by Christina Fox
To share or not to share? This is a question many parents debate when considering whether or not to have their children share a room. Our two boys started out life in their own rooms, but it soon became apparent that we needed to free up our third bedroom. (And honestly, we wanted my mother-in-law to come and stay more often to help out with the kids!)
When my youngest was about twenty months old and my oldest about three and a half, we put them in the same room. I was anxious about the decision, because after all, I had worked so hard to get them into a good sleeping schedule. What if sharing a room ruined all that? What if they kept each other up all night? More importantly, what if they kept me up all night?
It wasn’t a perfect transition but we survived. We have learned a few lessons along the way that I’d like to share for those considering having their children share a room.
- We kept a monitor in the room for a while so we would know if they were up to any antics when they were supposed to be sleeping. Once they adjusted to the idea of sharing a room, we removed it.
- We put them to bed at separate times, and still do. It’s become part of the routine that they are used to. I put the youngest to bed first. I read to him, snuggle with him, and say prayers together. Then I leave and sit in my room with my oldest and read to him. By the time I am done, the youngest has settled in and is almost asleep. We found that putting them to bed at the same time made for two very hyper boys.
- Having them share a room has helped my oldest son’s fear of the dark. Until he shared a room, he had trouble going to sleep at night because of his fears. We pointed out to him that in sharing a room, he wouldn’t be alone at night. Ever since then, he has no longer voiced those fears.
- Sometimes, the boys do have trouble falling asleep and keep each other up. We give them a couple of warnings and then remove one to lie down in another room until the other falls asleep and then we return him to their room.
- My boys always have a quiet activity to do in bed as they wind down to sleep. No talking is allowed. They each have their own flashlight and a pile of books to look at. They can also draw in a spiral notebook with a pencil. My oldest also has Sudoku or other puzzle books to do in his bed.
In times past, it was normal and expected for siblings to share a room. These days it seems we do it out of necessity. Whether it’s a decision born out of need or want, having children share a room can work out well for all. The most important thing is to find ways to help your kids get to sleep without too many battles. Because if you are anything like me, there’s nothing better than a good night’s sleep!