Meet the family of six who take co-sleeping to the next level

Kim and Ryan Constable share their bed with their four children: Corey, 11, Kai, 9, Maya, 6, and Jack, 5.
Kim and Ryan Constable share their bed with their four children: Corey, 11, Kai, 9, Maya, 6, and Jack, 5. Photo: Facebook@Kim Constable

If you often wake up in the morning with a tiny person's foot in your face, or find yourself teetering on the edge of the bed – then you're not alone. Those middle-of-the-night visits are just one of the joys of raising kids.

One family, however, have taken co-sleeping to the next level – fashioning an 18ft bed big enough for their entire clan. Belfast yoga instructor Kim Constable, 37, and her husband former rugby player, Ryan Constable, 45, share their bed with their four children: Corey, 11, Kai, 9, Maya, 6, and five-year-old Jack. 

Kim told Belfast Telegraph that their unusual sleeping arrangement began when Corey was a baby. Their eldest son co-slept with them, she says, to help keep him settled.

"Then, as more children came along, they wanted to sleep in with us, too," Kim explained "When the older ones moved out and a younger one moved in, they would come back and say that's not fair - we want to be in the big bed with you all, too."

To ensure no one was left out, Kim told Belfast Telegraph that they joined a king size bed, a super king and single bed together to make an 18ft bed "which was big enough for everyone".

For Kim, the main advantage of their six-in-the-bed set up is its practicality – no more running into different rooms if her kids need her during the night.

"Some people tend to think you stop being a parent at 8pm at night when your children go to bed, and that they should just settle on their own in a dark room and sleep all night through, but the reality is they don't always do that," she said.

Instead, Kim notes that she's there for her children 24 hours a day. "I will be there for them during the night, just like I am during the day."

The mother-of-four also believes that aside from just being practical, the co-sleeping is also beneficial for her children's development.

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"Science and research has shown that early dependence actually creates early independence," she said. "Children who are forced to grow up and be independent before they are ready can actually end up growing into scared individuals who essentially want to jump back into the safety of the womb all of their lives."

Kim describes her children as happy, independent and self-sufficient – they just happen to like sharing a bed. And, when they want their own room, Kim says that's fine too.

In fact, nine-year-old Kai recently asked for his own bed – although Kim admits the transition has been slow. "At the minute he prefers sleeping on a mattress on the floor in our bedroom. So he hasn't properly moved out just yet. It's a process."

If you're wondering how it all works, Kim explains that, too. And – like the bed itself – the Constable nighttime routine is very much a family affair.

"We let the kids decide when they are ready to go to bed and most nights that will be between 10pm and 11pm. We will all go and get our PJs on and clean our teeth and all that happens together as a family. Then we all snuggle down together and talk or read a story."

And what about sex? Kim says that she and her husband often sleep in the spare room – at least for part of the night. They also tell the kids that they're off to have a "snuggle" before disappearing for some couple time.

"We do make time for each other and once a week we will go out for dinner or meet each other for lunch so we can catch up with each other," she says.

"We also book weekends or nights away so we can spend quality time together."

Kim, who also home-schools her children, is often asked how she spends so much time with her kids – without pulling her hair out. And the answer is simple.

"I love spending time with my children. They are my best friends and you don't ever get tired of spending time with your best friend, do you?"