What children need

Carlotta Cerri

We sleep all together in one room. We have done it for a long time, way before we started traveling. People say, kids need to get used to sleep in their room. Kids need to learn to sleep by themselves. Kids need to learn to fall asleep by themselves. I used to be one of those people.

Oliver slept in his own room when he was 4 months old. We practiced sleeping on his own. We practiced falling asleep by himself. We practiced falling asleep without the boob when he woke up at night. We did all I thought Oliver was supposed to do. And he did it all, I was so proud of us and him and our work together.

And then Emily came, and I did the exact same things.

But she didn’t sleep for 20 months. She only fell asleep on the booby. She wanted me close all the time. She slept better with us: still today, she falls asleep in her own bed, and wakes up in our bed. Still today, she falls asleep with her hand on my breast every time she wakes up.

That taught me a lot about what kids need. They don’t need what the old generations tell us they need.

Kids need to be close to their parents. Kids need to feel our presence at all time, for as long as they need. Kids need to be picked up when they cry. Kids need to know we’re right there for them during the day AND at night. Kids need to learn new skills — like falling asleep independently, sleeping through the night or leaving the nappy — when they’re ready.

Oliver was ready very early. Emily is still not. And that’s ok.

Because above all, kids need to be allowed to be themselves, to go at their own pace. They need to feel accepted for who they are. They need to know that we’ll always encourage them; that if they want, we’re there for them and with them at every step of the way.

But our happiness is not their success. Our happiness is their journey—a journey that will bring out the person that is already in them.

“We can teach them new skills, but it is not our job to change them” Simone Davies

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