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Why Are We Training Our Children To Sleep Alone?

sleeping kittens

This is WAY more crowded than my bed.

I’ve said before that I never thought I’d be one of those co-sleeping parents.  In spite of that, here I am, sleeping with my baby. My other son slept with us when he was waking up in the crib all the time. Then he slept exclusively with my husband when I couldn’t sleep because his every move and grunt woke me.

Fuzz sleeps in his crib for the first half of the night and then he joins us. My elder sleeps alone for the first part of the night, and with Daddy from around 5am until he gets up- anytime betweem 6:30 to 7:30am.
Sometimes I worry that we’re training the kids not to be able to sleep alone, ever. I think about all those sleep books I’ve read and tried and failed and read and tried again.

Then, yesterday, I had lunch with my friend…  She told me that her brother was a terrible sleeper until they put him in a bed with her and then he slept fine. He eventually moved out into his own bed.

Then, I got to thinking (I do that sometimes): Why is it that we train our children to sleep by themselves from such a young age?Is it just because parents want to have their beds to themselves (and..um..have a sex life or something)? A lifetime is approximately 80 years, if we’re lucky. Isn’t the goal to spend the majority of that life sleeping in a bed with someone else? (I said sleeping, we’re talking about sleep right now, okay?)

So, for our childhood years, American and other Western cultures focus on the importance of sleeping alone: Alone in a crib, alone in a single bed, sometimes alone in a room, if not with siblings. But then, we grow up, and meet someone with whom we theoretically want to share our beds for around fifty or sixty years (again, if we’re lucky)!

So if a baby or child sleeps with his parents for a few years in the beginning, what’s the big deal, considering the grand scheme of life?

Can you tell I haven’t had uninterrupted sleep in many moons?
But really, is this just a ridiculous theory, or do you think it has a shred of merit?

Photo: U.N.C/Flickr

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