“When the baby finally arrives, love it, feed it, take care of all its needs but keep it in its own bed. Do not let your baby get used to your marital bed. Keep your bedroom clean always and even when the children come into the picture, let them sleep in their own bedroom. Every family must have a baby cot and room. The baby should know it has its own bed right from childhood.”
This is the kind of advice that Brenda Nakiboneka received from one of her friends during her baby shower, four years ago. However, when her twin girls were delivered, she could not imagine her infants sleeping in a separate bed and room. “These twin girls were so adorable. I needed to be near them all the time. I loved them too much. I kept imagining that something would happen to them in my absence,” Nakiboneka narrates.
Her attachment to the twins is so much that even when the children are three years old, she still sleeps with them in the same bedroom. She does not know how to make them settle in their own room. She is still holding on until they turn six.
Isaac Kawesa on the other hand was quite uncomfortable with how his children and nanny had easy access to their bedroom, yet the wife seemed unbothered.
Diana Nabatanzi confesses that she rarely allows her children in her bedroom because they are destructive. “I allow them in my room in instances when they are sick because then, I have to check on them during the night. Children need to know that their parents’ bedroom must be respected and parents should explain why children should not be allowed in the bedroom all the time,” she adds.
But what is the appropriate age to take children to a separate bedroom? Why is it important to restrict access to the master’s bedroom?
Ali Male, a relationship counsellor says the master bedroom contains so many secrets as well as valuable things that must be respected by non-occupants, regardless of who they are. “Children and other people at home should be given guidelines on how and when to access the parents’ bedroom. When children begin to grow, they become very inquisitive. They start questioning the status quo. They want to know what happens in their parents’ bedroom. Sometimes they storm the room with an intention of seeing what their parents are doing,” he says.
Parents should have rules in the home. Children should know when to and when not to access their parents’ room. Teach them to desist from storming into your room unannounced. Tell them not to come in so early in the morning or late in the night when you are sleeping,” Male advises.
Male reveals that at the age of three, a child should be given another room and helped to get used to it. He says parents can sleep with children in their beds and when they are fully asleep, they can return to their own bedroom.
Male, however, cautions parents against overly enforcing the ban on access to their room, saying that sometimes, a child may have a problem and fail to come to the parents’ room for help.
Masaba advises parents that children can access their bedroom in the event that they are not feeling well or when the parent takes long to wake up.
Peter Kawuma, a businessman, believes that relatives and nannies should never be given access to the master’s bedroom unless the owners are in. “Some people wait for you to leave home to check everything you own. Every master’s bedroom should have a functioning lock and should be locked when the couple is not at home. The couple deserves privacy whether they are in or out of their bedroom. Sometimes you are dressing up, and a child enters, looking for something. Take whatever they may need to use in another room,” Kawuma adds.
Masaba says sometimes parents need to have special moments to talk to their children, to teach them about sex education, especially adolescents, among other reasons. The parents’ bedroom is the best place to have such talk. She says this teaches the child that the master’s bedroom is a special place that should be respected.
“Do not beat or talk to your child about their mistakes in the public. This lowers their self-esteem. Your bedroom is the perfect place to discipline children,” she adds.
How to restrict them
Male notes that children listen and understand when they are explained to. Tell them why they should not bump into your room anyhow and anytime. Warn them not to enter your room when you are not there.
Idah Nagayi, a mother of three, says that the rule should be implemented as early as three years. The child should know when to come to the room and when not to. Teach them to knock and wait for your permission before entering.
Why it is important
Katuutu says that it teaches children to be independent and prevents them from clinging onto their parents all the time. She explains that children must know that in every environment, there are boundaries. If they learn about boundaries at home, they will not mess with people’s property
Keep valuables safely
“My two-year-old son tore a land title I had taken months to secure. I had gone to take a shower. I had myself to blame. We have also had cases of maids stealing money from our bedroom because it was within their reach. A master bedroom is more than just a room where people sleep. It also houses valuable items which must be kept in a safe place,” says Ivan Katongole.
Make time for them
Shakilah Katutu, a mother, advises parents to make time to talk to their children so that when they enter the bedroom, they have no reason to follow them. “All they need is love and attention,” she adds.
Nagayi adds that the reason why some parents’ rules are never taken seriously is because when rules are broken or bent, nothing is done. If children come to your bedroom unannounced, tell them to go back.
Talk to them
“Tell them why they should not enter your room without permission”.