Some think that you should not allow your kids to sleep with you since day one because that will only create super clingy and dependent kids. Others think by co-sleeping, the kids will develop independence earlier because they do not have to experience separation anxiety.
What are your thoughts on this?
I tend to believe that the latter is true; at least in my case it is true. If I were to actually compare Sharleez to my twins Mysha and Myreen, I would say Sharleez is the more independent and vocal one. Mysha and Myreen on the other hand, always take longer to adapt themselves to a new environment. But then again, Mysha and Myreen have been sleeping on their own since they were 6 months old. Isn’t that independence, per se? So okay, the reason for their dependent/independent nature may not even have anything to do with who they sleep with at night. It may be due to their birth order, or something else altogether.
This is the second night of Sharleez sleeping on her own. Before that, she had been sleeping with me and Tatek. Sharleez would never go to sleep without me next to her. She needed to hold my pit in order to soothe herself to sleep. I don’t know, there’s just something about the firstborn; it’s a special kind of bond. I breastfed her the longest too. I cried the first night she slept on her own because I was already used to smelling and hugging her every night from the day she was born.
5 years 7 months.
That’s how long Sharleez and I took to slowly detach ourselves from each other for bedtime. But I had a good talk with her when I brought her out to the clinic few days ago. I implied that she needed to start sleeping on her own already.
Me: “Have you been sleeping well, Sharleez? A bit crampy right? I think there’s not enough space on the bed already. Oh my goodness, you are such a big girl already.”
And the nervous me laughed it off. Nervous because I was not even sure whether I could do it (i.e: sleep separately), what more her?
Sharleez: “Ya la Mummy, a bit crampy. Luckily I did not fall from the bed. I am growing bigger because I will be 6, right? Okay Mummy, I will try my best to sleep on my own tonight.”
So she really did try sleeping on her own that same night. She did wake up twice in the middle of the night to check whether I was on the bed. But other than that, she slept throughout quite peacefully.
The next morning, she was already awake so early! She looked for me immediately and crawled into bed for a cuddle. She then looked at me right in the eyes and asked me this,
“Mummy, did you sleep well last night or not? Is it not squeezy anymore now? Better right?”
“Yes Sharleez, it was a good sleep. You are so smart, sleeping on your own! Good job!”
Honestly, I did not sleep that well because I was already so used to sleeping with her. Like they say,
“A daughter will outgrow your lap, but she will never outgrow your heart. “
But of course I did not tell her that. I know it will only get better with time, and that she has to sleep on her own eventually. As it is, she went to sleep easily tonight as compared to last night. Hurray!
Although it took us both 5 years and 7 months to finally do this, I am glad we did it. You know, it was not that difficult after all to get the kids to sleep on their own. The reason why I took this long was because I did not even dare to try.
So parents, how can you get your bed back easily?
- Be positive. Note that I told Sharleez “Oh my goodness, you are such a big girl already!” instead of “You should not be sleeping with Mummy already, you know?” When you are encouraging, your child will be so eager to make the switch.
- Take small steps. It will be
quiteVERY ridiculous to expect your child to sleep on his/her own immediately without any hiccups. The first few nights require a lot of coaxing, reassurance, encouragement, and your company. During the first night when Sharleez woke up to look for me, I gave her the thumbs up, and told her that she was doing really great. She immediately went back to her mattress and put herself to sleep minutes later. That was fast! Or was she actually sleepwalking?
- Withdraw yourself slowly. Last night for example, it was raining super heavily with thunder.Instead of lying in my bed together, I went to her mattress instead and accompanied her till she fell asleep. I ended up falling asleep as well next to her till the next morning. Hahaha.
- Be consistent. There will days when your child will fall sick, or is not able to sleep after watching a scary show on TV. Instead of giving in to your child and inviting him/her to your bed, it is more ideal to accompany him/her instead till he/she falls asleep.
There are bound to be upsets along the way, but I guess if we do not try, we will never ever get to reclaim our bed.