We gradually introduced limits. I think by 7 I was lying down w/both dds in their bed, then leaving when they were asleep. Still do that, but now (age 9 and 6) they can sleep w/o me if necessary. At first they would usually wake in the night and come into the big bed. Dd1 seems to wake more often in the night, so eventually we told her that it had to be no more than an hour before time to wake up in the AM. Some nights she would come in and look at the clock and go back to her bed. There were times we would make an exception, like if someone was sick or having nightmares or something. At this time she can come in for maybe 10 minutes when it's time to wake up, and everyone seems fine with the current arrangement.
One downside was that I had to be willing to go to them in their bed if someone was fussing, having nightmares, etc. I might lie down with them for a short time, until they were calm, then go back to my bed. But I don't need to do that anymore.
You must have a really huge bed to let everyone have their own blankets. Its cold enough here we have an electric blanket plus several more on the bed. You can't bunch up electric blankets so each of us having our own wouldn't be safe.
I discovered co-sleeping when ds1 was about 2 mos old. Around his 2nd bday, when he chose to stop nursing, I had a room with twin beds on opposite walls and could lay with him until he fell asleep and then go the whole night in the other bed alone. When he was 4 yo I got married and he got his own room for the 1st time. I used a gentle transition method which I later found out was basically the NCSS. He was so impressed with himself for being a big boy!
Ds2 co-slept from his 1st night outside my body. I never even bought a crib. When he was 2 yo we got a toddler bed to go in my room but he hated it. Although he did STTN at 2, he nursed until 5 yo. At 4.5 yo I put a bunk bed in ds1's room and expected ds2 to sleep there...it took up to an hour to get him to fall asleep, I had to be right there. It wasn't enough for his big brother to be in the room bc he couldn't see him up there. We really struggled.
At 7.5 yo he got his own room and did really well for a couple of years and then really began developing severe anxiety and signs of disordered mood. He would take forever to be comforted to sleep and ended up in my room almost every night. And he was too scared to sleep on the floor, he had to be in my bed.
Now he is almost 12 and most nights I can just tuck him in but a couple of times a week I wake up to a knobby knee in my spine. It's driving me crazy, I can't take it anymore but the one night I locked my door he cried so loud I woke up and let him in. I asked him how old is too old to sleep in mom's bed, in his opinion, and he said he doesn't know. I said 12 is too old so we will see what happens in a few months.
My current 7 year old is part time in my bed and part time in the bed above me (bunk beds). My oldest child stopped co-sleeping at age 10, she is now 11 and can sleep alone but actually prefers to sleep with her 4.5 year old brother because she says her bed is lonely and cold otherwise. We will be co-sleeping for quite some time to come. Real estate is really expensive here and we are in the process on buying a tiny little 2 bedroom house. Did I mention we are a family of six? My new bedroom plan will be to keep the 11 and 4.5y old together in the tiny second bedroom and then get two beds in the master. One for the 7y old and I and 1 for Dh and the 2.5 year old. That will be it for the foreseeable future.
My 9yo ds and I still share a bed. He's starting to be OK with the idea of having his own bed and room, so we'll probably make that happen soon. As a baby, he was in my arms or sling 24/7, and has continued to be a snuggler all his life, so it seems likely he's an outlier on the "years of cosleeping" spectrum.
<ul><li>complete co-sleeping at 7, to</li>
<li>me lying down with my son until he fell asleep in his own bed (then slipping out to spend time with dh and then go to sleep in my own bed), to</li>
<li>lying down with him for ten minutes then leaving while he was half-asleep, to</li>
<li>tucking him into bed and sitting in a chair in the room to read for ten minutes before leaving.</li>
<p>Now he's 9 and sleeping by himself in a loft bed in his room. Sometimes I stay and read for a bit after I tuck him in and sometimes I just kiss and go. He's welcome to come cuddle with me in my bed if he wants but he rarely does. I love that bedtime has always been a good and happy time for him (and I love that bit of structured reading time just for me!)</p>
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