Why Children Should Not Sleep with Grandparents: Unveiling Psychological Impacts

Kate Chered
4 min readFeb 3, 2024

In the familial nest, grandparents play a crucial role, sometimes stepping in as caretakers, storytellers, and sources of unconditional love. However, this seemingly harmless act of sharing a bed with their grandchildren has sparked some debate between psychologists and childcare experts. This paper explores the psychological, developmental, and safety reasons why children may be better off without the influence of sleeping with grandparents.

How Sleeping With Grandparents Affects Children’s Psychological Development


Child psychology development is a diverse process influenced by several other factors, including where they sleep. Parents who constantly allow their child to sleep with a grandparent regularly interfere with the ability of their children to learn independence, emotional regulation, and how they can come up with secure attachment styles.

Dr. Komarovsky and other psychologists oppose co-sleeping with a grandparent for several reasons. First, it introduces a physical danger, especially to infants whom older adults may roll over inadvertently and suffocate or injure them. This safety factor becomes most important for making co-sleeping a viable option over and above the emotional and psychological reasons.

Along with the physical risks, co-sleeping can also change a child’s psychological landscape. From birth to about age four, children pass through developmental phases called critical periods for psychosocial development. According to the attachment theory, this is when the kids form their primary attachments that act as blueprints for all future relations. When a child is habitually sleeping with a grandparent, these attachment lines could become blurred, and the grandparent is in a primary caregiver role. This shift might dilute their bonding with their parents as they would start looking up to the grandparent as the principal source of comfort and security.

In addition, it leads to the dynamics of co-sleeping grandparents breeding dependency problems. As a result, the indulgent love grandparents are known for may encourage children to be disciplined or not rely on themselves. This might make it difficult for the parent to exercise control and draw boundaries, leading to long-term regulatory problems in behaviour and emotions.

Where the Boundaries Should Be Drawn: A Healthy Relationship with Grandparents

The relationship between grandchildren and their grandparents is precious, but the child’s development needs some healthy boundaries. Psychologist A.A. Zotov devotes special attention to the gender specificity of such arrangements, proving that starting to sleep together with a grandfather, girls may develop complex emotional connections and prefer mature people in their other connections in the future. This dynamic is rooted in the search for safety and protection felt once with the grandfather in their male presence and authority, complicating future relationships.

For boys, sleeping with a grandmother can instil subconscious dependency on women, affecting adult confidence and competence in decision-making. Children of this kind may, later on in life, feel that women should always be nurturing and they should dominate in their lives, hence creating a problem when trying to mingle as equals in a relationship partnership.

If children were made to sleep independently, they would experience healthy psychological-emotional growth. This practice imbibes a sense of autonomy and security in the children and develops strong, healthy relationships with their parents. Time spent with grandparents should be cherished, filled with activities that create memories and bonds without the added complexities of co-sleeping.

How do you foster independence and security in children using an optimal approach?

Consistent routines, clear boundaries, and nurturing relationships continue to be the keys to establishing independence and security. Parents and grandparents should work together to develop a supportive atmosphere that upholds the requirements of the child’s individual growth and development.

An effective technique is to develop a bedtime practice, where the grandparent may read a story or perform calm activities with the child before the child sleeps in their bed. This strategy allows for quality time for the boy and his grandparents, free from the potentiality for psychological tangles that come with co-sleeping.

Furthermore, open discussion regarding independence and personal space between parents, grandparents, and children also fosters the idea of independence. Additionally, children should be encouraged to speak up about sleeping arrangements to help gain insight into their emotional needs and wants.

In conclusion of this discussion, it is clear that while there is little as precious as the bond between grandparent and grandchild, specific separations still need to be maintained between them, places that children sleep among them about a child’s safety, healthy mental state, and individual. Family can ensure children develop confidence, self-reliance and emotional stability by creating a supportive atmosphere that encourages healthy boundaries and secure attachments.


What is the psychological development of a two-year-old by sleeping with grandparents?

Sleeping with grandparents may blur the attachment lines, probably lead to dependency issues and change the relationship of the child with their parents. It may influence their independence and emotional regulation.

Where should children sleep to foster healthy psychological growth?

Children should sleep in their own beds, promoting healthy independence, a sense of security, and attachment styles with their primary caregivers.

What are the physical risks associated with co-sleeping with grandparents?

The child may be suffocated or injured — adults, most probably, do not control their actions while sleeping; this is a severe safety issue.