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Do Korean children sleep with parents?


Korean culture is known for its strong emphasis on family values and relationships. One aspect of Korean family life that often raises questions is the sleeping arrangements for children. In many Western cultures, it is common for children to have their separate bedrooms, but in Korea, it is not uncommon for children to sleep in the same bed as their parents. This article will explore the reasons behind this cultural practice and its potential impact on child development.

Cultural Beliefs and Practices

In traditional Korean culture, co-sleeping with parents was the norm. It was believed that sharing a bed with parents would promote bonding and a sense of security for the child. This practice was also seen as a way to build closeness within the family unit. While modern Korean society has changed in many ways, co-sleeping with parents remains common among many families.

Parenting Styles

One reason why Korean children may sleep with their parents is due to parenting styles. Korean parents are known for being very hands-on and involved in their children’s lives. They often prioritize their child’s needs over their own, which can include allowing them to sleep in the same bed for comfort or security.

Living Arrangements

Another factor contributing to co-sleeping in Korea is living arrangements. Many families live in small apartments or homes, which can make it difficult to provide each family member with their separate room. Co-sleeping can be a practical solution to space limitations.

Safety Concerns

Some people may be concerned about the safety of co-sleeping with infants or young children. However, research has shown that when done correctly, co-sleeping can be safe for babies and toddlers. Parents should follow safe sleep guidelines such as placing babies on their backs to sleep and avoiding soft bedding or pillows.

Bonding and Attachment

Co-sleeping can promote bonding and attachment between parents and children. It allows for physical closeness and can lead to feelings of security and comfort for the child. This can also help build a sense of trust and emotional intimacy between family members.

Independence and Autonomy

On the other hand, some experts argue that co-sleeping can hinder a child’s independence and autonomy. Sleeping in the same bed as parents may make it harder for children to learn to self-soothe or fall asleep on their own. It can also create dependency on parents for emotional support.

Sleep Quality

Another potential concern with co-sleeping is the impact on sleep quality. Sharing a bed with another person, particularly one who moves around or snores, can disrupt sleep patterns. This is especially true for adults who need uninterrupted sleep to function during the day.

Cultural Differences

It’s important to remember that cultural practices around co-sleeping vary widely across the world. What may be seen as normal in one culture may be viewed as unusual or even harmful in another. It’s important to consider cultural beliefs and practices when discussing co-sleeping in Korea.

Child Development

The impact of co-sleeping on child development is a complex issue. While some studies have suggested that co-sleeping can have negative effects on cognitive development or behavior, others have found no significant differences between children who co-sleep and those who do not.

Personal Preference

Ultimately, whether or not Korean children sleep with their parents is largely a matter of personal preference. Some families choose to co-sleep for cultural or practical reasons, while others opt for separate sleeping arrangements. The most important thing is to make sure that everyone in the family is getting enough rest and feels comfortable with the sleeping arrangements.


In conclusion, co-sleeping with parents is a common practice in Korea that reflects cultural values and practical considerations. While there are potential benefits and drawbacks to co-sleeping, the decision of whether or not to share a bed with children is ultimately up to individual families. By understanding cultural beliefs and practices surrounding co-sleeping, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the diversity of family life around the world.

What cultures do children sleep with parents?

Cosleeping is a common practice that varies across different cultures. In Latin America, Vietnam, and the Philippines, some parents opt to sleep with their babies in hammocks next to the bed, while others place their babies in a wicker basket between the two parents in the bed.

What cultures practice cosleeping?

Sweden, Egypt, and Japan are examples of countries that prioritize a child-rearing approach that emphasizes interdependence and believe that co-sleeping can have positive developmental effects on children.

How do Korean families sleep?

Although individual bedrooms and raised beds are popular in Korea, it is still common for families to co-sleep on the floor, especially when welcoming a new baby. Dr. Seockhoon Chung, MD, PhD, confirms this cultural tradition.

In which culture is cosleeping more common?

Families in predominantly Asian countries and regions such as Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, or China co-sleep much more frequently than in the United States.

Is it OK for a 9 year old to sleep with parents?

According to Dr. Basora-Rovira, it is generally recommended that children sleep alone on their own surfaces in their own rooms. However, if a family chooses to co-sleep, they should consistently follow safe sleeping practices. This was stated on January 12, 2018.

Is co-sleeping common in Asia?

In Asian culture, it is common for families to sleep together in the same room on floor mats. This practice allows for the same room to be used for both living and sleeping, with the mats being stored during the day.

It’s worth noting that co-sleeping in Korea isn’t limited to just parents and young children. It’s not uncommon for multiple generations of a family to sleep together, including grandparents, parents, and children. This practice reinforces the importance of family and intergenerational relationships in Korean culture.

Additionally, co-sleeping can also have practical benefits beyond space limitations. For example, if one parent works late or travels frequently, co-sleeping can provide a way for the child to maintain a sense of connection and closeness with that parent.

It’s important to remember that while co-sleeping is a common practice in Korea, it’s not the only way that families can bond and build relationships. There are many ways to foster closeness and security within a family, including spending quality time together during waking hours, engaging in shared activities, and providing emotional support.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to co-sleep with children should be based on what works best for each individual family. By considering factors such as safety, sleep quality, and child development, parents can make an informed decision about how they want to approach sleeping arrangements.

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