Every night at around 8pm Corben gets a nice cuddle to sleep on the sofa all snuggled up with his pillow and quilt cover. Then when we’re ready to go up to bed at usually gone midnight, I carry him up and plonk him between us. Guess what, we all get plenty of sleep.
Definitely one of the most highly debated parenting topics is co-sleeping. Should you, shouldn’t you, what effects will it have later in life, what effects won’t it have…?!
Well I’ll tell you now one effect it has on the three of us and probably the most important effect of all, we get sleep and plenty of it.
OK I say we get plenty of sleep, we get the option is probably more accurate. Corben most nights will get 12 hours and has done for several years now. This means the only way Donetta and I don’t get enough is if we stay up too late ourselves. Obviously there is the odd night when things don’t go to plan, or in the holidays when the girls are off school the usual routine will go out of the window. The way Donetta’s shifts land means that one night at least a week the lad will have to stay up until 10pm and that throws him off slightly the following morning but easily gets back into the swing of things soon enough.
I should let those of you that aren’t regular readers know that we Home Educate Corben so there’s no worry about him staying up a little too late and then having to wake him early for school. Most mornings he’ll wake at around 8am when he’s gone to sleep between 8-8.30pm the previous night. He loves his sleep. He doesn’t love having to go to sleep, but once he’s snuggled up it’s a struggle waking him up if it’s a day we have to be up and out.
I know there might be some of you steaming from the ears reading this, we’re not showing off as we know for many parents the whole sleep thing is an absolute nightmare from start to finish, if the finish ever even happens!
What I want to do is just let you in on how our routine goes and our opinion on the whole co-sleeping thing and what results we’re getting.
When he was a baby he slept next to our bed in his cot, we didn’t think it was a good idea to co-sleep when he was still so small. It must have been easily 3 or even 4 years now since Corben, 5, has settled down with his cover and pillow on the sofa. He’ll watch his iPad and have a chat with whichever one of us he’s chosen that night for an hour, then everything is turned off and we stay on the sofa with him until he drops off. 9/10 nights it works well. After the inevitable, ‘I need a wee’, ‘I’m hungry’ and 17000 questions about what we’re doing tomorrow and re-visiting events from earlier that day. We’ve incorporated that into the time we get him to settle down at though so it doesn’t impact too much and end up with him still being awake too late in the evening.
Like every other kid he sometimes has those nights where he just won’t sleep but to be fair it’s not very often he plays up more than the usual bedtime shenanigans mentioned above.
Once he’s asleep he’s asleep so we get on doing what we need to do, film videos, bits of work, YouTube and Netflix binging and it’s rare we hear a peep from him. Then at usually after midnight I will carry him up to bed where we all sleep in our big bed. There’s then the occasional elbow to the nose and heel in your eye scenario but again it’s all part and parcel and doesn’t happen every night. Donetta and I get to sleep, he stays asleep and we all wake up in the morning nice and fresh. Well, after splashing my face with water and eating my Weetabix, and for Donetta she’s only functional after her morning coffee. You get the idea though, it just works.
This is our way and it has been for ages and it’s working.
Now for the possible negatives that are sure to be fired our way over this. But what about his independence, what if he grows up with some sort of attachment issues and what about us, the parents.
Well, how independent does a 5-year-old need to be, he’s like 5. He gets along just fine with his independence during the day.
Attachment issues, I call bullshit on this sort of stuff. Unless you throw me a link to proven science that shows us co-sleeping turns our children into vulnerable needy adults. He seems fine to me, again he’s 5 it’s hard to tell what his mental state will be in 20 years, currently he spends most of the day pretending he’s Batman and shaking his willy about laughing hysterically. So if we’re making judgements on his future mental health I think co-sleeping is the least of our worries.
What about us? That’s a tough one I’ll admit. Clearly we don’t have as many opportunities for ‘us’ time. I think the official term here for Corben is ‘Cock-Block’. But, we get around it in ways I’m not willing to discuss, you perverts. On a more serious note though, how much me time do parents get in general, I’m not just talking for getting your leg over, having a kid is kind of a minimum 18-year contract where you sign away privacy and me time anyway.
There will be a time, probably not so far away where he will go in his own bed and take himself off to sleep in an evening and all this co-sleeping business will be a distant memory that he rarely remembers when he grows up, so I’m not convinced there’s any mental negatives I’ve read about.
It’s similar to my feelings on breast versus bottle. Surely FED is best. I don’t care if you lob your tit out here there and everywhere or you shove a bottle of formula milk down your kids neck, along as they’re fed you’re winning! Sleeping independantly or co-sleeping, again, just sleep, everyone just get some sleep!
What’s your bedtime routine? Let me know in the comments…
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