Several families choose to seek behavioral health consultation to discuss sleeping arrangements with young children, older children and even sometimes with adolescents. I typically start these conversations by asking the parent or caregiver the following question…
“Is your current sleeping arrangement working for you?”
If the parent says it is working for them, then that’s great. Plenty of cultures include bed sharing.
If the parent says that it is not currently working well for them, or that they’d prefer to have some changes to it, we discuss ways to help the family move towards sleeping arrangements that work better for all family members.
Oftentimes parents would prefer for their children to be able to fall asleep independently and be able to sleep comfortably throughout the night in their own bedroom. Some parents tell me they’ve never slept apart from their child in years, though they would like to be able to do so. Other parents tell me they’d really like to have an hour or two to themselves after tucking their children in bed, but they haven’t been able to experience that due to laying down in bed until their child falls asleep each night. Many parents desire different sleeping arrangements, but finding a path out of their current pattern can feel overwhelming.
Behavioral health consultation, or perhaps a conversation with your pediatrician, can help identify a structured path towards sleeping arrangements that work better for the whole family. If there is more than one parent in the home, it is important for both parents to be on the same page and consistent while working towards helping their child sleep independently. The good news is most families attain their preferred sleeping arrangements successfully and children are often quite proud of being able to sleep independently.
It is an important life skill to be able to fall asleep independently, both initially at bedtime and also during overnight awakenings. Many children will learn this skill in their own time, but others may benefit from a more structured approach to practicing this skill. If you would like to learn more about helping your child sleep independently, feel free to discuss this with our office.
~ Annie Gray, LICSW
Behavioral Health ConsultantWestwood-Mansfield Pediatric Associates
“Proactive in your child’s care. Empowering families for over 65 years.”