The family bed is not a new concept. Co-sleeping has been around for centuries and is especially prevalent in other cultures, but it's often more than just one baby snuggled between their parents. For some families, having all of their children sleep together is a source of comfort, and for others, co-sleeping includes just the children in one bed together while their parents sleep separately. Sharing a room is easy enough to understand, but should siblings share a bed?
As with most parenting decisions, this one can't really be answered by experts. Unlike traditional co-sleeping, there hasn't been a lot of research on what happens if siblings share a bed according to Van Winkle's. Dr. Susan McHale, director of the Social Science Research Institute at Penn State University. McHale added that there's no idea for scientists to know how common it is for siblings to share a bed, but that siblings sleeping apart is actually considered different.
Why? Think of the homes families used to live in here in America. According to the American Enterprise Institute, new homes built today are, on average, 1,000 square feet larger than homes built in 1973, but the average household size has declined. There are less people in a household now, but more space, which negates a reason to have siblings share a bed.
But what if your kids want to? What if you've raised siblings that are so close, they want to sleep in the same bed together?
The answer is simple — if you think they will sleep well, if the siblings are both on board with the idea, and if the entire family can get some rest, go for it. According to Elizabeth Pantley, author of the No-Cry Sleep Solution series, siblings sharing a room can actually be beneficial to their relationship. Pantley noted that, often, sibling rivalry can decrease when the two share a sleeping space and it can help them bond even more. However, she also recognized that there could be a lack of sleep happening if your children decide to play all night long or get into trouble together instead of catching some Zs.
Bottom line? It's up to you. Much like co-sleeping and family bed sharing, this is your own decision to make. For some siblings, sharing a bed gives them a sense of security and bonding with each other. In other instances, you may find that you need to have a talk about personal space so that your children don't think they have to share everything.
The older a child gets, the more difficult it may be for the siblings to share a bed, so follow your children's lead or intervene when you think the set-up is doing more damage than good. Sharing a bedroom is always an option, even if your kids end up in their own beds.