The Family Bed: Not Necessarily for Sleeping

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I have two kids. The first one ended up in our bed so regularly that I wondered why we bothered buying a crib. The next child loved the crib. You learn very quickly that each child is different. Now, whether you’re a proponent of the family bed or not, I found that the family ends up spending a lot of time there whether it’s for sleeping or not.

If your bedroom is set up like most, there’s a TV in there. I found while I was nursing the first child, the TV in the bedroom was a fantastic thing. While I bonded with baby–nursing and then cajoled her back to sleep in the middle of the night, I could also catch up on Law & Order episodes. And I never had to leave my Egyptian cotton sheets. I think we were all happy.

As she grew up and the next baby came along, I found that the bed was a great place for other kinds of family bonding. I began reading picture books with my girls there each night before moving them to their own beds. The girls are now 9 and 12 years old. We still read books there together–novels. I’ve even seen them reading to each other there. Because I built memories in the bed, it’s still the place we go to bond. And it’s not just for reading.If my 12-year-old comes home from school saying she had a bad day, we automatically go straight to my room and sit at the edge of the big bed to talk it out. Similarly, I once found my nine-year-old crying over a broken doll in my bed.

So no matter where you stand on the family bed, it can be a place for comfort even if the kids don’t sleep there. It wasn’t something I thought of doing before I became a parent. But if I had it do over, I would definitely repeat this pattern.