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If your child was still co-sleeping at age 7... how much longer?

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 

How much longer did it go on? How many others co-sleeping with a 6-7 year old?


Our ped is AWESOME and was reassuring recently (I wouldn't talk to most medical folks about co-sleeping with an older child, but she completely understands) when I brought it up at a well visit. I think what is throwing us off is that our older child was begging to sleep in her own room before she was 3 yo and pretty much has been fine ever since, with some brief exceptions when she had problems with environmental allergies.


So we have the twin next to the queen... my 7 yo used to have night terrors which terrified me and had me worried about her safety (she'd walk right off the side of a bed, we had tall stairs, etc). I noticed over time that she stays asleep if there is someone with her. When she was younger I'd nurse her to sleep or whatever we did, and sneak out... I'd get an hour or two before she stirred (sometimes dh could just lay her back down and she'd be immediately asleep, or I could, or other times I would just go to bed, etc.) The quality of her sleep has really improved, meaning I don't expect her to always wake up if I'm not there, but she really can't fall asleep alone, so I lay with her. Which is fine. She still stays asleep better if someone is with her. If she is sick I have no hope of sneaking away!


Her ped thinks that maybe the transition will be easier closer to age 8... I have to admit that if she was the kind of kid who if she had a hard night could come sleep on a sleeping bag next to my bed, that would be fine... but she is still pretty intense at night. She sleeps in the crack between our beds, and is basically touching me or throwing her body on me in some way throughout the night. Depending on the time of month, I can deal with it or not. I try to roll her or scootch her to the middle of her bed as much as I can do so.


We have tried about 8-10 times various approaches to encourage more sleep independence, but they have all upset her greatly. Her ped suggested that we not push for now, because by pushing her we may cause her to cling more tightly. (So perhaps that has happened in the past...)


Dh is kinda over this. He'd like her in a different sleeping space. If she was ready and excited and positive about it, I'm fine with it and I'm sure I'd quickly get used to it, but I don't feel the same urgency about it as he does. I would still sort of like to know, in that small population of 7 year olds who need to cosleep still, how long past 7 that transition seemed to happen naturally, how long it took, did you really have to instigate it, or did you follow your child's lead. I sort of feel like well we have done it for this long, might as well let her decide when she wants to move on. I just can't imagine her being 9 yo like my other daughter is currently and still wanting to sleep with us! But then, I thought she'd be done by this age, really, so I should stop comparing...


Thanks! :)

post #2 of 38

I personally don't think there is an age which is too old to provide night comfort to your child. But you need to decide what is best for the family.  I have come to recognize that it's important for our children to feel relaxed and no anxiety going to bed by themselves.  They are now at ages where they may sleep over with Grandparents, have sitters who are there at bedtime etc and I really want them to feel like their own bed is a haven and a place to sleep. I think there are lots of things you can do to help her transition back to that. Starting with talking to her about how she feels and how important it is for her to be capable of falling asleep in her own bed.  That doesn't mean it will happen over night but you can agree to work towards it. 

post #3 of 38

OP:  I feel like you wrote the post I'll be writing in a few years.  Our 4yo has a lot of similar sleep needs.  

Up until a month ago or so she was in bed with us and her little brother, all in a king.  But it got too crowded and no one was sleeping well.

For a spell, she'd been okay in a twin at the end of our bed, but that was short lived.  However, we decided to try it again, rather than split us up into two rooms.  I'd been in another bed with our 19mo, while DP was in the king with the 4yo.  I didn't like that.  I wanted us all together again, so we suggested the twin at the end of our bed again, and she was into the idea, if only to keep up all in the same room.

All of this to say that our ped knows about our sleeping arrangements too, and he said that if she's still in our bed/room now, it's going to be for a long time and not to push it any time soon.

Right now, we're happy with her at the end of the bed, except that DP ends up in there with her a fair bit after comforting her in the night.

I imagine that our 4yo will sleep in our room indefinitely, and I predict that her brother won't be.  He's a different child, and I imagine he'll look forward to his own space, unlike his sister.

post #4 of 38
If cosleeping at this age is so rare or taboo, why would the pediatricians claim to know so much about the situation? That confounds me. Either there are an awful lot of closeted older-child cosleeping families who talk about it with pediatricians, or the docs are just making some pretty broad guesses.

We still cosleep with our 5yo, since it would feel pretty rude to boot him out while DD is still in bed with us. We use 2 queen mattresses up against each other. Eventually, we hope to move toward a sibling bed and a parent bed. it's anyone's guess how long that might be, though.

If they go to a different room all alone after sleeping with others their whole life, it will likely be a hard transition at any age. I think going from family bedroom to sibling bedroom helps ease that. Surely by tween age, kids will not want so much closeness at night. Right?
post #5 of 38

7, 5 and 15months.... they can share the family bed for as long as they want....

post #6 of 38

I also want to know. We cosleep with all our kids, oldest DD is 7. I cannot get her to her own room now, she would be by herself, while the other two are still with us. I can try to get the two oldest out (DS (5) and DD( 7)) together maybe. Who has experience with this?

post #7 of 38

We are still with our girls, 6.5 and 8.  They would do fine, with a transition period, but we have 1 bedroom for right now, and mostly I like it.  What I don't like really has little to do with sharing the bed.  I know and know of plenty of kids who slept with parents or in their rooms until 11 or later--usually not much later, but that depends on the situation.  


So, your daughter could be there a while, if you are waiting for her needs to lessen.  In my house, the decision lies with the parent who will be doing the nighttime parenting--and that's me.  If your responsibilities are shared, then the decision can be less unilateral.  


We also have a huge-bed set up.  It is not a perfect situation, but all-in-all I love curling up with my girls.  I don't love when their knees get into my back, but......

post #8 of 38
Thread Starter 

I think that my biggest issue, personally, is that she still wants to touch me all night long. Sometimes I can "handle it" but other times it just drives me really nutty.


I think if we had a 3rd child who was a couple of years younger (like 3-5 yo) that those two little ones would happily be sleeping together. But life circumstances weren't right for us to do that. Maybe a dog would help lol.


I guess I will be doing this for a while!

post #9 of 38
When my oldest (6, will be 7 in July) started kindergarten, is when I switched her to her own bed. I felt like she was old enough to be on her own. She occasionally still sleeps with me. I don't really let her do it anymore as I have a 7 week old. We have a trindle bed, so there is not enough space for 3. She is mostly okay with that as she is still in the same room.
post #10 of 38
My 7 yo also sleeps on a twin beside our queen bed. I like the Japanese view that kids can decide when to have their own room. Also, kids' immune systems are boosted when they feel secure, so I feel that anything that boosts security and happiness is also healthy.
post #11 of 38
Kids can be so different... my oldest put himself in his own room at 3 and never looked back! Right now, I can't imagine my 7yo ever leaving. LOL
post #12 of 38

Glad I found this thread.  My 7 yr old still sleeps w me.  DH comes home very late and it has just been more convenient that way.

I am a very light sleeper. Now DH is resentful. We went to a therapist and she said that DS not sleeping by himself is detrimental to his development and that no therapist would disagree.  I disagree and wish I could find info on it.  My son is very secure and a wonderful kid.   I just love c osleeping and am sure DS will want to move to his own room soon enough.  Unfortunately, DH is angry about it.:(

post #13 of 38
What an arrogant therapist 1967.

My 6 year old doesn't show any signs of stopping. When I was pregnant last year we changed the house from my room and his room to sleeping room and playing room. DP (doesn't live with us) is getting used to the idea.
post #14 of 38

people have co slept  since the beginning of time...that should make the therapist question herself

post #15 of 38

Its been such a hard battle w DH and now the therapist confirmed and agreed all his thoughts.  I guess the good news is that DS is getting older and will soon want his own bed.   Lately, I feel like the world is out to get me.:(

post #16 of 38
Originally Posted by es1967 View Post

Its been such a hard battle w DH and now the therapist confirmed and agreed all his thoughts.  I guess the good news is that DS is getting older and will soon want his own bed.   Lately, I feel like the world is out to get me.:(

I wonder if you could get a 2nd opinion from a therapist with a knowledge of attachment parenting.

post #17 of 38
Originally Posted by contactmaya View Post

I wonder if you could get a 2nd opinion from a therapist with a knowledge of attachment parenting.

Yes, DH did say we could get another therapist if I did not like her.  I already have found another but am wondering if I should see her myself before bringing DH.  I guess I could call her and ask her if she has knowledge of attachment parenting.   Its just so darn expensive!

post #18 of 38

Mine is 5-1/2 and still co-sleeping.  


It's somewhat circumstantial:  I lived in a 3-bedroom house with 2 kids.  Then - all in one year - I got married, my husband got custody of his son from before and we had a baby.  Squoosh!  My kids (the oldest 2) shared a room and when the youngest was ~3, we put a bed for him in my step-son's room.  However, the baby's schedule did not jive in any way with that of his brother (then in 6th grade).  We're building an addition for the older 3 kids, with bedrooms and another bathroom.  I keep hearing that it's a couple weeks from being complete, but it's been a l-o-n-g time in the building.  So, the littlest one is still in our bed.


But it's not entirely forced upon us.  Our son did not want to sleep alone.  My husband (who thought this was so important) missed cuddling with him at night.  And I see the changes in him, now.  I'd be surprised if we have more than a few months left, when he even wants to sleep with us.  When his brothers move upstairs, I think he's going to be pretty excited about having his own space, and our dog sleeping with him.  (She currently sleeps with an older brother, but is afraid to climb the stairs.)  So, social convention be damned.  Why not enjoy our last few snuggly nights?


I think the only way you can mess up co-sleeping is if you're not honest with yourself.  Is your daughter still needing to sleep with you?  Then no one else can really set an arbitrary time when that becomes "inappropriate".  She'll stop wanting to, sometime before puberty.  I guarantee it.  Or, if you're just tired of it, no one can blame you for transitioning her out, at 7.  If you were encouraging a kid who's ready to sleep on her own to stay in your bed, because you're lonely, stressed, or having marital problems, then I'd say you're not the first, but once you recognize it, you should change your approach.


Legally? This was actually an issue, in my husband's custody battle.  His ex-wife moved with their 7-y-o son, from a 3-bedroom house in the Midwest, to a studio apartment with one bed, in a tony neighborhood in California.  Their sleeping together was pretty clearly an example of Mom being lonely (and not recognizing that her son's need for some personal space should trump her "need" to live in an enviable zip code).  Mom and son were close, but he felt embarrassed enough to lie about their sleeping arrangements and not have friends over.  The highly-regarded custody evaluator who interviewed all of them and testified at their trial said co-sleeping should positively end by age 9; and that Mom's failure to even give her 7-y-o the option of a bedroom separate from her was not, of itself, a reason to change custody, but it supported his recommendation that (for various other reasons) living with Dad seemed better.

Edited by VocalMinority - 11/22/13 at 1:32pm
post #19 of 38

My son coslept until he was 11.5 and i adopted a baby. He mightve gone on longer, i dont know. He only coslept when we stayed at my mom's house (we slept there half of each week as i was her caregiver and i had a queensize bed there)...at our apt i only had a twin so he couldnt really share my bed. I have a five (nearly six) yr old now (well, two of them) and i dont think he's going to be willing to sleep on his own anytime soon. 

post #20 of 38

Not sure if there is a thing as part time co-sleeping? My 7 and 4 year old start off in their beds (they share a room) and comes over in ours sometime in the wee morning. My 2 1/2 cosleeps with me full time. They didn't chose to be on their own. We just got a room ready for them and would take them in there, read them a story and stay there until they fall asleep. I guess in a few years they may want complete bed independance not sure.


I do have a cousin that even in her teens she would still try and go in her parents bed now and then usually when she watches a scary movie, it was nice to see that even at that age they can still feel comfortable to be comforted my a parent..  

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