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My daughter is 2 years and 4 months old and still sleeps in our room in her small bed. I told my wife many times to try to put her in the other room and if she cried at night, go to her or I can go to her to see if she wants anything. Then we can come back to sleep.

One thing I noticed about my daughter's behavior is, she won't go anywhere alone at home, but will always stick around us in the same room wherever we are.

We both (father/mother) work in the early morning.

Could this have any impact on the child? Is there any risk/harm in letting children sleep in our room?

  • I am not clear what exactly you are asking. Stack doesn't deal very well with general advice. Can you edit in what exactly you would like to know? (such as "is there any risk/harm in letting children sleep in our room" or "is it normal for kids not to want to go around the house alone") – Erik Mar 1 '17 at 13:45
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    "is there any risk/harm in letting children sleep in our room" .This exactly what I want sorry for missunderstating – Hamad Mar 1 '17 at 14:09
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    @Erik ,@willow, I have edified the text I hope that I clearly the questions. thank you – Hamad Mar 1 '17 at 14:16
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    I suspect it's beneficial to the child. As long as it doesn't disrupt the parents too much, then it's fine. My wife and I still cosleep with our six year old. – clay Mar 1 '17 at 20:14
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    In India it is very common that a 7 or 8 years kids living in the same room or even in same bed with Parents. It seems mostly a cultural issue than actual problem. – Tanmoy Mar 2 '17 at 4:52
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Hamad, I think that many children around the world sleep in the same room as their parents -- some for most of their lives. Most of these will/have become perfectly normal, healthy adults.

I'd say it is up to you. I think you can research co-sleeping, sleep sharing or family bed to help you make an informed decision. Link -- here is one article from Parents

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No, on the contrary there is even an indication that this reduces stress for your child. This study on co-sleeping in 101 infants concludes:

At 5 weeks and 6 months, the long-term co-sleeping infants differed significantly from the non-co-sleepers on a number of measures: At 5 weeks, they showed more quiet sleep and longer bouts of quiet sleep; and at 6 months, they also showed less active sleep, fewer arousals in active sleep, and less wakefulness.

Based on extensive evidence for long-term effects of early stress, we conclude that co-sleeping should have significant implications for infants' neurobehavioral development.

There is another study that found that bed-sharing is associated with lower cortisol levels.

Parents' reports of children's aggression and family discord within 2 hr of saliva collection were associated with elevated cortisol levels in children. With these acute stressors statistically controlled, retrospective data on parent-child cosleeping showed that children who had coslept in their parent(s) room had lower cortisol levels, as did children who had attended less daycare in the first 4 years of life.

  • Tom - as you didn't sign in when you posted your second answer, I've included it in here for you. – Rory Alsop Mar 1 '17 at 22:10
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    The first article you quote actually shows evidence that co-sleeping (in same bed, not just same room) leads to more stress. You just forgot to include these two sentences in your quote: "This sleep pattern has been repeatedly found to be an indicator of stress. We infer that a major source of stress for these infants is the experience of sleep disturbance documented for infants when they were co-sleeping." – Daniel Darabos Mar 2 '17 at 14:17
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    Tom, you are, as @DanielDarabos pointed out, misquoting that article. The whole article is about that they believe that it is harmful, even the title is "The sleep of co-sleeping infants when they are not co-sleeping: evidence that co-sleeping is stressful" (emphasis mine). You are misleading people that is reading your answer by quoting out of context as you skip sentences. Their conclusion in the end of the article is "it is reasonable to suggest that bed sharing with some regularity, in the context of our modern Western culture, can be a stressful experience for infants" (my emphasis) – Mrkvička Mar 3 '17 at 9:43
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    Though, I would not draw definite conclusions based on that article. They have quite small data set (4 nights/baby, sometimes only 4h data/night) to analyze; does not assess cause and effect (i.e., whether the reason for co-sleeping is because the babies are stressed in general or if the parents co-sleep for other reasons and the co-sleeping really is the actual cause); the stress indicating pattern is only significantly different in 7 of 20 comparisons; the pattern in itself is not a proof of stress nor an indicator of the reason. They do, however, reference others that show similar results – Mrkvička Mar 3 '17 at 10:02
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Harm?  No. 

Impact?  Yes.  

As you stated, "she won't go anywhere alone at home, but will always stick around us at the same room wherever we are".
Answers will be anecdotal, as this is isn't a question with the same answer for everyone.

In general, the answer is up to you. I'd explore other questions, like:
Do we (adults) get enough sleep, or is the child keeping us up? Do we have enough privacy? Do we give our child privacy? If the child wants to play in their room, where do they go?
Where does the child keep their toys and games and stuff?
How long will these answers hold up?
Does the child want their own room?
Do you have room for a regular sized bed? Do you want for them to be dependent on always having someone else in the room? (Think about what this means when/if they go off to college...)

Now, if you decide to move her out, explore the possibility of doing that at a milestone. Maybe a birthday, holiday, summer, school, or something. Maybe changing from a crib to a toddler bed or toddler bed to a "big" bed.

Good luck.

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There are two very famous anthropology papers about this in the Japanese context.

Caudill, W., & Plath, D. W. (1966). Who sleeps by whom? Parent-child involvement in urban Japanese families. Psychiatry, 29(4), 344-366.

Shweder, R. A., Jensen, L. A., & Goldstein, W. M. (1995). Who sleeps by whom revisited: A method for extracting the moral goods implicit in practice. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 1995(67), 21-39. https://humdev.uchicago.edu/sites/humdev.uchicago.edu/files/uploads/shweder/1995--Who%20Sleeps%20by%20Whom%20Revisited%20-%20A%20Method%20for%20Extracting%20the%20Moral%20Goods%20Implicit%20in%20Practice_with%20Balle-Jensen%20and%20Goldstein.PDF#

The papers argue that the practice is cultural.

Medical research on the dangers of co-sleeping is more divisive with some coming out against co-sleeping, claiming that very young children can get smothered. But even in that literature the conclusion is generally favorable, and smothering is not something that is likely to happen to a two year old.

Independence is often touted as an advantage of sleeping alone but I think that it creates an illusion of independence, whereas the child that has been loved to the extent that they are allowed to choose the time when they leave the parental bed has the most genuine independence. I have seen no research on this issue. Our children sleep with us at 6 and 10 years old.

The biggest issue for those not used to it is perhaps its effect upon marital sex. It is perhaps worth bearing in mind, though perhaps off topic, that while modern thought often frames sex as a natural source of pleasure there are other views. Thai Buddhism recommends abstinence, and Catholicism recommends against non procreative sex for instance.

  • +1 for discussing sex; and also the perceived dangers when the child shares the bed. When we researched it 10 years ago there were studies showing a correlation between sudden infant death and sharing a bed in the U.S, but not in Scandinavia. My assumption is that sleep medication, alcohol and other drugs should be avoided when co-sleeping (to enable the natural responses to your baby being next to you). – Peter - Reinstate Monica Mar 2 '17 at 12:02
  • I don't think "religion says you shouldn't be having sex anyway" is that helpful a 'discussion' of sex for most people looking for help on this. – jwg Mar 3 '17 at 15:59
  • Catholicism doesn't recommend this. Catholicism supports natural family planning methods, sustainable family sizes, and happy fulfilling marriages. – user1751825 Sep 7 '18 at 4:48
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Sleep is a horrible topic to ask advice on ☺ Everybody has an opinion and already you've received aggregate data and opinions on the subject. But let's just dial this back before we start tucking into scientific papers or op-eds. Why are you even asking?

You're asking because you have concerns with the existing arrangement.

Regardless of whether this is physiologically healthy, attachment-style parenting can —from what I've heard and seen of friends who openly practice it— come with a few negative side-effects in the immediate term... Some of which you've already described:

  • Your sleep is disturbed by them trying to sleep, grunting, etc.
  • Their sleep is disturbed by your snoring, grunting, etc.
  • They can be clingy [because they've never known being on their own].
  • And you get no privacy in the bedroom. For doing private stuff.

All of these things may be completely independent from sleep situation and up to 6 months, co-sleeping has definite benefits for SIDS prevention and nursing mothers... But past that I don't think it hurts to reassess the situation holistically.

For example, your relationship with your wife is very much part of your daughter's environment and the health of that relationship is important. A happy family is the best environment for a child, wherever they sleep.

I realise I'm layering anecdote on top of anecdote but I think parenting by cortisol levels is an unhealthy justification for something you might think is wrong. I'm all for good, applied science but I need absolute benefits and they need to be justified against their cost. Co-sleeping, in all its forms, did not justify the lack of sleep we were getting. Newborns are hard-enough work in the daytime.

So I'm not here to tell you that one thing is better than the other, or put an absolute risk of damaging your child (nobody else here is either). You're almost 2 years out of the cot-death/SIDS danger zone. There may be stress involved in moving your child out of the room which may have a effect on development but with little definitive indication of what that might be. The adult outcome may not even be negative.

Ultimately, I say go with whatever feels right for you. That's almost all of our ancestors would have done with their children and we turned out alright, didn't we? *twitch* *twitch*

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    I don't necessarily agree with the bolded sentence. Perhaps the OP is asking because his personal preference is to have the child in the other room, and he is trying to find a a good 'scientific' reason to justify this? – jwg Mar 2 '17 at 8:06
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    Definitely, and what's wrong with that? Whatever the underlying reason for the question, there's nothing abnormal —quite the opposite— about a 2yo sleeping in their own room and the benefits of such extend well past the health of the child. Good parenting can't always be doing what's absolutely best for the child every time, it need to be a sustainable balance... And IMO the OP is not finding his current arrangement sustainable. – Oli Mar 2 '17 at 9:05
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    I agree that there is nothing wrong with wanting to move the child out (my own children no longer sleep in my room). What I object to is the attempt to paint this as a developmental issue for the child. – jwg Mar 2 '17 at 12:06
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First, as I always say in these things, all a child needs to grow up healthy is love and affection. While I have my views on co-sleeping like this I would stress that either option is not the end of the world or going to have a drastic or harmful effect on the child. Having said that, my advice is to move your daughter to a new room.

As the study linked by Tom says, when you actually read it instead of the version misquoted out of context by Tom, it's been found that co-sleeping leads to more stress for the child, though the sample size is small enough to not be definitive. I also believe, from personal experience volunteering with many children, that this and other 'attachment' forms of parenting generally lead to a child feeling less independent or secure in making independent decisions which I consider harmful in life.

Furthermore, as long as you have the child in your room you are getting disturbed and incomplete sleep, less alone time with your partner-which is important for maintaining any relationship, and your activities are waking your daughter limiting her own sleep. All of this is a short term problem that can be avoided by moving your daughter, even if it does not do any sort of long term harm. Since you will need to move your daughter eventually, she isn't going to be sleeping with you when 18 obviously, I believe it's best to do the transition now for your own peace and comfort as well as to encourage her independence and her getting a more relaxing & refreshing sleep.

When you move her to her own room she will cry at first, that is always how it is. To limit this I suggest stressing that the move is because she is a big girl and big girls graduate to getting their own room. Basically make a really big deal about how great a reward this is and how it shows how much she has grown and how lucky she is, the more it's built up as a right of passage the more likely she is to be proud rather then upset by the transition.

If she doesn't already have a bedroom you could build up the proces of setting her up with a bedroom to get her excited. let her decide on small things about the room, where to set the night light, how her bed should be positioned, the wall paper if you happen to be replacing it etc. Put her fun toys their, maybe even buy one or two new stuff animals she is excited about but tell her she is getting them because she now has a room of her own to keep them in, by implying a new room means more space for toys and fun things you get her excited about the room, and by extension about staying in it. You could even try saying that a new stuffed animal should stay in her room and she needs to stay to sleep with it to keep it company (rather this would work depends heavily on your daughter and her personality so I'll let you judge if she would take well to that).

During the original transition you, or your wife, may want to stay with your daughter as she is falling asleep using whatever bedtime routine she is use to, leaving the room only after she is asleep. After a few nights of this I would then transition to a bedtime routine followed by your leaving your big-girl alone in her room to fall asleep.

At some point she may cry, It is okay to go to her on occasion at first, but make sure not to set up a process where she knows you will come to her any time she cries or your encourage her to just keep crying. stay with he and help her to grow comfortable with it at first during the transition, but don't be afraid to tell her that she needs to stay in bed or that you can't always come to her if she keeps crying for you to stay with her. As with any transition it can be difficult for her, but it can be easier for both of you to push her into the transition if she is too resistant, tear the band-aid off quickly rather then slowly basically. Even if it means a few harder nights she will transition quickly enough and once adjusted be happier with the arrangement.

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If she sleeps in the same room as you, she will inevitably witness you making love or being intimate with your wife. This violates your privacy and it is not suitable for a child to witness such things.

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    Although I can see what you mean I don't think that's what the OP is getting at. – Bugs Mar 3 '17 at 10:46
  • Why is this inevitable? The parents can keep the covers on, the lighting low, and ensure the child is asleep before they get too amorous. It's easily done. This is not a valid concern. – user1751825 Sep 7 '18 at 4:40
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Although most children would probably prefer it you have to ask yourself what will it do to the parent's marriage? When you got you married you made commitments to each other, you did not commit to some third person in the bed with you.

I understand that you may want the best for the child. I know some parents who find it hard to deny a crying child his / her wishes but I do think you should be firm on this.

What if one parent wants to sleep naked or in little or no clothing? Can he or she do this with a child sleeping with them? Should a parent then mold his behavior according to his child's needs?

As other posters mention, you will not be able to be intimate with you wife in front of the child and this could have a devastating effect on your marriage.

Also, it is important in the personal development of a child, that he/she learns to sleep on their own. Most children do develop some sort of fear of the unknown or fear of the dark, but they simply have to overcome it.

In the end, you have to ask yourself "What type of relationship do I really want with your daughter?". I personally would not want the type of relationship with my daughter where we share sleeping arrangements.

  • Married couples have managed just fine in the same room with their children, for thousands of years before modern western culture decided such things were harmful. – user1751825 Sep 7 '18 at 4:52
  • Good parenting is all about adapting to suit the needs of your children. – user1751825 Sep 7 '18 at 4:53
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The child is 2 years old, of course there is no harm having her sleep in the same room with you. This is where she should be sleeping at that age.

There could be harm however in trying to force this child to sleep in another room when she is not ready.

There is a pervasive notion in western societies, that children develop independence more effectively if separated from his/her parents as much as possible, from the earliest possible age.

This just helps to make children anxious and stressed, and very likely makes them less confident and less independent in later life.

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