Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Help Me Out: Room Sharing Tips

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We are on our countdown to when we will move Kaitlyn and McKenna together to share a room. They are 5 and 3. We have never had children share a room before, so I am looking for your tips! What can we do to make the transition smoother and have the most success? Do we put them to bed at the same time or stagger bedtime? What rules work for going to sleep?

Please comment with your tips on room sharing. Thanks so much!

28 comments:

skinnyfat said...
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RebekkahGrace said...

My boys share a room, ages 3 years old and 18 months. I love it! I think they actually sleep better in the room together than alone. It made Owen (3) stop crying or yelling at bedtime, because he had to help brother stay asleep. They've been sharing a room for 6 months now.

I often stagger their nap times by 15-30 minutes. If my 18 month old wakes up crying after 1.5 hours, my 3 year old is still sleeping too hard to wake up. So, I can either get him up or settle him back down. The 18 month old keeps my 3 year old from falling asleep sometimes because he's a little noisy at bedtime, wants to play and talk for 15 minutes in his bed, but he's at an age where we are teaching him to be quiet and lay down for sleep times.

A sound machine or fan is essential! My kids are still at the ages where they wake up crying sometimes, and it keeps the other one asleep. I'm amazed at how well they block each other out.

Fortunately for us, the youngest is still in a crib. I think it will get harder when we move him to a toddler bed. However, I think that he will be pretty excited to sleep in a big boy bed like his brother!

RebekkahGrace said...

Oh, and I also like to stagger the nap and bed times by a few minutes because it gives me some alone time with each kid. If I put them down for a nap 30 minutes apart, I get 30 minutes with the older kid before he goes down for a nap, and a few minutes with the younger one before big brother wakes up. And, I still get an hour or two or alone time in the middle.

heather mckinsey said...

My girls are 3 1/2 and 20 months and they have shared a room since my youngest was 6 months. I stagger bed times most of the time. They fall asleep fairly quickly when they go down at the same time. I do bribe with candy if they don't wake each other and talk. But there are nights that they talk for 2 hrs.

Tiff said...

I moved my (now 3)-year-old in with her her (now 6)-year-old sister about 4 months before the baby was born. I wanted to be sure there was enough time to be used to the change before the baby came. They already had the same bed time & end of nap time.

We did it cold turkey. Had the 3-year-old pick out the bedding she wanted and put them in a bunk bed and that was that. My older one wakes earlier for kindergarten, but I just set her clothes out the night before, and quietly retrieve her in the mornings. She also takes a much shorter nap than the toddler, so I have her go in quietly an hour after her sister went down, and then wake them at the same time. Bedtime is the same time for both of them.

My oldest is very obedient, so that helps a lot.

I'm actually splitting them up again because I'm noticing my 6-year-old seems to be outgrowing her sister at the moment. Plus, we have a townhouse and our bedrooms are itty-bitty. We've had to relinquish our office (where I give piano lessons) to the baby.

Christina said...

My boys (now 2 1/2 and 1) have been sharing a room since the baby was 4 months. It's been quite the challenge! That said, they love it. They take naps and sleep at the same time and the younger one has a hard time with his morning nap when there is no one in the room to fall asleep with him. They don't tend to keep each other up much, but they are both still in cribs. I'm worried about moving the older to a toddler bed because I know he's going to go get into the crib with his brother, but I guess I'll cross that bridge when I get to it!

Kelle said...

My girls started sharing a room when we moved to a smaller house. They were 4 and 5 yrs old when they started sharing a room. I prepped them a lot by setting down rules about how to respect their sister when she is sleeping and not be rude and wake her up. I gave out consequences when someone woke up the other. They were somewhat prepared because we travel a lot, being military, and we already had this routine/rules set up when they had to share a hotel room or a room at grandparents house.

Another rule we have is that "we share the room, but not the bed." Their beds are their own private space and only by invitation are they allowed on their sister's bed.

I put them to bed at the same time and they share the bedtime story now, but they used to both pick out a book each and we read them together. Prayers were already together. Husband or I tuck them in individually. They were not napping when they started sharing a room, but they have always had rest time during their brothers' naps. I used to separate them for this, but within the last year they are capable of resting in their beds with a book in the same room. When I separated them, I used my bedroom as another place.

Jared Boville said...

My boys have shared a room since #2 was 3 months old.... they are 17 months apart.... for us it went soooo much better than I ever thought possible! I stagger bed times, mainly cause #2 is down at 7pm and #1 is 8pm. Naps are a different story, right now they don't overlap perfectly so baby naps in pack n' play in our room.... having his little brother in his room has made bedtime even better (he has always gone down with out crying) because he makes no noise so he won't wake his brother.... I love having them in the same room, plus it got the baby out of ours!!!!

Raegan said...

The best piece of advice I have is to give it time. It took about 2 months for our girls to get used to sleeping in the same room at night. They were so excited, but we noticed after the first week that they were consistently falling asleep too late (from chatting) and having a hard time waking in the morning. So we started putting them to bed 30 minutes earlier than their normal bedtime. That allowed them some "giggle time" and they'd end up falling asleep right about the normal bed time. Give them time to adjust to the noises the other makes (one of ours like to sing herself to sleep, the other has night terrors). They know to be respectful of each other, but now they completely sleep through the other sister's noises. It's great. :)

Frank & Erika said...

Thank you so much for posing this question. Baby #3 is due in October and my 3 and 2 YOs will share a room when it comes... it has been so nice to read what others have done!

Unknown said...

Great question Val. I also appreciate all the advice! I am very nervous about my 4.5 yr old son and 2 yr old daughter sharing a room this fall in prep for a new baby. They are so different from each other that it's actually the waking hours of room sharing that concern me more (maybe! I guess I have concerns all the way around!) Any tips on helping them each still feel that they have their own space? I really like Kelle's rule that their beds remain their own private space. We will have to rethink "room time" as a consequence also since it won't be helpful to send them both to the same room if the problem is something between them. Looking forward to hearing more feedback. Thanks everyone :)

ashes said...

I actually have 3 of my 4 kids sharing a room (since we only have a 3-bedroom house). The baby is in the nursery, and our 7, 5, and 3-year old share. Bedtimes are the same (except for the baby, since she goes to bed earlier). The other kids have outgrown naps, so naptime isn't an issue.

My oldest two have been sharing a room since they were 4 and 2, and then we put our third child in there last summer. We waited until summer to do that so that our oldest wouldn't lose any sleep for school. It takes a few weeks for adjustments, but it all worked out. They have their separate bins for their own toys and such, and their own space in the closet for their clothes.

Once the baby is old enough to be in a normal bed (which will probably be next summer), we'll then just have 2 girls in each room.

As for giving the kids consequences, we've never sent them to their rooms as a punishment. First of all, we don't want them to view their room as a place of punishment. Second, there are too many toys and other distractions in there for it to be a proper punishment. The naughty spot a la Supernanny is what has worked like a charm for us since my oldest was 18 months old. And now just the warning of a time-out to the naughty spot is usually enough to get them to stop whatever unsavory behavior they are doing.

als said...

Our sons started room-sharing at 4 and 2, about 3 months before our new baby was due. We talked a lot about it to prep. With the younger one, we talked about how his crib would move to a new room, how all his animals would move with him, etc. With the older one, we focused on how it would be really fun to share a room with a brother, BUT it came with responsibilities. He was going to be the one who knows how to obey the best and so he would have to learn to be quiet and ignore his little brother when it was time to sleep. He has done a great job with it, and I think the verbal prep helped a lot. The first couple weeks involved quite a bit of talking/laughing at bedtime and some late nights. We put bedtime earlier to compensate for a while. We tried not to be too stern about it, because it's fun for them to talk, but if they hadn't stopped after 10 minutes, we would go in and remind that it is bedtime. If that warning didn't work, for the first few weeks my husband or myself would go in and sit in the rocking chair between their beds, with the lights off, just quietly sitting with them and that would keep them quiet. We'd leave once they were past the temptation to talk. Over time the novelty wore off and they just talked for a short while before settling in to sleep. There was a period that the older one started complaining about having to share and complaining that little brother was waking him up or making noise at bedtime. We kept a positive attitude of, "Well, sometimes that happens with little brothers but think of all the fun parts of sharing!" and the attitude passed soon enough. We also taught verbally about not waking the other one up if one boy woke earlier than the other. We taught my older son to open the door quietly and go downstairs or to lay in his bed til his little brother woke up. It is SO fun to hear them chatting and giggling now in the morning when they're both awake...one of their most bonding times. They can't get into fights when they're both in their beds and just enjoy conversing, which is something special to that setting.

Other thoughts: within about 30 minutes of falling asleep, the little one is out so deeply we can get pj's on, play music, talk quietly in there with the older one and he doesn't wake.

WHITE NOISE!! A medium-loud fan runs in their room and makes all the difference in covering noises from each other, and noises from the baby in the room next door. Highly recommend when room-sharing!!

Ikaika and Laura said...

Our 3 boys, 5,4 and 3 have shared a room since their little sister, 1 was able to stand in her pack n play in our room and we had to move her out. With our older 2, we found that once one was asleep then the other would quickly fall asleep as well, but if both were awake they would play/talk for hrs (the 4&5 yr olds share a bed as well). We had 2 solutions, one of us would sit in the room until the first fell asleep and then leave (not.ideal) or stagger their sleeping times (this can be hard if the first one down takes a long time to fall asleep). Now with all 3 of them in there we had to figure something else out, they know if the talking and playing gets out of hand, we will move one of them into our room to fall asleep (they dont like to go to sleep alone anymore.so this is a consequence not reward). It has helped somewhat, we also pit a sound machine in their room to help if one wakes in the night or for the youngest when the older.2 get up early for school. Dont know what we are gonna do when #5 comes next month, we will soon have 4 boys that have to share a room, yikes!! I am thankful you posted this, maybe we will get some tips to help us out!!

Smasher said...

As a Father now of 5 boys and two girls, my partner and I have had to share the sleeps routine - Our boys are all two years apart thankfully so we stagger the bed time routine. My boys all sleep in bunk beds apart from th eldest who is now in his very own room, but that has two spare single beds in it, If you have the room I would suggest sending the youngest to bed first in the spare room, and wait for him to fall asleep and repeat the routine moving the next youngest in while moving the previous earlier child out into his proper bed - repeating this routine until all the children are a sleep in there appropriate beds - it worked for us !

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Claudia said...

Put it in the Lords hands and trust him to guide you and your girls. I prayed and still pray that all goes well. My son 4 and daughter 15 month old have fun and we have are rough moments but it's nice seeing them bond. I pray that the Holy Spirit fills their hearts and understand to respect each others sleep. We direct them and place rules but kids will be kids and at the end of the day its in Gods hands to give them understanding and peace:)
Thins will go well. Go cold turkey it will take a three days for the excitement to fizzle down set the rules and you have a great foundation so all will well. It's actually easier to have them share rooms and it will be fun! Have the camera ready!

happymommy said...

I have a 20 month old and a baby due in 6 weeks. They will share a room once the baby is 8 weeks... My big question is how do you handle sleep training and Cry it out method with them both sharing a room? Please help...

als said...

happymommy--personally, I wouldn't expect sharing + cry-it-out to work well! We have 5 people in 2 rooms. Two boys sharing one room, and the infant in our room, and we put up a curtain between the crib and our bed before the baby is old enough to notice us. We also run a fan to block each other's small noises. We kept our 2nd son in our room this way until he was 2 and needed to move in with his brother to make room for the new baby. Now our infant is in our room, and if there is any crying at nap or night time, *we* get woken up by it, but not the other kids. In my opinion, it's not reasonable to risk the big kids' healthy sleep until the baby's sleep is good enough that an interruption or cry is a rarity. We the parents, on the other hand, don't like losing sleep either, but we have the maturity to deal with it. Admittedly, it's hard to listen to crying right across the room from us sometimes and choose not to respond. But it can be done, it's temporary, and it's the price we pay for living in an expensive housing market and not having a room for everyone ;)

happymommy said...

ALS... Thank you for your input. I think your right that as adults we can cope much better than our little ones with loss of sleep...so we may just keep baby #2 in our room until she sleeps through the night. I appreciate your response, thank you!

Aubrey Jane said...

This is great! I have been reading all of the comments and would love to hear more. My 24 month old is a great sleeper and sleeps in one of our two bedrooms. We have a 6 week old sleeping in our room and I have been debating when the best time to have them share a room will be. I like hearing other people's experiences and gathering ideas from those who have been through it before! Thanks!

Shannon said...

My girls (ages 3 and almost 6) have been sharing a room for about a month. Luckily the room is large and L-shaped. I also put a curtain separating the room so they can't see each other from their beds. Although they have gotten out of their beds a few times at night to "visit". Our consequence for getting out of bed and/or bothering their sister is they lose one of their blankies. That is a good currency for them most of the time. There have been a few nights that both girls lost both their blankies and their pillows, but definitely the exception. I agree with giving it time. They were great at first and then had a night or two of acting up (I think they realized they could) and then settled back down again. Sometimes I have to go in and remind them to quiet down but for the most part it has been pretty smooth. For bedtime, most nights their bedtimes are staggered by 30 minutes. This works the best for us. DD1 is in kindergarten so not home during DD2's nap so there is not a conflict during the week. On weekends when DD1 is going to nap, they usually go down at the same time and it works out fine. If DD1 is going to rest on the weekends I have her do it on my bed. The transition went much better than I expected :)

Rachel Stella said...

My boys dont share a room but Joshua has shared one several times for weeks at a time with his cousins.

Unless they are dead tired it works best for us to stagger bedtime a little but. My friend has three young kids share a bedroom and she puts them to bed at the same time and leaves the light dim. After 30 minutes she turns off the light and there is no more talking. This helps them get all their talking out before the actual bedtime.

Angela Van Dellen said...

My kids have shared a room ever since my son was born (my daughter was 15 months old at that time). Now that they are 20 months and 5 months old, they are going to bed at the same time (8 PM) and waking up at the same time (6:30 PM). My biggest tip would be a sound machine. We have one that also has a mobile projector that projects different images on the ceiling. We keep the sound on "rainfall." This helps mask any noise that one of the kids may make during the nite, and also allows me to better sneak in there to help one or the other.

Plowmanators said...

Thank you all so much for your tips! I am taking careful note of them.

Plowmanators said...

HappyMommy, I think ALS gave you great advice. An idea for you is ti get creative with what can be a room for a baby to sleep in. I had a friend who had her baby in their large walk-in closet at night for a while. We once used a large bathroom. I don't know if either of those would work for you, but if so, it could be a good option :)

Plowmanators said...

Unknown, since you use a room for a "time-out" situation, I would have one still go to the room and the other have a different place. Your room could work or somewhere else in the house they can be to themselves and cool down.

Stephanie Rawlins said...

Great advice! We have three sharing a room (5y, 3.5y, 22 months) since we moved the littlest into the big kid's room three months ago. Naps are staggered, and sometimes one sleeps in our bed if the others are not asleep yet. Nighttime can get rowdy, but it has been sweet to listen to my 3.5 yr old son sing lullabies to his little sister :) It has really strengthened their relationships.

Inga Masek said...

Hi. I'm not sure how old these posts are but I'll give it a shot.
My three and a half year old and 22 month old share a room. They've been sharing for almost 4 months. They used to be pretty good sleepers, especially the 22 month old. BUT now they consistently and purposely wake each other up. The 3 yr old is in a toddler bed and we put the 22 month back in his crib, but to no avail. We've tried everything. Even when we stagger bedtimes, the 3 yr old will go to the toddler's crib and call his name, tickle him, throw toys in his crib, anything to wake him. If they're both sleeping and one wakes early they will do whatever it takes to wake the other. We've tried Everything from rewards to threats to everything in between. Nothing has worked consistently! Now that we have a newborn in the house, I can't handle being up with her all night only to deal with them once I do get her to sleep. Please for some advice- them not sharing a room is not an option since we only have 3 bedrooms. My husband got so frustrated tonight, put the preschooler in our bed, but we know that can't be a long term solution and not a habit we want to start. HELP!!

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