'Bedtime's Our Time To Be Together': Mum On Why She Still Co-Sleeps With Her Older Kids

Bernie and her kids, aged 10 and 12, sleep on a king size bed with two mattresses and duvets.
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A single mum from Liverpool has opened up about the joys of bed-sharing with her children who are 10 and 12 years old.

Bernie Watkins, who is 49 and now lives in Spain, has shared a bed with her kids since they were born – and is showing no sign of stopping anytime soon.

Discussing how they make it work, the mum-of-two told Birmingham Live they sleep in a king size bed with two mattresses and duvets.

She shares covers with her youngest daughter, while her eldest son has one for himself because he’s more of a fidget.

She said: “We’re a very close cuddly family so it’s perfect for us – and getting into bed at night is a lovely part of our days. We don’t normally share mealtimes so bedtime is our time to all be together and have a cuddle and talk about anything.”

The mum-of-two actually credits bed-sharing, sometimes called co-sleeping, as the reason she has such a “close bond” with her kids.

She also brushed off any claims that her children – who do have their own rooms and beds, but prefer to be in with mum – will end up being “clingy and dependent,” saying they’re actually the opposite.

“For us it’s the most normal thing in the world and none of us want to stop. I wish other people wouldn’t make comments or put barriers up around co-sleeping – people make an automatic judgement,” she said.

After her story was shared widely on social media, there was a lot of positivity from other parents who shared their co-sleeping stories.

One mum wrote: “All kids love their parents bed... fact!!! My kids always ask to sleep in my bed and I always let them when their dad’s away. I lost my dad when I was eight and was in with my mom for years after. It’s comfort – and kids definitely sleep better when next to parents.”

Another commented: “I slept in my mum’s bed until I was 19! Was the only way I would sleep and felt safe. I got a lot of negative responses from it but idc [I don’t care]. I now co-sleep with my baby and will do so until he decides he doesn’t want to anymore.”

There were some negative comments, too. “I don’t care what she says, it’s weird. But it will keep psychiatrists busy,” wrote one person. Others asked whether the response would be the same if the story was about a dad bed-sharing with his kids.

As with anything, there are pros and cons to bed-sharing. The downsides include: disrupted sleep if one of you moves around a lot more than the others, and lack of intimate time with a partner (if there’s more than one parent in the bed).

Co-sleeping has also been associated with some sleep problems such as issues getting to sleep and less nighttime sleep in school-age kids – although it’s unclear whether this is as a result of co-sleeping itself, or the child’s sleep was suffering anyway and they ended up in bed with their parent(s) as a result.

But co-sleeping can foster closeness, too. According to paediatrician Dr Bill Sears, co-sleeping babies grow up with higher self-esteem, less anxiety, become independent sooner, are better behaved in school and are more comfortable with affection.

As for Watkins, she said her kids can stop sharing a bed with her any time they want. But until that day, we have a sneaky suspicion she’ll be welcoming them into hers with open arms.