Almost all moms have experienced this: You stop whatever you’re doing to put your toddler to nap or to bed. You lay down with your child and close your eyes, too, pretending to sleep because you know it helps your baby to fall asleep. Of course, you end up sleeping yourself and waking up a few hours later!
There is no need to feel guilty — for the missed chores or the fact you napped beside your toddler. Napping with your toddler falls under co-sleeping, and it has its benefits as one of the aspects of attachment parenting.
Co-sleeping can help create a secure bond with parent and child
Attachment parenting is a style of parenting that focuses on creating a strong relationship between parent and child to meet the child’s needs. According to Susan Krauss Whitbourne, professor emerita of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, attachment parenting is “a sensible approach that fosters physical and psychological health in children.”
Studies have shown that “securely attached adults have happier and less conflict-ridden lives,” she writes in an article for Psychology Today.
Attachment parenting happens when “the baby develops a generalized trust that their caregiver will respond and meet their needs, or that when mismatches occur, the caregiver will repair them,” writes Diana Divecha, Ph.D., developmental psychologist and assistant clinical professor at Yale Child Study Center and Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence on Greater Good Medicine.
The cycle of responsiveness, mistakes, and correcting or repairing them “offers the optimal amount of connection and stress for a baby to develop both confidence and coping skills,” she added.
Kids will eventually sleep on their own no matter how you decide to teach your kids to put themselves to sleep and sleep on their own bed. For now, it’s perfectly okay to lay with your child as he falls asleep. You really don’t have to beat yourself up for it. When they’re older, they’ll want their own bed, so just enjoy being together.