Posted by: mamaamy | June 8, 2009

Questions 6 & 7: Co-sleeping:when and how?

What’s a good time to tackle the co-sleeping? I was thinking it might be less stress to do it while S is on a trip (he’s going to be gone for a whole month this summer) but will I be compounding the difficulty if I do? In my opinion it would benefit everyone to have the boys together as soon as possible.

Co-sleeping, I believe, really helps to bond brothers and sisters. It helps, by the direction of the parents, to encourage care and affection toward one another. If one wakes in the night, the other can help quiet and secure the other. My experience is that when I hear a little one cry in the night, I often am beat to the aid of the child by one of the other kids shushing and comforting the frightened one to sleep. I just know that I don’t want to sleep alone every night and I am sure that kids don’t either. It is always a comfort to have a warm body close by. When we have had our children sleeping with us during the nursing years, the children would sometimes wake in the night, cry out briefly, but then see that we were there next to them and, then lie down usually touching one or both of us–totally comforted. I believe that this breeds an overall sense of security. Although this is really not something that can be measured or tested, I am convinced that having the children sleep with us and then with each other has contributed to the pervasive security and well-being in our children. As with any other training, once you move the boys in together it will take a week or so of consistently setting the expectations of what sleep time “looks like” and then enforcing it. Once they understand the standard (or expectation) and they know that you intend on helping them uphold it, you will find that bedtime is a peaceful and enjoyable end to the day.

Both for now and when we move the boys together, should we have them nap/sleep with their doors open or shut? I’ve always shut them so that they aren’t woken up by me but I think I miss some misbehaving when I do (C getting out of bed to grab a toy and then getting back in bed- that sort of thing). I’m trying to think ahead to when they’re in the same room too…

In our family, we have an open door policy—especially for the younger kids. (Now that we have teens, they sometimes need a bit of quiet away from the family to study and read and talk, so we allow them to close their doors more often, though we have easy access and check on them at random times.) For the young ones, we keep the doors open. We talk about respect in this area as well. Those in the house must respect the freedom of the “nappers” to be able to sleep in quiet. (I have never tried to keep it really quiet around those that are sleeping, though, so that they didn’t require quiet in order to sleep. It seems to make them more flexible.) In your situation, when you do put them down for naps (and bed) I would stay close by the bedroom and really pay attention for several days in a row and really train proper behavior (no toys, etc.) consistently for a while, till they “get” what nap time and bed time are suppose to be like in the household. Once they seem to understand the sleep time standard, then you will be able to have some freedom during their times of rest.

Blessings,

Mama Amy

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