Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard's kids sleep in their bedroom. Should you do it, too?
Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell have never been shy about their parenting strategies. The couple caused a stir last year when Bell said she’ll wait up to five or six days before bathing her girls depending on whether they smell or not.
“I'm a big fan of waiting for the stink,” she said jokingly, according to E.T. Online. “Once you catch a whiff, that's biology's way of letting you know you need to clean it up."
Bell also admitted the sex talk she attempted with her daughters fell on deaf ears because it was so boring. Bell and Shepard have two daughters, Lincoln, 8, and Delta, 7.
On Monday's episode of Shepard’s “Armchair Expert” podcast, the couple admitted they let their daughters sleep in their room. “You know the girls sleep on the floor of our bedroom,” she said, according to Yahoo.
The admission came before the couple shared a story of a mysterious smell that took over their bedroom. “A few nights ago, I smell a really raunchy smell, and I’m like, ‘Who’s farting?’” she said. “All three of them are like, ‘Sorry, it’s me.’ So, I’m like, OK, my family has gas.
“In the morning, I’m like, wow, nobody’s gas has dissipated. But it also smells like it’s burning,” she continued.
Bell washed the sheets of the bed and opened some windows in the room, but the smell persisted. The next day, Bell finally realized that it was the Ooler mattress pad. Oolers need water to work and Shepard accidentally poured a protein shake inside instead.
As a parent, I gotta say that the idea of sharing my wife and I’s bedroom with two kids every night sounds like a bad idea. First, it's hard enough to get a good night’s sleep with another person and a dog in the bed, but a pair of kids adds another dimension of disruptions.
That’s two more people waking up to go to the bathroom, tossing and turning, and passing gas.
Bell and Shepard’s story raises an important question: Is co-sleeping good for kids?
According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), as many as 24% of parents have their children sleep in their beds for at least part of the night.
"There are two reasons for co-sleeping," NSF spokeswoman Jodi Mindell, author of “Sleeping Through the Night,” says. "One is a family lifestyle decision; it's important to the parents. Reason two is reactive co-sleeping. You don't really want them there, but it's easier than having to solve a problem at 2 a.m. No matter which you do, at some point, you'll want to make a change."
Lynelle Schneeberg, Psy.D., director of the behavioral sleep program at Connecticut Children's Medical Center, told Parents.com that even though there are some benefits to co-sleeping, it’s much more important to raise children who are confident, independent sleepers.
Dr. Schneeberg says that children who go to bed in their parents’ room can develop a sleep crutch that makes it difficult for them to fall asleep when they’re alone.
"They may be misdiagnosed as anxious because, since they have a hard time falling asleep without a parent nearby, they sometimes display anxious behaviors to convince a parent to stay nearby at bedtime," Dr. Schneeberg explained.
It can be tough for the parents' relationship as well.
"I've seen many families in which one parent—most often, the father—ends up sleeping in a different room entirely," she said. "The parent with the children often becomes exhausted by either the restless sleep of the kids or the needs of each kid after an awakening."
Obviously, Bell and Shepard know what’s right for their family so we’re not judging them as parents. But their story is a great excuse to discuss the issue of sleep because it plays such a big role in our physical and mental health.
And as a parent, I know that there’s nothing better for your mental health than having a child who sleeps through the night. In their own room.
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