When should you stop your child getting into bed with you at night?

When should you stop letting your child climb into bed with you at night? Is it OK for them to do it occasionally even as they get older? More than 1,400 parents told us what they thought - and we got some expert advice from an educational psychologist

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Here on MadeForMums we shared the story of a mum who told us her 5-year-old daughter regularly came into her and her husband’s bedroom at night and ended up sleeping with them and she had no issue with that whatsoever.

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We know too, though, that many parents (including some of us) will put their child back into their bedroom as many times as it takes in a night to ensure everyone sleeps in their own bed.

And when we asked 1,427 parents at what age they’d stop letting their children get into bed with them, the response were pretty varied and spanned a wide age range but the most popular answers were:

  • under 2 (14%)
  • age 5 (11%)
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When we probed further, people had some really interesting things to say on this topic. Many said they’d allow their kids to sleep in their beds only on rare occasions – like if they were ill, or woke up frightened in the night – and that in these circumstances, age didn’t come into it.

Others admitted they quite liked the occasional visit, with one respondent saying: “[My] 5-year-old still creeps in on a rare occasion. They are only wee for a bit, so I enjoy it all as I know I won’t always get her coming to me for a snuggle.”

Though some wouldn’t consider it even after a nightmare/illness, with one person saying: “I don’t allow this full stop.”

We should also note that not all children want or need to do this. As one respondent said: “I never had this problem with either of my children – they are great at staying in their beds.”

What does the expert say? 

When we checked in with educational psychologist Naomi Burgess, she reminded us that, here in the UK, at least, sleeping independently is seen as an important marker in achieving independence, and yet this is not so in many other cultures around the world.

“A really helpful way of answering this question is to consider whether your child’s sleeping or bedtime habits make you anxious or cause a problem either for them or your family,” she says.

“If this is the case, whatever their age, it is always worth talking it through with others or consulting a child sleep specialist.

“Just remember there really aren’t any hard and fast rules. Often our rules are the ones we were brought up with ourselves.”

Some really good food for thought there, we reckon.

Some key words that came up from our mums’ responses…

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What do you think?

At what age will you stop letting your child come into the bed with you at night? Maybe it’s never been an issue? Tell us in the comments below or over on Facebook

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