Regardless of age, it is common in many places around the world to sleep with children for a time. It is a practice that is also socially acceptable in those societies.
A study done by Yoo Rha Hong, MD and Jae Sun Park, MD, shows the impact that attachment, temperament, and parenting has on human development. They say that “Securely attached children also tend to become more resilient and competent adults. In contrast, those who do not experience a secure attachment with their caregivers may have difficulty getting along with others and be unable to develop a sense of confidence or trust in others. Children who are slow to adjust, or are shy or irritable, are likely to experience conflict with their parents and are likely to receive less parental acceptance or encouragement, which can make the children feel inadequate or unworthy.”
Laying with a child while they fall asleep promotes attachment, and a positive temperament between child and parent, which this study shows is a good thing.
If someone has ever said to you, “Don’t sleep with your children, they will never be able to function on their own,” or “You need to let your child cry it out so they learn to self-soothe,” take those comments with a grain of salt. Just smile at them and go on about your day, knowing you are doing a good thing for your child’s development.
If you are a mom that sincerely does not enjoy sleeping with your child, or even laying down with them until they fall asleep, don’t fret. This idea of laying with your child as they fall asleep is not the only way to develop security and confidence in your child. There are many ways to raise competent and independent children, and laying with your kids is not a prerequisite.
If you are a mom that loves laying with your child until they fall asleep, or just do it to keep your sanity at night, be encouraged that you are helping them feel secure. That, in turn, will aid in their development into healthy, confident, and independent adults.
Laying in bed while your child falls asleep may not only be beneficial for them. It may be valuable to you, mom, as well. It may help you unwind after a long and stressful day. You might find it a little relaxing for yourself, too.
So go ahead, lay in bed while your precious child falls asleep. Snuggle up to them, rub their backs, and smother them with love and affection until they beg you to stop because trust me, that day will come all too soon.