Right Age For Shifting Your Child To A Separate Bed
Created by Parentune Support Updated on Jan 20, 2019
Co sleeping is a practice common in the Indian subcontinent. It is a habit where parents and children sleep together or share the same bed.
During my school sessions I have come across instances where the primary children do not feel conscious about sharing the bed with parents. This is not the same for children in middle school and high school. Indeed it was amusing to note that boys as old as 14 years are not allowed to sleep in their own bed. Their answer was that their mothers did not ‘allow’. Middle school children were rearing to sleep on their own but again the same old complaint- parents were not letting them sleep on their own.
This may not come as a surprise as in India this is very common. Co-sleeping occurs due to several factors:
- Lack of space
- Avoid switching on the AC in the second room
- Parental anxiety of letting the children be on their own
- A small percentage of children are scare of sleeping on their own (in the initial days at least)
- Parents do not want to let go
- Cultural mind set
Indeed co sleeping brings out the maternal instincts strongly when the mother and infant cuddle and sleep. A warm glow overcomes as we watch our infants sleep in our arms or cuddle up to us. A mother’s favourite past time is to watch her child sleep. And who wouldn’t? After all don’t they look angelic? We forget all their mischief when they are asleep!
When Should We Separate Our Child/Children From Our Bed And Room?
There is varied opinion on this. Also each child and family is unique. Hence it is up to the mother to take the decision.
I shall share my views and experience here.
I know this may sound horrifying to many of you. You can place a camera or a baby monitor in the baby’s room so that you are alerted. The camera and the baby monitor can be tuned to your phone. Since some of us are not strong hearted or are too anxious you can wait till the baby is 1 year old. The earlier you move the baby away from you it is easier for both parent and child. Some parents would prefer to shift children into their own beds/rooms when they are between 5-8 years old. Hence it is up to the parent. It is definitely not wise or healthy to have children sharing your bed/room beyond 8 years. Here again it is preferable to shift boys out by the time they are 6 and girls by 8 if you wish to push it so far
Benefits Of Making Children Sleep Seperately
As parents it is difficult to be subjective but do think of this from your child’s perspective. Choose the age and time according to your comfort, practicality and also because you know your child best.
Precautions that can be taken
- From day 1 to 3 months the infant can be placed in a bassinet next to your cot
- From 3-6 months the infant can be placed in a small crib or cradle near your cot. This is helpful if the child is breast fed and less tiring for the mother
- From the 6th month the infant gets into a sleep routine. The baby can be given its last night feed and put to sleep in its crib. The baby would definitely get a minimum of 9 hours of sleep. This sleep is necessary for both mother and infant. During the 6th month you can gradually move the crib or cradle away from your cot
- From the 7th month you can buy the baby cot and place it in the next room or just outside your door. The baby will be aware of the distance. When the baby wakes up you can go in, reassure and return to your room. If the baby cries for more than 8 minutes you can pick up, sooth the infant and put it back into its crib/cot. It takes hardly 3-5 days to sleep train your infant
- You are inculcating a night time ritual. This ritual will establish good sleep habits
- The mother and father are primarily a marital couple. We may think that the child is sleeping or not aware. There are many instances where children have woken up in the night and the intimacy of the parents have affected them. Knowing that their parents need their privacy inculcates a healthy mind set in the children. They will also grow up to have positive attitude about companionship.
- The mother requires her share of rest. This rest gets affected if co-sleeping happens. When the mother is tried, she takes it out in different ways onto her spouse and her environment.
- No child likes to be separated and initially some of them may resist or cry out in fear- fear of ghosts or the dark. It is normal. When they cry and wait for their parents to come to them, they are actually learning to wait. It is an important milestone. Knowing that their parents would come to them increases their sense of security and self-esteem. Gradually they grow confident.
- Parents can make the idea of a separate bed and separate room very exciting and interesting. This will help the child self-control. They also will learn to take pride of their room, their bed, their desk and their things. You can add a poster or their name board on their door.
- Installing a camera or a baby monitor during infancy to toddlerhood if you opt for a separate room Or keep the doors of both rooms ajar
- If you decide to separate when your child is older please ensure that when guests come over to stay overnight, keep your child with you. Avoid making your child share the room with any guest/relative however close they are
| Oct 12, 2017
I just have one room for myself as we have the joint family with six sis- in- laws sharing their own rooms... it is going to be very early for a child of age three n half to sleep separately.... but these are really the valuable tips to keep in mind for future use...
| Feb 12, 2018
I have started with separate bed in our bedroom itself for my daughter when she was 4yrs old. On her 5th birthday we decorated her toy room with a bed,side table, study table, bed lamp and radium stickers onto the ceiling etc. she was very excited. its been 4months we shifted her to her own room... she still shows signs of separation anxiety, so once in a while she is invited into our room n share our bed. i have fixed a board in her room where she gets stars for keeping her room clean, putting everything in order, sleeping more number of days in her room etc.