I received a very interesting query from a reader:
I am looking for a little advice. I am contemplating divorce and one of my many concerns is the fact that I co-sleep with my 9 year old boy and 6 year old daughter (in my daughters room). I love sleeping with my kiddos, but, I fear I have made them a little too dependent on me. If I were to go through with the divorse, they would obviously have to spend time with their dad and sleep over without me. This, among everything else, is going to upset them greatly.
Even though I love snuggling with them, I think I need to try and break this habit before I go do anything else. I would like them to feel comfortable and able to sleep alone, but, I don’t know where to start.
My thoughts are…
I think that this is a tricky challenge, but certainly by 9yo, your son should be able to sleep without you in the same bed, I would think. Your 6yo, well, she’s probably ready to separate too, but it’s going to be difficult.
Based on my own experience of divorcing with three children who have been used to co-sleeping, I can only say that what I did that seems to have worked well is to let them know that they are welcome to sleep in the same room as me, but that generally I strongly prefer them not to be in the bed with me.
I can’t really speak for how my ex is handling it, but I do hear from the children that many nights are “sleepover” arrangement with mattresses all over the floor of the master bedroom.
That works for me too: in fact my 5yo has her own bed on the floor of my room and we start out cuddling and going to sleep in The Big Bed, then I move her once she’s asleep into her own bed for the night.
My older children are 99% self-sufficient and prefer sleeping in their own rooms, but they both know that if they have a bad dream, get scared, whatever, they can always come into my room and either climb into bed (if there’s space) or wrap up in blankets and sleep on the floor “so they’re safe”.
Dear readers, what suggestions do you have for this soon-to-divorce mom?