I know that family beds are a controversial topic but this is what works for us. Here’s why.
tLG has always been a terrible sleeper. We attempted co-sleeping in infancy. She thought it was an all-night party so we moved her out of our bed. Around 15 months, she crossed a developmental milestone and began sleeping through the night. Ironically enough, I read today that gifted children need less sleep and it comforted me in a way that only moms of other nonsleepers would understand.
Over the next few years we went through various bouts of fighting sleep and then she magically became a piece of cake to put to bed around age 4-5. Except that she was always up at the crack of dawn sometimes waking as early as 4 am and coming to our bed only to pass out again. I didn’t mind her coming to our room but, once I’m awoken at 4 am, there is no hope of getting back to sleep. Our solution was to set up a mattress on the floor of our room. We told her “If you wake up, you can come to Mommy and Daddy’s room. But, you don’t have to wake us up. You can just lie down right here on the ‘little bed’.” It worked! She followed those directions to a T and we all got sleep again.
In the mornings, we tiptoed around afraid that any sound would wake her, as it had in the past. To our surprise, that summer, she became a much sounder sleeper. She started sleeping in until 7 or 8 even when we were up and about getting showered and dressed. Eventually, she started falling asleep in our bed and we would move her to the “little bed” when me and hubby came upstairs to go to sleep, usually around 10-11 pm. There were times when she would randomly announce that she wanted to sleep in her “real bed” but it would only last 4-5 nights and she would come back to the “little bed.” We never made an issue out of it either way but we secretly missed her when she wasn’t sleeping in our room. I also found that I slept much lighter when she was in the room across the hall, as if I were always needing to listen for her.
When we did our homeschool room makeover, we made a decision to move the guest bed from the office into her room. She was quickly outgrowing the “little bed” so we moved her twin-sized bed to our room. I really wanted a California King but this is the compromise we have come up with for now. She still likes to fall asleep in our big bed but we just move her over when we come up to go to sleep. We all sleep really well and I’ve found that it has simplified things. For example, her room stays tidy because there isn’t a bed to make every day. Other benefits include lots of snuggles and laid back Saturday mornings, which I wouldn’t trade for the world!
Lots of folks are concerned about her having privacy. Here’s the thing. When she’s old enough to be concerned about privacy, she’s more than welcome to move right back over to her room. For now, she’s only 7 and being self-concious and modest aren’t even on her radar. The idea of being close to Mommy and Daddy when she wakes up is much higher on her list of priorities.
Other folks are worried about me and hubby having “privacy”. Here’s the thing. There are plenty of other places in the house to “get busy” and various times of the day to (insert your favorite euphemism here). It doesn’t have to be in the bed right next to our kid while she’s sleeping. Even so, she is out. She wouldn’t know a thing. Trust me.
A family bedroom isn’t for everyone. I’ve just found that it works well for us and, until it doesn’t work anymore, we are going to keep enjoying the simplicity of it.
There have been many times in parenting where I felt led to do “this” or “that” but was hard-pressed to find someone else doing it the same way. Over time, I learned to trust my instincts and just go with whatever I felt was best for my people, even if it wasn’t the norm. Eventually I would come across another mom who shared my belief in “this” or “that” but it was always hush hush for fear of being judged. So here I am posting about our family bedroom in hopes that it will help someone else know that “this” isn’t a crazy idea after all.