For the last 6 months my two daughters (2 and 4 years old) have been sharing a room and I really couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. It was a big transition for my 2 year old, because not only was she changing rooms to move in with her big sis, but she was also transitioning out a crib into a “big girl bed.” So I knew I had my work cut out for me with the whole process.
Again, overall I have been REALLY HAPPY with them sharing a room but here’s a quick warning—from my experience, the first week was definitely a transition (It was rough at times.)
From what I’ve learned, here are a couple of TIPS & THOUGHTS about room sharing—
Teaching your kids to stay in bed is a must. Especially when transitioning your child from a crib to a bed (this topic could be a whole different post.) This requires good listening skills from your little one. Both of my girls learned (not perfectly) to stay in bed through the night and into the morning and to call for us when they woke up. That meant they weren’t playing in their rooms after it was bedtime, jumping on each other’s beds or dangerously walking around the house in the middle of the night.
Put your kids to bed at different times. I did some research online to prepare myself for room sharing and this was a big tip that has come in handy. With the excitement of having a new roommate, I quickly realized that my girls went to sleep a lot quicker and quieter when they went to bed at separate times. In our house, my oldest daughter (who no longer naps) goes to bed first and usually is out like a light in 10 minutes. Then, about 20 minutes later our middle daughter (who still takes a long nap during the day) goes to bed. She takes a little bit longer to fall asleep and does some tossing and turning. This system has really worked well for us. One is basically asleep before the other goes to bed.
To begin with, clear the room of any toys or distractions. This tip is mainly for kids who are transitioning from a crib to a bed. However, when my girls started sharing a room—this tip was two-fold. I cleared out all of the toys from the room so my 2-year-old would understand her new room was most importantly for sleeping, not playing. (I wanted to eliminate any reason or desire for her to get out of bed.) The second reason I cleared out the toys was so my oldest daughter wouldn’t be tempted to play or “share” her toys while her younger sister was learning the ropes. Gradually we have started to add a few toys back into the room, now that my girls know the rules.
Teach your kids about the quiet voice. When one of my daughters is sleeping and the other is awake, its been crucial to teach them to talk/call for me quietly (especially in the morning.) Again, this hasn’t been perfect, but overall we have been able to remind them to “SHHHHHHHH” or be quiet when they wake up and thankfully they have done a nice job with it. My 2 year old is super cute, because every night while we are putting her to bed and while her big sis is already asleep she says “SHHHHHHH, Macey is sleeping Mommy.”
Praise and congratulate them. After a really great night that was quiet and where everyone stayed in bed, we made a big deal about it. Especially for our 2-year-old who was learning how to sleep in a big girl bed. My kids love being praised (like I’m sure most kids do) and really loved the cheering or hugs they got in the morning.
(I had to stop these two sweaty monsters from playing their “Sven game” (reindeer from Frozen) aka…pulling each other around the house to take this pic. They couldn’t stop giggling.)
(Pardon the unmade beds and lack of decor—I’ll get around to it. Maybe, one day.)
Today, I’m glad my girls share a room for 3 reasons:
- They are more flexible. Especially when we travel or have to spend the night in one room together—my girls are pros.
- I have more space. I have an extra room for guests—which is really nice since we live far from family. When they come to visit they have their own space for multiple days without having to navigate around my toddlers.
- My girls bond more. It’s been really cute to watch my girls be there for each other. They laugh a lot together, have learned to share a lot more and ultimately spend more time together—which I think is a good thing.
If you are thinking about taking the room sharing plunge with your little ones—I’d say do it!