Years ago, I remember watching an episode of some or other ‘Nanny Knows Best’ type show which featured a single mum with two little boys aged around 3 and 5.
I’m not normally brought to tears by these shows but this one really got me.
You see, every night both boys ended up, at some point, in bed with their mum. And mum was told she wasn’t to do this; she was to get up with them and put them back in their own beds.
Overnight, the nanny-cam ran and viewers watched as mum got up and put the boys back in their beds, and then they came back into hers, and then she put them back in their own beds – a dozen times or so, with each one in the night.
What made it doubly hard to watch was that the mum herself admitted she enjoyed the company and snuggly warmth of having her boys in with her – especially as she was newly single and had no one else with her in the night.
So why make them move? I thought at the time. She’s happy, they’re happy – and it’s not like they’re still going to be doing it when they’re 15.
At the time when I was watching the show, my daughter was still little enough to be in a cot. But, once she moved into her ‘big bed’, it wasn’t long before we’d have nightly visits.
And now she’s 5 – and they continue.
It varies a lot: maybe 2 out of 7 nights, she stays in her own bed for a full 10 or 11 hours, but, often, we’ll have her in between us by around 3am.
My husband and I did have arguments over this initially. He was keen that she be put back in her own bed and, to start with, we tried it.
And there would be tears and tantrums from her – until I just wasn’t prepared to do it anymore.
The issue of where kids sleep can be an emotive one – remember the story of the mum who was pilloried for her custom-made bed for her 5 kids?
But I love our big family bed. And, as I’m up at 6.30am every morning, I really don’t care where we all sleep as long as we’re getting some – although I’ll admit we are a teensy bit squashed.
What age should it stop? 8? 9? I haven’t thought that far ahead.
If she’s still doing it at 13, we might need a serious talk. But, until then, I like the closeness and am enjoying the cuddles, so I have no intention of stopping any time soon.
What do you think?
Does your little one end up in bed with you at night? Do you let them stay or do you always take them back to their own bed? Tell us in the comments below or over on Facebook