My son, who completed 6 years, was co-sleeping with us two days ago. Until some months ago, he was sleeping on a Fruton, which then slowly he outgrew. He then shifted to sleep with me and my husband, but slowly considering his height, even this became uncomfortable for us. So finally, after a lot of convincing, last night I managed to make him sleep alone in the adjacent room. He was a little bit hurt but I knew, I would have to make him do the same at one point or the other.
My son was almost 4 year old, when we forced him to sleep seperately. I am not against co-sleeping. I love spending time with my children. But I feel there should be some space that the parents and children need to have between them. I did not sleep properly last night because I kept on waking up every 10-15 minutes to check on him. That is absolutely ok. He generally does not wake up at night at all.
So today, being the second night of him sleeping alone, it was kind of a challenge for me, because it was tough to convince him to sleep alone, Yes, he did throw tantrums and said that he does not want to sleep alone but finally some stories, some warnings later, he did manage to sleep. Yes, I am feeling guilty about shouting him before going to bed, but sometimes, it is important for us mothers to be tough. So that children become stronger in life.
I know this may seem like a silly topic to ponder upon for a lot of you but for a parent this is a milestone. Co-sleeping helps you to bond with your child but I do not feel the same is mandatory until and unless there is a risk of your child falling down from the bed or you are breastfeeding your child. Sometimes, we parents are so obsessed with our children that we forget to give them space and treat them as adults.
When you let a child sleep alone, it is like taking that first step towards independence for them. As parents, we need to accept the fact that we cannot always be with our children 24*7. They will have to face their own problems in future. We cannot become shadows of our children. It is important to help your child develop his or her own personality. The duty of the parent is to guide a child and sometimes, the same needs to be done from a distance.
Letting your child sleep alone is the first step towards ensuring that your child can handle his life without you. There is nothing that can happen to your child, when he or she sleeps alone. That is one activity, which is least dangerous for your child. So you can start making your child independent by taking this first step.
Points to remember, while taking that first step
- Always tell your child before hand that he or she is going to sleep alone. Pre-warning helps in preparing them mentally in advance.
- Ensure, that they are not hurt, Do not keep any toys or sharp objects. Keep the sides covered with pillows.
- Keep the door open. Children can bear heat but they would be shocked, when they cannot open the door in their sleep.
- If possible one you should sleep with the child until he or she is deep asleep. It will help them feel calm and relaxed.
- Spend atleast 30 mins of pre- bedtime, doing some quality activities. IT may be just talking or story telling or getting them into their night time routine. So that the children are happy before going to bed.
I know life is strange. On one hand, we are scared that once our children grow up, we do not want them to forget us. Simultaneously, we are hesitant to keep them away in taking the first step. That is the best part about parenting. WE learn every day, we train our children to fly and then learn to live with our empty nest.
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