Outgrowing Your Family Bed

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Cultural Acceptance of Co-Sleeping

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Though parents sleeping with their young children is a popular practice in some areas of the world, it is open to much debate. This is called co-sleeping. Most people agree that it is cute for toddlers to cuddle up next to their parents when they have fears or trouble sleep­ing. Small children may run for shelter beneath their parents’ sheets during a thunder­storm. The need for physical touch in parental bonding is well docu­mented.

For the protection of their delicate bodies, infants should sleep alone in a crib. This is often a difficult transition from the womb.

In many cultures, co-sleep­ing is the norm until children are weaned. Some families continue long after weaning. Japanese parents (or grand­parents) frequently sleep in proximity with their children until they are teen­agers. Referring to this arrangement as a river—the mother is one bank, the father another, and the child sleeping between them is the water.

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