8 ways co-sleeping can shape your child's personality

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These sleeping specialists weigh in on how co-sleeping may provide benefits for your young children! More here.

The sleeping habits of children seems to be one of the more divisive issues in the realm of parenting. Typically, the topic is split down the middle between two general thoughts. The first aligning with the idea that kids should sleep in their own beds and in their own bedrooms. The alternative viewpoint believes that there is little importance where kids sleep; often parents who trust in this theory co-sleep with their children.

While there’s no definitive right or wrong choice to make when it comes to your toddler/child’s sleeping habits, many believe that where you lie (no pun intended) on the matter can directly affect a young child’s personality in the long run.

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Michael J. Breus, a clinical psychologist and sleep disorder specialist, claims in an article published by Psychology Today, that a 2011 study found bed-sharing does not negatively affect cognitive or behavioral development in young children.

According to these leading experts in the field, co-sleeping may actually positively affect a young child’s cognitive or behavioral development. Here are 8 ways that co-sleeping can actually help your child’s personality in the long run:

1. Improved self-esteem

Healthy Child reports that, studies have found “males who co-slept with their parents between birth and age five had higher self-esteem and experienced less guilt."

C.Joanne Crawford seems to believe that co-sleeping is linked to these improved levels of confidence, self-esteem due to the fact that co-sleeping reflects a strong sense of parental acceptance.

2. More loving and affectionate

According to Healthy Child, the same study from our first entry (conducted by R.J. Lewis and L.H. Janda) found that females who co-slept during childhood experienced less discomfort about physical contact and affection as adults.

In other words, young children who co-sleep with their parents grow up to be more open to hugs, and are typically more loving later in life.

3. Better conduct in school

Dr. William Sears reports that “children who co-sleep are often better behaved in school.”

In addition to Dr. Sears' assertions, Healthy Child notes a particular study by J.F. Forbes in which parents with children who co-sleep were analysed. What this research seems to suggest is that co-sleeping children received higher behavioral and conduct based evaluations from their teachers than children who slept alone.

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4. Earlier developed sense of independence

Many debate that co-sleeping causes dependency issues in children. University of Notre Dame's Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Lab reports quite the opposite. According to their findings, "co-sleeping produces independence and self-sufficiency in a child."

In addition, Michael J. Breus notes that "co-sleeping doesn’t stand in the way of your children developing their own, independent, healthy sleep habits."

5. Fewer psychological problems

The aforementioned J.F. Forbes study seems to indicate that, generally speaking, children who co-sleep at an early age in their development seem to display fewer overall psychological problems. As Dr. William Sears writes, "co-sleeping was less frequent for children in the psychiatric sub-population which was studied [in the Forbes study]."

6. Radiate positivity

A good night's rest can do wonders for your personality in days to follow. Your kids are no different, and those who co-sleep have been shown to sleep longer and more quickly than independent sleepers. Dr. Sears claims that "[c]hildren who sleep in their parents bed fall asleep more quickly and sleep more peacefully."

Simply put, these kids are sleeping faster, more peacefully, and for longer periods of time. This has an obvious outcome on subsequent days and the amount of positivity that a child can radiate and emit.

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7. Happier, fewer fits of anger

University of Notre Dame's Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Lab also went on to analyse and confirm findings from an English study conducted by P. Heron. Essentially, they came to the conclusion that "children who never slept in their parents' bed tended to be less happy, they exhibited a greater number of tantrums, and were more fearful than children who consistently co-slept."

8. Lowered risks of anxiety

Lewis and Janda's aforementioned study also found that children who co-slept at a young age experienced less anxiety (and risk of anxiety disorders) than those who slept alone. Dr. Sears agrees with these assertions as he believes kids who co-sleep exhibit less long-term sleep anxiety.

These lowered levels of anxiety are most likely due to a lessened sense of fear when trying to sleep, as well as little to no worry around bedtime.

[H/T] Romper

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