My firstborn, Ian, is two and a half. Until just a few weeks ago, we were still partially co-sleeping. I made the great error in judgement when he started teething to bring him to bed when he would get fussy in the night. Everyone tells you not to let kids sleep with you, but when it's your first child, you do what works for you at the time. My husband worked nights and I felt more secure with him in the bed with me. But as he got older (and was still sleeping with us), the bed got smaller. We have a full bed (so it's kind of small for just my husband and me) and Ian is a roller/tosser/kicker. It stopped working for us! But I couldn't get him to stay in his own bed. When we bought our house, we got him a twin bed (he was 18 months). I would lay down with him in his bed until he fell asleep. And at the time, I was about five months pregnant. So even that was starting to be uncomfortable for me. But I would get up when he fell asleep and would go to my bed. He would stay in his bed until about 4:00 AM and then come and get in bed with me. And for a while, I was fine with that because I figured I was getting most of the night to sleep alone. But as I got bigger (and more uncomfortable) that stopped working for me as well. So most nights, when Ian would come get in bed with me, I'd get up and go to the couch (now granted, our couch IS super comfortable). I was CRAZY!!! What was I thinking??? Why didn't I just take him back to his bed if I was already up anyway? I blame it on prego-brain and exhaustion. Well, when Evan was born, I was determined to get Ian into his bed (and for him to stay there all night). We decided to let him watch a movie and fall asleep in our bed and then we would take him to his bed. This was so he could get used to falling asleep on his own (even though the TV kept him company). This worked very well. He no longer needed one of us to fall asleep, just Barney or the Wiggles. But he was still coming into our bed at about 5:30 or 6:00 AM. And for a while, I was okay with that. I was usually up anyway with the baby, so it didn't bother me. And I sometimes missed cuddling with him so it satisfied my need for that closeness that all parents who co-sleep know. Well, when Evan started sleeping through the night at two months (and would sleep until about 8:00 AM), it stopped working for me. But I was at a loss for what to do. So for a few more months I just dealt with Ian coming into our bed. So I concocted a plan. I started trying to cut out his nap during the day so that he would sleep longer at night. I might have been more than a little nuts to try to do this because what parent (in their right mind) would willingly give up their toddler's nap??? I guess I should mention that I'm not in my right mind most of the time. But he seemed to not really benefit from his nap, so I was willing to try it at least. So I began shortening his nap and making his bedtime a little earlier. I would do this on a weekly basis. For example, if I woke him up from his nap ten minutes earlier, I would put him to bed ten minutes earlier. And so far this has worked wonderfully. Most days he doesn't nap at all, unless it's been a very busy day or we're in the car (or if he is particularly grouchy). And now, he goes to bed about 9:00 and sleeps until about 9:00. It is AWESOME!!! On the days when he does nap, he usually gets up earlier the next day. For those of you who may think it strange that at two and a half, a child no longer naps, it is actually kind of normal. I asked a pediatrician and he said that by three years of age, about 25% of children no longer need naps. So it's really not that far-fetched. And if you are wondering if Evan is co-sleeping. The answer is a resounding NO!!! I learned my lesson with Ian. And although I LOVE cuddling with my boys. I don't love sharing my bed with them. And Evan has NEVER slept in our bed. Now, I am not condemning co-sleep. I actually think it's a wonderful thing, as long as it works for all parties involved. It no longer worked for us, so I felt like we needed to stop. But I say if it works for you, go for it. If we had a bigger bed, we probably would still be co-sleeping. But I like my bed (small as it may be) and we couldn't afford one anyway!
~PS: Ian is such a big boy now that he doesn't even need Barney or the Wiggles to help him fall asleep. It's all on his own! I love the quiet that ensues at around 9:00 every night!