Lying Down with Your Kids at Night While They Fall Asleep Is Not a ‘Bad Habit’

Attachment parenting (AP) has been considered for years as something bad making children emotionally unstable and unable to handle their emotions. But, this is simply not true as this means having a healthy connection with your children as a parent. It actually deepens the parent-child bond making it stronger later in life.

The critics of AP believe that children who are deeply attached to their parents are emotionally unstable and going ballistic when a parent is not present with them even for a short period of time. Due to this belief many parents limit the time and amount of physical contact towards their children considering it good parenting. They consider child-rearing to be destructive and if they put their children to bed every night that will make their children dependent on their presence when falling asleep. As a result of that many parents avoid lying with their kids at night.

Experts claim that laying in bed with your children for a while is not a bad thing

This is not a bad habit, but in fact a good one as per Susan Krauss Whitbourne, a professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research revealed that children who were tucked in by their parents and who laid with them for a while turn out to be mentally stable and successful adults.

She states the following in Psychology Today, quote:

“When you separate the popular exaggerations of AP from the more objectively oriented scientific studies, it’s a sensible approach that fosters physical and psychological health in children. We do know from extensive research … that securely attached adults have happier and less conflict-ridden lives. There’s even research to suggest they may be better parents themselves.”

Mothers on social networks describe their feelings when not having enough time for their children. Here it is how Stacey of the Soccer Mom Blog portrays the guilty feelings in her article:

“’Mommy, will you lay with me? Just for a little bit?’

And many nights that’s how it goes,” she wrote. “My husband and I try to get the girls into bed as quickly as possible so we can finish up our chores before calling it a night ourselves. It’s easy to think that we’re so busy; we can’t take that time to lay with our kids for a few minutes. Or perhaps you’ve heard those who claim that laying with kids at bedtime is a bad habit. But maybe – like me – there is a little voice in the back of your head that whispers: You’ll never get this moment back. That voice is persistent. And it speaks the truth.”

Stacey believes that those last few minutes of the day with your children are very important and mean a lot to the parent and the child itself. It is good that your children ask you for the last hugs in the day as soon after there will be no more. Those children that do not receive those needed hugs and the presence of the parent will start to believe that they are not loved by their parents and start to accept the false and cruel reality.

Stacey continues:

“One night, I gave in.

I tiptoed back into the bedroom and saw my youngest daughter breathing deeply, eyes closed. She was already asleep. But she almost immediately sensed me there, and a smile spread across her lips. ‘Mommy,’ she whispered. ‘Can I have one more hug?’ ‘Of course,’ I said as I crawled into bed next to her. She sighed a happy sigh and almost immediately went back to sleep. My heart melted into a puddle deep in my chest. It was a moment I wanted to soak in forever. And I’d almost missed it.”

Co-sleeping is different from bed-sharing

Many parents avoid the last few minutes in the day with their children as they believe that that will make them spoiled and are afraid of smothering. Co-sleeping is not something wrong as those are the last minutes of the day when you show your love toward the child. In this way you are showing your great affection and that will make him or her emotionally secure and confident. The bond will get deeper with your child when you lay down a little bit with him at the end of the day. In addition to this, it has been shown that nurtured children are less likely to be dysfunctional as adults, and in general show better performance in school.

There is evidence in the past showing that those children that have been severely neglected by their parents had smaller brains than those who were nurtured and loved.

First of all, let us clarify something, if you do not practice co-sleeping with your child that will not lead to poor brain development. However, if your child is not properly nurtured or loved there will be for sure some serious implications later in life in specific circumstances.

Attachment parenting is very helpful in decreasing the occurrence of mental health issues and better stress management according to the findings of the researchers Patrice Marie Miller and Michael Lamport Commons from the Harvard Medical School.

Here it is what they have stated: “The result of more effective emotion regulation and secure attachment … is that children engage more effectively with essential developmental tasks, including peer relationships and schooling.”

Attachment parenting will bring great benefits for your children, but do not misplace this with allowing your children to do whatever they like. They should be disciplined and taught the core social values. On the other hand, spending ten to fifteen minutes with your kids while they fall asleep will be something that they will always remember.

This will not make them dependant and incapable, but better persons and for sure better parents when they grow up. This will be of great value for them, especially if you are a parent that spends the entire day at work.