When Should You Stop Co-sleeping With Your Toddler?

Wondering when you should stop co-sleeping with your toddler? While it's really up to you, check out our tips for deciding the right time to transition.

It seems that many parents these days are choosing to co-sleep with their kids.  There are about as many different reasons for co-sleeping as there are parents!  I had so many people telling me that my daughter needed to be in her own bed.  None of these people understood the reason she wasn’t in her own room.  Transitioning your child to their own bed and room can either be easy or difficult.  Either, way it will happen eventually.

Related: Parenting Tips: Pros & Cons of Co-Sleeping With Your Baby

I didn’t always bed-share with my daughter.  There is a difference, bed-sharing is sharing a bed, and co-sleeping is sharing a room.  My circumstances were a bit different and it was my only option at the time.  I took a job working third shift and my husband didn’t get home until after I was already in bed before work, so I had to take my daughter to bed with me.  When you are trying to get your child to sleep in their own bed, there can be lots of back and forth and there was no way that I was going to be able to manage that and also get my own sleep before working all night.  It was just easier to have her with me.

When Should You Stop Co-sleeping With Your Toddler?

We moved to a smaller place where the bedrooms were all on one level.  At that time, I decided it was time for her to move to her own room, she was 5 years old, it was past time (in my opinion).  I started by having her sleep there on my nights off, where I had the time to handle the inevitable back and forth and have her stay in her room.  Eventually she slept in her bed every night.  She would ask if she could sleep in my bed still, but the answer was no.

Sometimes, children don’t like to be alone and sometimes they are attached to their parent.  For me (thankfully) she just didn’t like to be alone, because when her sister was there, she had no problem sleeping in her room.  The decision to transition from co-sleeping to their own room is a decision only you as parents can make.  There is no right or wrong and it can be a controversial subject (much like how long you breastfeed).

Related: Letting Your Child Sleep with You May Prevent Childhood Obesity

Think about the reasons you are co-sleeping.  Is it because it is easier at bedtime?  Does co-sleeping make you and your child more comfortable?  I feel like as a society we are always pushing independence on our children a lot faster than other societies.  Sleeping in a room by yourself can be scary!  If you are ready to transition, stick to your guns, but also make it fun and comfortable for your child.  A special bedtime routine will help.

Did you co-sleep (or bed-share?)  What made you make the decision to have them finally sleep in their own room?  Share your stories with us below!


32 thoughts on “When Should You Stop Co-sleeping With Your Toddler?”

  1. There has to come a time where you do, they can’t sleep with you when they are older. I must admit, I had a hard time with my only child, he left our bed when he was 18 months, I think I should have done earlier….

  2. This can be such a confrontational topic for some. I think you just do what you feel is right, at least that’s what we did. :)

  3. my little ones love to cuddle and because of my sleep patterns I often had the young ones in my room or in my bed the only problem is getting them to sleep in their own room when time comes

  4. I coslept with my oldest for a year because that was the only way either of us could get any sleep but only coslept with my daughter for a 6 months. You have to decide what is right for your family

  5. My youngest ended up in our bed almost every night…until I finally weaned her at age 2, now she mostly sleeps in her own room unless she’s sick.

    1. How did you do it? I’m really wanting my son to sleep in his own room. He’s only 18 months but throws up alot and it’s every time we put him in the crib. so I have a bed for him on the floor in his room. I miss sharing the same bed with my hubby.

  6. If letting my child sleep with me prevents childhood obesity, I will let them stay in my bed until they are 39-years-old. Just kidding. My kids co-slept with us the first few years of their lives. They had bedrooms and beds, but I don’t think my daughter ever slept in her infant or toddler bedrooms. My son switched over to his own bed earlier than my daughter, about the age of 2 1/2. I believe his independence was born of having an older sibling.

  7. We co-slept with our 3 youngest. The first two were switched over by 1.5 years old. Our last baby though since we decided he’s the very last has been spoiled. 3 yrs old and still sleeps with us at all night at least 2 times a week. the rest of the week he starts in his bed and then comes to ours around 0400 like clockwork.

  8. This is a rather informative Article .. I say It’s definitely a personal decision and can only be determined by the parent/s. Whatever works best for the situation

  9. You know co-sleeping is such a personal decision. We never got into that with our kids, they only slept with on a rare occasion. When they were small infants we did keep the bassinette in our room next to our bed. When they got too big for that they were moved into their own room!

  10. Helene Cohen Bludman

    My kids all slept in cribs from the time we got home from the hospital. Everyone’s situation is different, but for us it was not something we wanted to do.

    1. Those of us of privilege have the choice to sleep separately from our children. Cribs can cost $300 to $1200 these days and if you don’t have a car, a trip to IKEA is out of the question.

    2. Adrienne Walsh

      That is the subtlety of privilege. Some people simply cannot afford cribs for their children, co-sleeping is often not a choice but a necessity.

  11. Gosh, I am not even sure I can remember when my daughter and I stopped co-sleeping. In those days, I was working two jobs and taking care of her by myself, so there is a lot about that time that I don’t remember. That’s sad, really.

  12. My son never wanted any part of co-sleeping. Even as an infant he would fuss if we put him in our bed at night time but lay him in his crib and he was happy. He has always liked having his own space.

  13. These are all very valid questions to ask when co-sleeping with a toddler, and it sounds like you made the transition at the right time for you and your family. I think that is how it has to work — each parent needs to decide when it is time for that transition themselves. I totally agree that a special bedtime routine helps tremendously!

  14. Everytime I read about kids having trouble sleeping in their own rooms it always seems to be because the parents made a choice that was easier for them early on. Whether it was logistics or a parent’s emotional need being fulfilled. My answer to when to stop co-sleeping is to not start in the first place.

  15. My daughter co-slept with us. We stopped doing this when she turned three. It wasn’t easy, but we did it.

  16. My oldest son co-slept with us. The transition was hard, but we did it around 2 years old. He still sneaks in every once in a while, but for the most part does a good job of sleeping in his own room. Luckily, the twins have always been in their own room.

  17. For me co sleeping was easier at the time. My youngest decided on her on when she didn’t want to do it anymore. She was around 2 I think. It was harder for me than it was for her.

  18. Like you said, it will happen eventually (getting their own room). I see no need to rush….we all sleep better when co-sleeping. For now anyway…

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