Do Your Young Children Share a Room? 5 Spectacular Tips for Success!
Whether you need your children to share a room for lack of space, or you want to promote sibling bonding, getting your kids to share a room with a sibling can feel like a daunting task! No one knows the value of sleep like the parents of young children! (Trust me, I just spent the last two nights up with my baby and my toddler with an ear infection!) Sleep around here is like a flawless diamond: precious and rare!
There are some things you can do to make the transition to a shared space a bit smoother, and a little less painful. Here are five things I would suggest!
Babies are so tempting. They are cuddly and cute, and to a toddler who doesn’t know better, they’re easily harmed. Newborns should probably only share a room with mom and dad, until they are old enough to sleep safely in a room with a trouble-making toddler. Not that your toddler is ill-intended, but any piece of food or small toy slipped through the crib rails is a potential choking hazard and just not worth the risk! There’s even the chance that big brother or big sister would try and climb in the crib to calm a crying baby and end up unintentionally landing on top of them.
So, as tempting as it sounds to have your own space back and having toddler and baby share a room, make sure you are confident of baby's safety!
Giggle, giggle, step, step, CRASH! “Who’s out of BED?!” These were the typical nighttime sounds at my house growing up. My three sisters and I all shared a bedroom when we were young. Yes, you heard that right — four girls in one room! I remember making a trail of books from my bed to my sisters’ bed so that the books would still be touching my bed; and in the logic of childhood, it followed that if I was touching a book that was touching another book that was touching my bed, I was not out of bed. (My mother may have had a different outlook on that!)
Children do tend to play and giggle together when they should be sleeping. If it’s minimal and they quickly fall to sleep, fine. But when it lasts for a longer time and becomes inhibiting to one or both of them getting a sufficient amount of sleep, you may want to consider staggering their bedtimes. Send one (likely the younger of the two) to bed 10 to 15 minutes before the second child. This way, they have time to wind down and fall asleep (or almost) before their sibling comes to bed. You can use the later bedtime as an incentive for the older child to go to bed quietly when entering the room!
I know some moms who don’t want to room kids together because one likes to sleep in while the other is up with the sun. So, for your little early birds, put their bed closer to the bedroom door. When they wake up, they are allowed to quietly leave the room without waking up their brother or sister. Have them set out their clothes the night before, so that they aren't opening dresser drawers and rifling through the room while the other is trying to sleep.
Another thing my husband did was oil the door hinges and file the bottom of the door, so there weren't any loud noises when entering or exiting the room.
All three of my children learned to put themselves to sleep, as babies, by listening to white noise. Now it’s just a great way of muting other loud sounds in the room. Whether it’s a snoring, or coughing, brother or sister, or a lightning storm, the white noise has always helped my kids fall asleep and stay asleep, no matter what was going on around them.
You can use a fan or an air purifier. They even sell white noise machines just for the purpose of falling asleep! I like using the air purifiers because it makes me feel like the noise is also productive!
Just like any change, moving kids into the same room is going to be an adjustment. Decide ahead of time what you want the ground rules to be, and be clear about your expectations with your kids. If you backpedal and give in, kids are VERY good about sensing this and testing the boundaries. If they got away with something once, you better believe they’ll try and do it again!
Do your kids share a room? Do they love it, or would they rather have their own? What has worked for you? Be sure to tell us in the comments!