Why Is My 4-Year-Old Sleeping with Us?

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We have a king size bed. It is a good thing that we do, because not only do my husband and I sleep in the bed, but so do two medium size dogs, and a 4-year-old. How did this happen?

I was never one to bed share. I was too nervous when my daughter was a baby that I would roll over her in my sleep and to be honest…I enjoy my sleep and felt like it was important that my child learn to sleep in her own bed. She did a great job sleeping on her own from about 6 months to 3 years old. Then, a few things happened.

  1. I went back to work. This meant that I was traveling sometimes. When I went out of town, it was easier for my husband to let her sleep in the bed with him and the dogs than to try to get her to sleep on her own. So, every time I went out of town, the rule was that she got to sleep with dad in the big bed. When I returned home, she went back to her own bed. This worked…for awhile.
  2. Then, the whole family got sick. I think of February 2019 as the time the plague hit my home. For a solid two weeks, we were all sick at some point or another. To keep things simple (and quarantined), she slept with us the entire time. After everyone was healthy, she went back to her bed. She was good with this, until we kind of missed her.
  3. So, we started “Family Fun Friday.” This was meant to be a movie night on the couch with popcorn and pizza. Because my husband and I fall asleep the minute we are no longer moving, it turned into an early bedtime on Fridays, in the big bed.

Somehow, sleeping with us on Fridays only has turned into sleeping with us every.single.night. And guess what? I don’t hate it.

Part of me feels like this is a terrible idea and she needs to be in her own room. What about independence? What is this going to be like when she’s 8 and double the size? Do they make bigger beds?

Another part of me knows that this is not going to last forever. She wants to be with us. We want her with us. She loves to cuddle. She sleeps better and for a longer period of time when she’s in bed with us. The fact that we have to go to bed when she does ensures that we are getting to bed on time. I love having her right there so that I can check on her when I wake up in the morning.

So, even though I often wake up with a little foot jammed into my chest or little fingers in my face – I look forward to bedtime each and every night – and I know she does too. I’m going to enjoy this for as long as I can…

Do you have a little one in your bed? What’s your experience been like?

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Valerie Byrd Fort was born in Florida, but when she was four years old, her family moved to the midlands and never looked back. She is mom to Katy (human) and to Lucky, Mozzy, and Penny (rescue dogs). She is married to Marty Fort, owner of the Lexington School of Music, Columbia Arts Academy, and Irmo Music Academy. She is an Instructor for the School of Library & Information Science at the University of South Carolina, where she teaches Children’s Literature to future classroom teachers and librarians. She is also Coordinator for Cocky's Reading Express, the University of South Carolina's literacy outreach program. Valerie is passionate about books, literacy, libraries, and reading aloud with children of ALL ages. She writes about books and other literacy related topics on her blog, Library Goddess. In her free time, Valerie enjoys reading, Barre3, going to Target and endless scrolling of social media  

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