When you have more children than you do bedrooms, you have no choice but to bunk a couple of kids together. With four kids and only two bedrooms, my children get to enjoy the privilege of sharing a bedroom. And I had the privilege of making sure it wasn’t a complete disaster for everyone’s sleep! For anyone who needs to have siblings share a bedroom together or just wants to (maybe you need to use one of the rooms for an office or a guest room), here are a few tips that have come in handy with my own children.
Things to consider before your kids share a bedroom together:
- Well rested children with the ability to fall asleep on their own is key! If you have a child who struggles to fall asleep, chances are you will soon be dealing with two children who will struggle to fall asleep. Considering my life is sleep, my guys are quite well rested and have the ability to fall asleep on their own. This definitely helped but it was still an adjustment to sharing a room with another person.
- Overnight sleep – Can everyone put themselves back to sleep through the night? Does it get loud?
- Be mindful of the age gap and have a plan around bedtime and morning wake up.
Will separating them work to fall asleep? What if one wakes earlier than the other?
- Is one of the kids still napping? My oldest was in school when her sister was using the room to nap so that 4 year age gap came in handy for them. The boys though napped at the same time for quite some time and for us it was easier to separate them. One would nap in our bed and the other in their own bed. For the most part we traded day to day as to who got to sleep in our bed but there were a lot of times where they didn’t really care so it was a non issue. If you are napping in the same room making sure it is really dark and the sound machine is on can discourage some of the play or stalling.
- Work on bedtime battles, how they fall asleep and how they sleep through the night will be important factors to consider as well. If you have a problem sleeper or two, expect some extra challenges with sharing the bedroom.
We had to try a few different things to find a good routine that fit with everyone. I have two girls who are 4 years apart in one room and two boys who are 16 months apart in another. Thankfully I had two of each so it was a pretty easy split 😉
I found there are a few basics needed to make the room sharing work:
- Minimal toys
- Sound machine
- Darkness in the room is so important! If they can see each other, it can lead to silliness 🙂
Does a Difference in Age Matter?
Regardless of how old or young your children are, having them share a room is possible. There may be a few things to consider when it comes to your own individual children though.
With my girls, who are 4 years apart it was easier to put my youngest daughter to bed first – story in her room, snuggles then time for her to fall asleep. When it was time for our older daughter to go to bed we would read stories and chat in our bed and then she would quietly sneak into her bedroom to go to sleep.
For my boys who are 16 months apart we did things a little differently. To start, we didn’t transition the younger one until the older was a lot older. I was worried about items being thrown into the crib in the early morning or limbs being pulled through the bars. Once we did move them over though – the younger of the two was around 16 months. Instead of doing one bedtime at a time we have them on the same schedule and bedtime is done together. We do stories all together in our bed (king size vs. twin bed) and then into their beds at the same time.
One our favourite times to connect with our kids is at bedtime so we lay with them each for usually around 5 minutes. When dad and I are doing bedtimes together, we each lay with one and then switch and lay with the other. This for us was not only a great way to connect but it also helps discourage some of the chatting and bedtime fooling around. It helped them get into that relaxed state so most nights when we left the room, we offered a quick shush standing outside their door and they were ready for sleep.
A few extra tips for managing bedtimes:
- Try and have everyone get their pj’s on and ready for bed all together. It can help minimize the disruption on the younger one(s) as they are falling asleep.
- Having a sound machine in the hallway is a great way to block the sounds of the older ones getting ready while the younger ones were trying to fall asleep.
Expect some bedtime stalling.
Let’s face it, kids like to stall. Expect some bedtime stalling if they are close in age but set those limits! Have rules and a back up if things don’t work out. With my older two we had a bed set up in the spare room and with the younger two we would separate them and have one fall asleep in our bed and transfer them when we went to bed.
Let them talk a little though – it’s so sweet to sit on the stairs and listen to them chat about their day and their ideas. Listening to their giggles and plans for the next day is so special. I feel like this one of those times when that sibling bond is being formed so be a little flexible and really take in that moment. Just set limits – only 5 minutes to chat and then offer a reminder to go to sleep.
Stay consistent for success!
There will be an adjustment period for the whole family. With some trial and error, you will figure out what works best for your family. Keep in mind that consistency, especially with the bedtime schedule, is going to be really important in having a successful transition to having siblings sharing a bedroom. How they are falling asleep and how long it takes to get back on track after this transition will be greatly impacted by how consistent you are with the new routine. So stick with it!
If you find yourself still struggling with a transition like the kids sharing a room, check out our services page and contact us for a free consultation.
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