Written by David

Should Siblings Co-Sleep?

I have a five year old daughter who lately always wants to sleep in the same bed with her three year old brother. It’s a queen size bed, and therefore there’s certainly more than enough space for both of them, and he doesn’t mind it at all. I love the idea of them bonding in such a way. My husband completely disagrees and believes they should sleep in their own beds in order to maintain that bed time discipline going. We’ve compromised at one per week, but I feel like maybe I’m hurting her in the long run by not allowing it every day. What do you think? Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

Agnieszka, in CA

Is there anything more heartwarming than siblings that want to be together? As parents we strive to help our kids bond, this seems like beautiful evidence that yours are really loving each other a lot right now. Let me answer a few questions.

Is it OK for siblings to co-sleep?

Sure!* In many cultures in the world, whole families sleep together in the same bed, out of custom, desire, necessity or a combination. If you and your husband can agree that your kids sleeping in the same bed should be your custom right now, that is great.

Does co-sleeping mess up bedtime routines?

Only you can answer that. When you let your daughter sleep with her brother, does she take longer to get settled? Does she repeatedly get out of bed? Does she disrupt his sleep? If those things are true, it may not be the best answer for your family right now.

What is really bothering your husband?

This may be the main issue. We have strong taboos against incest for very good reasons, and it’s possible that your husband is not articulating that this practice makes him uncomfortable for reasons that have nothing to do with bedtime discipline. If bedtime routines are great with or without co-sleeping you could ask your husband – in as nonjudgmental a way as possible – if he just feels like them sleeping together is “wrong” or “weird” for some reason.

If he is concerned about body privacy issues, you and he may want to watch this video about nudity at home, and the impact it has (and does not have) on our children.

Are you harming your daughter by allowing what she wants only one night a week?

No. Some kids love to change up the routine, ask for privileges or treats. We don’t hurt them by placing limits on the number of times we say yes.  If anything, you are showing her that this is a privilege and that she should treat her brother – and her time with him – respectfully.

*Important safety issue!

At these ages, co-sleeping does not pose any increased risk for kids. Babies should not co-sleep with siblings as they run the risk of accidental suffocation!

Parents – have you had any problems letting your kids share sleeping space? What tips do you have?

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1 thought on “Should Siblings Co-Sleep?”

  1. I let my sons sleep together when on was 4 years old and the other was 7, as they rarely fidget during the night. It worked greatly as they started bonding a lot more and they never seem to argue with each other ever. When one was 14 and the other is 11 and they still sleped together. I got a bit concerned about this then a brought them both single beds and shared the same room. They weren’t into it at first but then they got used to it.

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