COLUMN: Battle for parents to re-claim bedtime

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I remember the first day we brought my son home at one day old. He slept for 12 hours straight.

I still remember it well because it was also the last night that I had a decent night’s sleep for the last two-and-a-half years!!

You see, my son has never been much of a sleeper. He fights naps in the day and sleeps incredibly lightly at night as he thinks he’s missing out on something (I don’t know where he gets that from).

The dilemma we currently face is that, at present, we allow him to sleep in the same bed with us (co-sleeping).

The alternative is him waking constantly throughout the night, not able to self-soothe, and then the crying usually begins at 4am. So the former is currently the lesser of two evils.

We did successfully master ‘controlled crying’, earlier this year. It took three-to-four difficult nights but we rode out the tantrums and had a few months of normality.

But a couple weeks ago we decided that we would take the side of his cot off and rearrange his room. It didn’t take long for him to figure out his way to our room and here I find myself, again, with a face-full of toddler-feet when I climb into bed.

What I’ve found is that you can never assume that you have this sleep thing sussed because children, especially toddlers, are so unpredictable.

If you are one of the lucky parents where your child has ‘always been a great sleeper’, then you are very fortunate (and I hate you). But most of us will win some months and lose others, but ultimately you’ll know when to force the issue of them sleeping in their own bed - or when to just accept the decent night’s sleep albeit with your little person stuck to your head.

Just remember to get your own back when they’re teenagers!

By DT parenting columnist Reah Marshall.