I’ve been co-sleeping with my 10 and 12-year-old since they were born – it’s totally natural and I’ve no intention of stopping
A mom still shares a bed with her two pre-teen kids and says it’s not weird at all — it’s actually the reason they share such a close bond. Bernie Watkins, 49, who lives in Grenada, Spain, but is originally from Childwall, Liverpool, has co-slept with her children since they were born — and ten and 12 years on she still does.
The single mom said Frankie, ten, and Caden, 12, both have their own rooms and beds but have always opted to share her king-sized one. Bernie, says it’s not weird at all — it’s ‘totally natural’ and the kids have never wanted to stop. In fact, Bernie said bedtime is the best part of their days — because they can all snuggle up and have chat before falling asleep side by side.
The freelance copywriter said: ‘We have always been in a bed together — right from when they were newborns and I didn’t want to leave them in a different room on their own. They can stop when they want and have their own rooms but have always preferred to sleep with me. 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.’
‘People told me they would grow up to be clingy and dependent if we kept sharing but they’re the total opposite.’ Bernie shared a bed with her children as soon as they were born to make breastfeeding easier. Despite warnings this can lead to accidental suffocation of newborns, she was ‘never concerned about that.’ She said: ‘I am a light sleeper so I always knew where they were in the bed — as soon as they stirred I would wake up. For me it felt wrong to take a tiny baby and leave them in another room alone.’
‘I was always set on co-sleeping from birth.’ As the children grew up, they simply never left — and would use their cosy bedtimes as an opportunity to spend quality time together. Bernie said they light candles, play relaxing music and have discussions with no taboo subjects. The setup sees them all on one king-sized bed frame but with two mattresses and duvets — a double for Bernie and Frankie, and a single for Caden because he moves a lot at night. Allowing her children to share a bed with her at night is something Bernie will ‘never want to give up.’
She said: ‘I believe it’s important to have that contact. It’s really understated but it means a lot to us. Bernie doesn’t care what others think about it — and says while others might see it as unusual, it works well for them. I can understand why people say it’s weird because in England it’s not the norm,’ she said. ‘I guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion.’ The mother said even if her children have bickered all day, all their issues are resolved by the night time when everyone gets tucked in ready to rest — meaning the sibling bond is very strong.
Bernie also feels it’s how she has managed to maintain such a close relationship with her children. She said: ‘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. It’s the reason we have such a close bond.’
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