Should My Toddler Co-Sleep? It Looks Different For Every Family

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Co-sleeping, it turns out, is much more common than experts previously believed. However, most research, articles, and opinions on the benefits and safety of co-sleeping is geared towards babies under the age of one. What about as your baby moves into toddlerhood? Should your toddler co-sleep with you? Like any parenting decision, it will look differently for each parent-child pair. Knowing the benefits that co-sleeping can provide your toddler might sway you towards keeping them in your bed a little bit longer.

According to the Natural Parent Project, co-sleeping can help establish trust and a healthy parent-child relationship. Despite the common misconception that co-sleeping causes kids to be more dependent, advocates say the opposite is actually true. The Bump noted that co-sleeping helps kids feel more secure and safe at home. So the chances that they'll feel secure and safe in other areas of life as well increase, making them willing to take risks and try new things later in life.

Furthermore, for some toddlers, sleeping with their parents means the whole family will get a better night's sleep. Although this certainly isn't the case for every child (some sleep great on their own right off the bat,) some children thrive off of the closeness that co-sleeping provides, meaning everyone will be waking up less and sleeping more. If this is the case for your child, you don't have to be in a rush to move them off to their own bed until you both feel they're ready.

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There is one case when experts say it isn't safe to co-sleep with a toddler that is worth noting though. According to the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame, toddlers and older children shouldn't co-sleep when there is a younger baby under one year present in the bed. Other than that, there aren't many restrictions when it comes to toddlers and co-sleeping so doing whatever works best for you and your family is best.