Wherein The Family Bed Meets An Abrupt And Bitter End. Or did it?

So yeah.  The family bed.  It’s a nice idea, in theory.  And in reality, perhaps, if you have a king-size bed.  Or a child who sleeps like a corpse.  But we have neither.

We never did the family bed with our babies.  In fact, my 2-year-old still sleeps happily in her crib.  But at some point between the time that we moved the big kids to twin beds and now, they got into the habit of coming into our bed during the night. 

My 8-year-old son has pretty much outgrown this habit, and did so on his own.  He always was the easy one.

My 5-year-old daughter, on the other hand, still manages to weasel her way into our bed, and usually hunkers down right in between my husband and me.  Romance, needless to say, is a thing of the past.

I really don’t mind, and my husband didn’t at first, but over time, our little nightly visitor has become increasingly unwelcome.  But she is a stubborn soul, and she has a knack for making her entrance so stealthily that we often don’t even realize she’s there until we wake up to a knee in the back, or, as was the case a few days ago, a fist in the eye.  Or my personal favorite, "Mommy, I wet the bed!"  Oh yeah, that has happened SEVERAL times.  The joys.

The fist in the eye, however, was the final straw.  It was after that rude awakening that I informed my daughter that from now on, if she wants to come into our room, she can bring her sleeping bag and make a little nest for herself on the floor.  But she may not come into our bed until she sees the morning light outside the window.

That worked well the first night.  And last night started out alright.  Until I woke to a little face beside my head and the plaintive voice saying, "I had a bad dream.  Can I come in your bed?"

So, sucker that I am, I scooted over and made room.

What can I say?  I’m a softie.  And besides, it was daylight somewhere.

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20 Responses

  1. oh boy – i went through this with all three of my kids. my youngest (he’s 8) just got over this phase about 2 years ago and he was the worst.

    i had to try all sorts of tactics and of course then had to find the one that worked. the only way i did that was to stay consistent with whatever i was using.

    i also recommend the sleepover idea. i attached it to their ability to follow whatever rule it was that i was utilizing at the time. and that seemed to work.

    stick with it and maybe buy some protection in the meantime? 😉 i also have received bumps, bruises and a black eye from sharing my bed (ouch and this was so much fun to explain). that’s when i put a stop to it too! good luck

  2. Bean was getting into that habit a few months ago. I finally started getting up and walking her back to her own bed and tucking her in again. After a bit I guess it wasn’t really worth the trip, to her, since it wasn’t getting her what she wanted.

  3. It’s hard, isn’t it! You want to be there as a mom, but DANG they kick and they have hot little sweaty bodies and they seem to prefer to sleep sideways. At one point, I gave DD a ticket for every night she stayed in her own bed…she eventually earned enough tickets for a price and just got out of the habit of coming into our room.

    But some nights I miss her! We started having “sleepovers” a few years ago. We would watch TV, have popcorn and then all sleep in our bed (king sized!). At 9 years old now, she still wants to have the sleepovers but it just doesn’t work. Dh usually goes to the guest bedroom and it’s just us girls for the night. She loves it!

  4. My Megan did the same thing until she about six. The last time I let her snuggle in I ended up with a back spasm so severe I had to go get muscle relaxers. SO now if she gets up, she’ll come look at us and then go back to her bed. Enjoy it while you can because they’ll be grown up too soon.

  5. No advice. I just got my new king-sized bed. I am very much NOT willing to share it! Good thing Lydia is still in her crib…she still hasn’t realized she can escape from it! 😉

  6. I never slept with my parents – it wasn’t even a THING when we were little. I would go into their bed sometimes if I had a nightmare, but I never slept between them. One – it’s weird to me, and two – my dad is a light sleeper and we were trying to keep him from waking. I always got in on my mom’s side of the bed. And she always took me back to bed. ALWAYS. I am sure she didn’t love it, considering how much I know she loves to sleep. But just about the time I had calmed down and dozed off again, she’d take me back to bed and I’d be fine for the rest of the night.

    And I did this a lot – I was very prone to nightmares as a little girl.

  7. Our first two kids didn’t sleep with us, in fact, I was adamant about the fact that we would ALL sleep better if they stayed in thier cribs, etc. Enter third and last child and I became a soft, sappy, pushover. She still (at three) manages to sneak in some nights – and just the other morning, I woke up with her next to me saying, “uh-oh, mo-oohm…I pee-peed in your bed…” Sure enough, my pajamas were soaked, as were my sheets. YUK. (I have learned to put a plastic pad in the middle where she sleeps sometimes so my mattress doesn’t bear the brunt of her nightly intrusions)

  8. In “family bed” hell right now!

    My 4 year old will NOT sleep in her own bed…ever!

    I have just begun our room as off limits…unless it is ABSOLUTELY necessary.
    Last night she fell asleep on the couch…but still managed to sneak in sometime during the night without us knowing.

    And the “accidents” in bed….awful. I now have a water-proof mattress pad on OUR bed! You haven’t experienced anything until you climb into bed and hear that scratching sound like a crib mattress!

  9. We did the sleeping bag things too. The only problem is that my kids LIKED sleeping on the floor. Go figure!

    I don’t remember how we finally got The Girl to stop coming into our room at night (The Boy never had this problem), but it rarely happens anymore.

    Although when it does happen, I’ve managed to train her to go to my husbands side of the bed. Which works for me because then he will either walk her to her room (and I don’t have to get up.) Or she tosses and flails those mean little fists on his side of the bed and I don’t have to worry!

    So really, I am of no help to you, except to say that I empathize with y’all!

    Happy Tuesday!

  10. Well, you could always have another baby. That keeps the other ones out of the bed, because the baby is there (we did do the family bed, but after we had the second child, we did get the king sized, there was no room).

    Now we do have sleeping bag visitors, but they just go to their bags if they need to come in. It works pretty well, unless there is the occasional bad dream. Then they stay with us for a few minutes then get into their bag.

  11. I did that with my oldest. It took her 6 years to stop doing that. At first she would sleep with me. then I got married and she made her pallate on the floor. we moved and now have hard woods in our room. So she stopped only because it wasn’t comfortable. LOL!

  12. The older (and bigger) they get, the harder it is to sleep with them. It is great to have my 1 year old snuggled up beside me but my almost 3 year old is starting to get annoying. He sleeps sideways and we have a queen size bed. But I do keep in mind that “this too shall pass” My 9 and 7 year olds sleep soundly in their beds every night, now! It is hard and I can sympathize.

  13. My baby, who is 17 now NEVER would sleep in ANYTHING alone. EVER. I think he was born that way for some reason. So, we shared a bed with him till I think he started school. What we started doing as he got older was let him fall asleep in our bed, and then we would gently lay him on the bed of blankets we made him at the foot of our bed. We could at least sleep most of the night alone until, like you say daylight arrived. His favorite thing he said to us one night as he lay in the middle of our bed, “I’m getting squashed in the middle of the bed.” He was 4. Of course we moved over!

  14. We weren’t allowed in our parents’ bed. We turned out o.k., but I remember wishing they’d let us sleep with them sometimes.

  15. My 5 year old usually finds her way into our bed about 5 out of 7 nights. But, about a minute after my husband starts back in with his persistent snoring, she pops up and says “I’m outta here”. I can’t say as I blame her…some nights I want to follow!

  16. We are going through the same thing with our three year old…I really hope it doesn’t last until she is 5! I am so NOT a family bed person…I need my room. Yes, I’m a selfish mom and proud of it in this case!

  17. Parenting in the middle of the night is the hardest thing. I never do the right thing because I’m so tired. And so of course, I pay. I’m hoping for “this too shall pass”.

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