The National Parenting Center

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Sleeping With Parents

It’s not harmful for your children to sleep with you, but don’t start until you have all the facts.

– First, your child does not need this arrangement to be secure and happy.

– Second, this is not quality time. If your child is asleep, it is neutral time, and if your child is keeping you awake, it’s aggravating time. So there’s really no quality time here.

– Third, over 50% of children who sleep with parents resist bedtime and awaken several times at night. So most parents who sleep with kids do not get a good night’s sleep.

In general, I do not recommend bed sharing. Your child can do fine either way, but most parents sleep badly. Let’s turn to preventing it.

– First, place your child in the crib drowsy but awake. In this way, he will learn to put himself back to sleep following normal awakening.

– Second, make middle of the night brief and boring. This is hard to do if you’re sleeping with your child.

– Third, put your child in his own room by three or four months of age. Have a rule that he does not leave the crib at night. And, after age two, that he does not leave his bedroom. Most children in our country follow these guidelines and do just fine.

During Dr. Schmitt’s 20 years as a medical practitioner and researcher, he has published over 100 articles or chapters on pediatric health care, and has been awarded the distinguished C. Anderson Aldrich Award by the American Academy of Pediatrics for outstanding contributions to the field of child development. Schmitt has also authored five books including Your Child’s Health, which won Child Magazine’s first Hall of Fame Award in 1991. Schmitt is also a professor of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and on staff at The Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado.

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