This family's 18-ft bed takes co-sleeping to the next level!
How do you fit a family of 6 in a family bed? Just make the bed bigger!
Now that more and more parents are practicing co-sleeping, sharing a bed with your young ones doesn’t sound so strange anymore. But Northern Irish couple Kim Constable and her husband, former professional rugby player Ryan Constable, have taken co-sleeping to the next level with their 18ft-wide bed.
You read that right—their bed is 18 feet wide. The Constables' bed is actually made from three separate beds—a king size bed, a super king, and a single—that the family joined together to form the huge bed. “We were lucky as when we moved house we had bought all our bedroom furniture from the same manufacturer so it fitted together well,” Kim, a yoga instructor, explained to Belfast Telegraph.
Kim and Ryan share their bed with their four children, 11-year-old Corey, 9-year-old Kai, 6-year-old Maya, and 5-year-old Jack. They started co-sleeping when their eldest was a baby.
“It all started when Corey was a baby and he started sleeping in beside Ryan and I to help keep him settled at night,” Kim said. “Then, as more children came along, they wanted to sleep in with us, too. When the older ones moved out and a younger one moved in, they would come back and say that’s not fair—we want to be in the big bed with you all, too.”
Why co-sleep with older kids?
Sharing a bed with all of her children makes it easier for Kim to attend to them during the night to help them settle down. “I am there for my children 24 hours a day and night,” she said. “Whether they have a bad dream or want a drink of water, I will be there for them during the night just like I am during the day. Before the big bed was created I spent my nights bed running about from room to room trying to get all the children to sleep.”
Kim, who home-schools her children, says that she lets her kids set their own pace. Their son Kai actually recently asked to have his own room, and so Kim and Ryan have moved one of the beds into another room. But it’s a process—instead of moving out of his parents’ bedroom right away, Kai now sleeps on a mattress on the floor of their room.
What about sex?
Kim and Ryan often sleep together in another room for part of the night before they return to the big bed. “We are very honest with the children and will just say mummy and daddy are going for ‘a snuggle’ now and we will be in with you in a while,” Kim explained.
The couple are also intentional about carving out time for themselves. Once a week they would go on a date, either for dinner or lunch, so that they can just enjoy each other’s company. They also spend the occasional weekend or night away.
On the next page: the benefits of co-sleeping with older kids.
Sleeping with toddlers and older children is still seen as unusual, but continuing to co-sleep past infancy has many benefits, including the following from Natural Parents Network.
1. Co-sleeping reinforces trust while fostering independence
Some critics of co-sleeping say that it makes kids overly dependent on their parents, but research has found the contrary—co-sleeping children are actually less dependent on their parents compared to solitary sleepers. This is because co-sleeping children are generally more secure in their relationship with their parents. They trust that their parents will respond to their needs, no matter what time of day.
2. It gives your kids a sense of security
Children who sleep by themselves often have a blanket or a teddy bear to help them sleep, but parents are the best security blankets. Studies have found that co-sleeping children hardly ever suck their thumbs or get attached to security objects.
3. Co-sleeping helps develop self-esteem and family relationships
Letting your children sleep in your bed shows them that you care, and also fosters more affection than yo would get if they slept in a separate bed.
4. Co-sleeping children may be more well-adjusted than solitary sleepers
Research has found that co-sleepers are better at handling stress and are happier than their solo sleeping peers. This is probably due to their better relationships with their parents.
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