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Family

Dad and tween daughter show how their family 'co-sleeps' together

Their viral video has people debating when co-sleeping should end.

co-sleeping, bed sharing, family bed sharing, parenting, family, kids
@deal_family/TikTok

Co-sleeping asa family might not be mainstream anymore, but it was once totally the norm.

Like virtually any aspect of parenting, co-sleeping, aka bed sharing, can be a bit of a controversial topic.

Sleeping together as a singular family unit is a much older practice, dating as far back as the Medieval Era—when sleeping separately was both unsafe and unattainable for most.

Today, it is generally recommended to have children sleeping on their own by the age of five, although plenty of parents will still share a bed with their 12 to 13-year-olds from time to time. In other words, there are no hard and fast rules—though many have strong opinions.

And while it certainly isn’t mainstream anymore, some families opt for the more classic sleeping approach.


Take the Deal family, for example.

In a video posted to TikTok, Brandon Deal and his 12-year-old daughter, McKenzi, show their unconventional sleeping layout.

“When people find out that we're a co-sleeping family, they think we all pile up on one bed. That is not the case,” Brandon says, explaining that he, his wife Megan, and their smaller daughter Sarah Grace share a king size bed, while McKenzi sleeps in her own twin size bed placed at the foot of the king-sized bed.

@deal_family Anyone else co-sleep?? #cosleeping #familygoals #parentsoftiktok ♬ original sound - The Deal Family

Brandon asks his daughter why she sleeps in the twin bed in their bedroom, to which she replies, “I don't know, it's a little safer.” It’s unclear if she means sleeping in her own bed feels safer (lest she be whacked by three other pairs of feet) or that sleeping in the room with her family feels safer.

Brandon then says that when Sarah Grace potentially becomes “too big” to share the bed with her parents, that she’ll also get her own twin sized bed.

It wasn’t long before the clip received thousands of views on TikTok, with viewers sharing their bafflement at the arrangement.

“I can barely handle co-sleeping with my husband,” one person wrote.

Others were totally on board with the idea, even sharing their own co-sleeping stories.

One person commented, "You keep co-sleeping until those kiddos decide to sleep in their own beds ♥️”

Another added “We co-slept with our oldest til 12, our son til 10. We lived remote in the woods, my kids are grown and amazing keep doing you guys❤❤🙏.”

Still, others feared that the enmeshment could cause codependency issues long term, and get in the way of parents maintaining intimacy.

One person wrote, “As a child I know how safe it feels to sleep with your parents, but as a married woman I realize how important it is to not let my kids sleep w us.”

And while there’s perhaps validity coming from both sides of this argument, most behavioral experts would agree that neither choice is necessarily superior to the other. As James McKenna, PhD, an anthropologist specializing both in sleep behavior and infancy development says, "location is not as important as relationships—how parents build attachment and love.”

The Deal’s sleep strategy might not be suitable for others, but they have customized a plan that seems to work for them. May every family have the freedom and information they need to do the same.

True

Do you ever feel like you could be doing more when it comes to making a positive impact on your community? The messaging around giving back is louder than ever this time of year, and for good reason; It is the season of giving, after all.

If you’ve ever wondered who is responsible for bringing many of the giving-back initiatives to life, it’s probably not who you’d expect. The masterminds behind these types of campaigns are project managers.

Using their talents and skills, often proven by earning certifications from the Project Management Institute (PMI), project managers are driving real change and increasing the success rate on projects that truly improve our world.

To celebrate the work that project managers are doing behind the scenes to make a difference, we spoke with two people doing more than their part to make an impact.

In his current role as a Project Management Professional (PMP)-certified project manager and environmental engineer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Joshua Williard oversees the cleanup of some of America’s most contaminated and hazardous waste sites.

Courtesy of Joshua Williard

“Recently, I was part of a four-person diving team sent to collect contaminated sediment samples from the bottom of a river in Southeastern Virginia. We wanted to ensure a containment wall was successfully blocking the release of waste into an adjacent river,” Williard says.

Through his work, Josh drives restoration efforts to completion so contaminated land can again be used beneficially, and so future generations will not be at risk of exposure to harmful chemicals.

“I’ve been inspired by the natural world from a young age and always loved being outside. As I gained an understanding about Earth's trajectory, I realized that I wanted to be part of trying to save it and keep it for future generations.

“I learned the importance of using different management styles to address various project challenges. I saw the value in building meaningful relationships with key community members. I came to see that effective project management can make a real difference in getting things done and having on-the-ground impact,” Williard says.

In addition, Monica Chan’s career in project management has enabled her to work at the forefront of conservation efforts with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF-US). She most recently has been managing a climate change project, working with a diverse team including scientists, policy experts, data analysts, biologists, communicators, and more. The goal is to leverage grants to protect and restore mangroves, forests, and ecosystems, and drive demand in seaweed farming – all to harness nature's power to address the climate crisis.

Courtesy of Monica Chan

“As the project management lead for WWF-US, I am collaborating across the organization to build a project management framework that adapts to our diverse projects. Given that WWF's overarching objectives center on conserving nature and addressing imminent threats to the diversity of life on Earth, the stakes are exceptionally high in how we approach projects,” says Chan.

“Throughout my journey, I've discovered a deep passion for project management's ability to unite people for shared goals, contributing meaningfully to environmental conservation,” she says.

With skills learned from on-the-job experience and resources from PMI, project managers are the central point of connection for social impact campaigns, driving them forward and solving problems along the way. They are integral to bringing these projects to life, and they find support from their peers in PMI’s community.

PMI has a global network of more than 300 chapters and serves as a community for project managers – at every stage of their career. Members can share knowledge, celebrate impact, and learn together through resources, events, and other programs such as PMI’s Hours for Impact program, which encourages PMI members to volunteer their time to projects directly supporting the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

“By tapping into PMI's extensive network and resources, I've expanded my project management knowledge and skills, gaining insights from seasoned professionals in diverse industries, including environmental management. Exposure to different perspectives has kept me informed about industry trends, best practices, and allowed me to tailor my approach to the unique challenges of the non-profit sector,” Chan says.

“Obtaining my PMP certification has been a game-changer, propelling not only my career growth, but also reshaping my approach to daily projects, both personally and professionally,” Chan says. Research from PMI shows that a career in project management means being part of an industry on the rise, as the global economy will need 25 million new project professionals by 2030 and the median salary for project practitioners in the U.S. is $120K.

PMI’s mission is to help professionals build project management skills through online courses, networking, and other learning opportunities, help them prove their proficiency in project management through certifications, and champion the work that project professionals, like Joshua and Monica, do around the world.

For those interested in pursuing a career in project management to help make a difference, PMI’s Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification could be the starting point to help get your foot in the door.

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@skylerleestutzman/TikTok

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