Until what age do you let your children sleep with you? Here is why Japanese children often continue to sleep with their parents even when they are old enough

Until what age do you let your children sleep with you? Here is why Japanese children often continue to sleep with their parents even when they are old enough

Should a child sleep in their parents’ bed? If yes, until when? These are questions that you have probably asked yourself often, and which are often discussed not only between parents themselves, but also in professional circles. Let’s have a look at the benefits of sleeping together, but also at its disadvantages. 

Back in 2013, the book “Parenting Without Borders: Surprising Lessons Parents Around the World Can Teach Us”, Written by Christine Gross-Loh (the author of several bestsellers) attracted a lot of attention.She described very authentically how children are raised in Japanese culture. At that time, the book appealed mainly to readers in European countries and America, as we often do not encounter the educational tips described in the book in our culture. 

The Japanese prefer to sleep together

As ABC News says, in addition to Japan, Christine Gross-Loh travelled to Finland, Sweden, Germany, France, Italy, China and other countries. During numerous talks with parents, she carried out extensive research into how they view the idea of sleeping with children at night. 

It turns out that the Japanese view this completely differently to the rest of the world. Their children do not sleep in their own bed in a ‘children's room’, but with their parents in the bedroom, in one bed - not only as toddlers, but even up to school age. 

Are Japanese children less independent?

We are not quite used to this level of closeness in our country, and many people will probably instinctively think that such children must not be completely independent if they spend the full 24 hours attached so closely to their parents. However, the answer will surprise you. It turns out it’s not like that at all.

Christine Gross-Loh also cites psychological studies in her book, which show that Japanese children are neither less independent nor more spoiled. On the contrary, such sleep promotes a strong bond between parent and child, and a child becomes a calmer and more balanced person.

It has its advantages...

Based on the experience of both a number of parents and various scientific studies, we certainly cannot doubt that such co-sleeping has many benefits. In addition to the mentioned ones, Parents also state that it may be more comfortable for nursing mothers who do not have to get out of bed during the night and go to their infant's room.

Medicine Net lists another benefit that can be interesting mainly if your child has problems with sleep. Sleeping in one’s parents’ bed can eliminate them. 

... but also disadvantages

Let’s not forget that everything that has advantages certainly has disadvantages. In this case, there are several of them. One of them was also pointed out by the Health Line portal, which published a study that such co-sleeping arrangements can be very beneficial for a child, but the same cannot be said of parents. It presented findings suggesting that mothers who sleep with their children have been shown to sleep an average of only 51 minutes a day, which can lead to a state of sleep deprivation. In addition, these mothers were more likely to suffer from increased levels of anxiety and stress.

It is certainly worth mentioning that sleeping with a child can lead not only to a deteriorating quality of parents' sleep, but also to a disruption of their intimate life, which can have very negative effects on the relationship. 

How to decide then?

As we can see, sleeping with your child has both advantages and disadvantages, and it is up to each parent what they choose. NPR points out that experts state that if you prefer privacy, the child should sleep with you at most until the first year of life. After this period, separation anxiety begins to peak and forcing them to fall asleep without you, when they are used to something else, can be very difficult. 

Experts agree that such separation is completely safe after only 4 months. So if it suits you, you have nothing to worry about. The final decision will always be up to you.  

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