Sharing a Room

My kids share a room. Many families have no choice in the matter, but we have three bedrooms. And yet we chose to have our children sleep in the same room. Lots of you may think I am crazy. Why risk having one kid wake another during the night? What if the kids have different schedules? Won’t they keep each other awake at bedtime?

I started thinking about our rooming situation almost as soon as I found out I was pregnant a second time. Things were so great with our daughter in her own room. We had kept our third little bedroom as a guest room for visiting grandparents and friends. Could we really give that up? Plus, how on earth would we put an up-every-few-hours baby in with our sleep-through-the-night toddler? The logistics were mind boggling.

Acting on the advice of my wise friend (and mother of four!), we decided to have our kids share a room. Her kids share a room and have since they were babies. She assured me that the benefits would outweigh the risks. And we have found that to be true.

Here are a few of the benefits we have experienced:

  • Extra room! Our extra bedroom now has a daybed for guests and ALL the kids’ toys and books.

  • Bedroom oasis. We keep the bedroom a calm, quiet place for sleeping. With all their noisy toys confined to the playroom, their bedroom now just has their beds, stuffed animals, and some bedtime reading.

  • Company and comfort. The kids keep each other company and comfort each other during the night. It’s so heartwarming to hear my daughter ask where her little brother is if he happens to wake up before her. And when my son wakes during the night, he is comforted just seeing his sister sleeping in her bed.

  • Assisted learning. The kids “help” each other stay in bed. Our older child helped teach the little guy that he has to stay in his bed until their alarm clock turns green. And now even the little guy will remind his big sis if she isn’t following the rules.

  • Easier travel. Most siblings have to share a room when the family travels. My kids are already used to sharing a room, so it’s that much easier and more familiar when we are in a new place.

  • Better sleepers. My kids have gotten used to little noises during the night. They learn to soothe themselves back to sleep regularly. I feel like they will be well-prepared for future overnight camp bunks or way down the road college dorm rooms!

Do your kids share a room? Tell us your story and let me know if you have found any other benefits.

I know that there can be bumps in the road when introducing a new baby into a young child’s bedroom. In my next blog, I’ll share my tips for how to execute that transition.

8 Responses to “Sharing a Room”

  1. I have a 5 year old girl and an almost 18 month old boy and possibly (it’s extremely early) adding a third. We have two bedrooms right next to each other and I am seriously considering one being a sleep/reading nook room and the other for play/guest room (the baby would sleep there for a while until it sleeps through the night and then would move into the sleep room and we’d replace the crib with a futon). I really like this in theory, but am I being too ambitious with 3 and different genders

  2. Brittney

    I have a 5 year old girl and an almost 18 month old boy and possibly (it’s extremely early) adding a third. We have two bedrooms right next to each other and I am seriously considering one being a sleep/reading nook room and the other for play/guest room (the baby would sleep there for a while until it sleeps through the night and then would move into the sleep room and we’d replace the crib with a futon). I really like this in theory, but am I being too ambitious with 3 and different genders?

    • Sleep Sisters

      Melissa loved having her kids together in one room, keeping the other room for play/guests. That also enables you to keep the bedroom free of toys and other distractions and make it a truly sleep-conducive environment. We have several friends who have 3 or 4 kids sharing one room. You just need to have good sleep habits and a very clear plan for bedtime and wake time.

  3. Jennifer G

    I would like for my boys to share a room for exactly the reasons you listed in your article. My husband is against it. I hate to “pull rank” but he works out of town during the week, and right now the 3 of us are sharing the living room. Hubs is ready for me to begin sleeping with him in our bed again on the weekends, so I might just set up a shared room while he is not home to prove to him that it will be best, at least while the boys are little.

  4. I just moved my 18 month old into my 3.75 yr olds room. He was getting out of his pack and play so I decided to try a big boy bed. My older son is also in the “i’m scared” phase so I thought it may help to have his brother in the room with him. What we have now is a sleeping nightmare…it is not unusual for “bedtime” to last up to 3 hours before they are both asleep. I am at a loss. And tired :(

    • Melissa Zdrodowski

      It’s hard to offer you specific advice without more info, but here are a few observations. 18 months is pretty young to move to a big kid bed if you don’t need to. Thing about trying him back in a crib or pack-n-play unless he’s a danger to himself in those. Set clear rules around bedtime and be consistent in your enforcement. Use a positive rewards system to help encourage both kids to make it work. If possible, put one to bed earlier and wait until he is asleep before putting the other in the room. Good luck, and let us know if you want some additional support!

  5. I am thinking of trying this as well. My boys are almost 4 and almost 2. And once we can get the little one to sleep properly (I may be getting one of your packages), we want them to share. I never did and think it would be fun. However, had do you deal with different bedtimes? The little guy should go down by 7:30 as I can see he is tried. But the older guy could do another 30 minutes and be fine. thanks!

    • Melissa Zdrodowski

      Different bedtimes can be tricky, but at ages 2 and 4, you might be able to get them to bed at the same time. If/when your 4 yr old stops napping in the afternoon, he will need to go to bed earlier. My 3 and 5 year olds go to be between 7 and 7:30 together! But if you want to do them separately, have the older guy read or play quietly in another room by himself while you get the little one down, then you can spend time with the older one outside the bedroom completing his bedtime routine (reading, brushing teeth, potty, etc.). Do everything in a darkened environment, then just walk him in quietly and tuck him in. Good luck! And call us if you want a consult : )

8 Responses to “Sharing a Room”

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