Children who tip-toe into your bed to sleep at night are more likely to grow into secure, intelligent and confident adults, according to several scientific studies.
Re-assuringly for parents, kids who co-sleep report a greater satisfaction with life as they reach adulthood and report that they enjoy secure relationships.
The research report by Blair Tyler from Pacific University in the US found this was certainly true with males who had co-slept with their parents as children.
Co-sleeping with young babies is not recommended due to the risks of SIDS. For more details on SIDS guidelines in Australia, go here.
“Turning to a sample of college psychology students, a retrospective survey found that males with a history of sleeping with their parents had higher self-esteem, less guilt and anxiety,” says the study report.
Another research project by Robin Lewis and Louis Janda found that kids who co-slept with their parents reported that “It always gave me a feeling of security to know that if I had a bad dream I could crawl into bed with my mom and dad.”
Parents who struggle with co-sleeping with their kids often say they're worried their children won't learn to be independent if they crawl into bed with mum and dad every night.
However, another study by James McKenna, Ph.D., who is the director of the Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame, says that co-sleeping can help kids become more independent and confident.
On his website he reported, "Recent studies are beginning to show [that]... it is not solitary sleeping arrangements that produce strong independence, social competence, feeling of high self esteem, strong sexual identities, good comportment by children in school, ability to handle stress, but it is social or cosleeping arrangement that contribute to the emergence of these characteristics."
He adds, "A recent cross-sectional study of middle class English children shows that amongst the children who "never" slept in their parent’s bed there was a trend to be harder to control, less happy and exhibit a greater number of tantrums."
So there you have it, if you're not getting much sleep at night because you have a little person wriggling around in your bed, don't panic - you're helping them become a happy, well-rounded and confident person.