According to the Center for Disease Control, co-sleeping is quite a common occurrence with roughly 68% of all children enjoying co-sleeping at least some of the time. Thought many won’t admit to the practice of co-sleeping, embarrassed by the taboo based on the age range of children.

Parents know that getting a child to sleep on their own, in their own rooms is no small feat. However, when comes to co-sleeping with children who have a medical condition in the rare disease community—the situation becomes even more complex.

Because of their condition, parents will generally be more allowing of having their child/children sleep in their bed, even at an older age. Their fears about whether or not their children will need them for an emergency, whether or not adding more stress to a bed time routine is worth it, or even just the concern that co-sleeping might be detrimental to the child later on—are all easily outweighed by the situation at hand.

No parent wants to hold their child back, and many fear the judgment of those around them who might believe co-sleeping is unhealthy (especially after four-years.)

The decision is yours and yours alone. As long as the parent feels that they are tending to the child’s needs by co-sleeping, particularly in the case of a child with severe medical needs, then who are we to judge? If the parent is running through the house all night to check on the child and co-sleeping makes for a more efficient way of managing a medical crisis—then it’s the right way.

Sleeping arrangements are a very personal choice, with many aspects to consider, but at the very least, parents should not be made to feel guilty for choosing to co-sleep.

My boys!

My boys!

The practice can have a large range of benefits for both child and parent, if carried out conscientiously and responsibly.

Apnea and or any breathing conditions are very important to stay on top of and there are doctors who have given firm recommendations on ways to keep your child/children safe during the night.

However, ultimately, you are the parent and know your child best. It is important to listen to your child and do what is in the best interest of that child. Finding a healthy balance in which all feel comfortable so all can get a good nights rest is KEY for anyone especially a child with medical needs.

With an eye towards independence, you can encourage your child to sleep in their own room at a comfortable pace. Below are some helpful tips to helping your child get a good night’s sleep.

· Wind Down: Have a winding down period in your nightly routine. This is done after the teeth are brushed and the homework is done. It’s a great time to relax with your kids, read a book together or simply sit in bed and talk about their day.

· Turn It Off: Make sure they aren’t watching anything stimulating. Turn off the TV, turn down the stereo, and concentrate on conversation.

· Play Time Is Over: Remind your children that there will be plenty of time to play tomorrow. Discourage them from getting up and playing with toys or roughhousing with each other.

· Bath Time: Baths can be an especially soothing part of the nighttime routine and the closer to bed the better. Try using scents like lavender to help lull your child into a relaxed state.

· Stick to It: Though it may be hard and hey—sometimes even downright unsuccessful—you must stick to it! Establishing a regular bedtime is key to getting your kids on their own internal clock.

If they have any concerns, let them know you are there and try to create a safe and peaceful place for them to get rest.

Sweet Dreams,
Lisa Moreno-Dickinson