Should You Worry About Co-Sleeping With Your Toddler?

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Do you worry that if you co-sleep with your toddler that they may become too attached and will affect your marital relationship? Many parents who co-sleep with their infants has such worries and also worry about keeping them in a family bed too long. Many families continue to co-sleep with their older children, who grow up to become healthy and well adjusted. Just as with infants, co-sleeping makes a child feel safe and loved. The real question should not be whether or not co-sleeping is a good idea, but rather whether or not it is a good idea for your family. Here are some of the pros for co-sleeping and ideas for setting some guidelines. Ultimately, it will be up to you as a parent to make this decision and what guidelines to set.

One of the beauties of [tag-self]co-sleeping[/tag-self] with a toddler is that there are a lot more options than with an infant. With babies, the child usually sleeps in the bed, or in a sleeper attached to the bed. Here are the options for co-sleeping with toddlers. You’ll probably find one that works well for your family.

* Occasional co-sleep. This is the arrangement most people have in their households. The parents and children have their own rooms and beds, but the [tag-ice]children[/tag-ice] are free to join mom and dad if they have a bad dream or can’t sleep.
* Family bed. Children sleep in the bed with mom and dad. This can become a strain on the marriage, but many couples make do by going to another room after the children fall asleep.
* Musical Beds. In this arrangement, there are several beds in the house that are not assigned to specific people. The sleeping arrangement for the night depends on the situation.
* Two beds for mom. This is where there are two beds, one for mom to sleep with the kids and one for mom to sleep with dad. This way, children get the benefit of co-sleep, but they know when mom and dad are to be left alone.
* Sharing a room. Instead of having the child in a family bed, they have their own bed, futon, or mattress in the same room as mom and dad.
* Sibling bed. This is when brothers and sisters share a bed instead of with the parents. If you have a younger child who has been co-sleeping, this is a good way to get them used to sleeping on their own.

If you have both [tag-tec]toddlers[/tag-tec] and babies in your family,  you should be wary of having a baby and a toddler sleeping in the same bed. Since they are mobile, but unaware of safety hazards; a toddler could unknowingly endanger an infant. If you do choose to have more than one child in the bed, be sure they are separated and that the toddler is well aware of the rules. To stay safe without alienating your toddler, you could consider bringing a bed or mattress into your room for them to sleep on. This way they can remain close to you without endangering your other child. If your toddler has older siblings, you may consider a sibling bed so the baby can be safe with you.

Make sure everyone in the house voices their opinion when making a decision to co-sleep. When choosing sleeping arrangements in your house, be sure to choose what works best for your family. Everyone around you will probably have an opinion on your choice; you need to choose what’s best for your family, not everyone else.

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April 20

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