Mom Shares Why Lying Down with Your Kids Until They Fall Asleep May Not Be a Bad Habit

Are you a parent of a young child? If so, while searching on the Internet for information on childhood rashes or how to deal with preschool bullies, you’ve most likely come across your fair share of “mommy blogs,” websites run by parents who aim to educate and facilitate discussions with other moms and dads.

Oftentimes, these blogs are chock-full of helpful first-hand information on everything from developmental milestones to recipes to even humor, but with these platforms also come quite a bit of controversy, particularly when it comes to the topic of parenting techniques.

These days, one of the most argued about topics in the mommy blog sphere is co-sleeping, a technique which has roots in attachment parenting. Co-sleeping is just what it sounds like; parents opting to keep their child(ren) in the parental bed so that all members can sleep as a family.

Ostensibly, there are two camps associated with co-sleeping–we’ve detailed the studies that support the co-sleepers before–but we always felt that there wasn’t enough written on the topic of the area that exists somewhere in the middle. Luckily, Kristen Thompson of Today’s Parent was gracious enough to share her story in an article entitled “Lying Down with Your Kids Until They Fall Asleep is Not a Bad Habit.”

The mom kicks off the article by explaining that it was never her intention to partake in co-sleeping, even if it’s just a form that allows her to sneak out of the room once her kiddos fall asleep.

I never intended to be a parent who would lie down with her kids until they fell asleep. On the contrary, I had it in my head that kids should fall asleep on their own, tucked in with the lights off. Not just because we still have a life to live after our children are in bed, but because I believed it was in their best interest to self-soothe without us.

Having said that, Thompson began to notice that her oldest daughter, in particular, greatly benefited from the arrangement. She writes:

I don’t know what goes through my oldest daughter’s mind as she lies down at night waiting for sleep to come. I don’t know her worries and stresses, nor do I really understand the degree to which my presence helps her put those worries aside.

All I know is that as long as she needs my body next to hers, I will be there for her. Giving her my arms when she needs to feel me close, and giving her space when she needs to feel independent. I will always try to be a responsive and compassionate parent. And right now, that means lying with her under her pink duvet in the quiet dim of her room.

It should be noted that this isn’t simply Thompson’s opinion–her nighttime routine is also praised by experts, like Susan Krauss Whitbourne, a Professor Emerita of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Whitbourne’s research has led her to the conclusion that attachment parenting, no matter how “light” it may be, can help kids develop into more secure, confident adults

This paired with the fact that an overwhelming percentage of the world still practices co-sleeping, stands as proof that maybe it’s not such a bad thing after all. Remember, parenting trends come and go, but, as Thompson says “kids are so fundamentally different, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to raising them.”

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the practice of co-sleeping! Do you subscribe to attachment parenting? If so, how has it helped your family? If not, why do you choose to stay away from it?