Siblings Sharing a Bedroom

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Young Siblings Sharing a Room

Kids, 2 and 3, sharing a bed

Aug 2010

We've recently started putting our kids (a 3 1/2 year old boy and 20 month girl) to sleep in the same double bed in their room. When I check on them, they have plenty room between them and seem to be sleeping well. We didn't really plan to do it this just sort of naturally happened and seems to be going well for the kids (and for us, the parents). I just wondered if anyone wanted to weigh in with their experiences of kids sharing a bed, like How long did you do it? Anything negative about this sleep situation that we should consider? anonymous

I think that it's great that your kids are sharing a bed. They will sleep better, feel more secure, and be closer when they get older. My kids, two years apart, old boy and younger girl, shared a bed until my son was 10 (I think). There were two beds in the room and he start sleeping on the other bed on and off until they were sleeping apart. Then in 6th grade, my daughter wanted her own room which was fine with me. The kids are now both in high school and very close and get along extremely well. Keep doing what you're doing!
Our two boys, 2 years apart in age, decided on their own to share a bed off and on between the ages of 5 - 10. They have always been very close. They slept in the bottom half (full size mattress) of a bunk bed. The top half was available to them, as was another bed room, which was decorated per the guidance of the younger boy. They eventually stopped sleeping together. But they still remain close. Mom of two
So sweet! I think as long as they can choose to sleep alone if they don't like it anymore, there is no problem. It could go on for years. anon

1-yo and 5-yo siblings sharing room

Feb 2010

My boys just started sharing a room. The 1 yo sleeps in the crib and my 5 yo sleeps in a bed. Both are very good sleepers -- they sleep solidly through the night. Our problem occurs in the morning. While my older son can sleep until 7-8am, the baby wakes up anytime from 5:30-6am and has been waking up his brother. Once my 5 yo hears the baby arouse, moan then cry (to be picked up), he's wide awake and won't go back to sleep.

My question is - Should I hold off on having them share a room until the 1 yo gets older and sleeps a little later? Or should I let my older son get used to his brother crying and figure out that he can still fall back asleep? I still have the option to separate them but I'd prefer that they get used to sharing a room now that the baby is older, and since it'll be that way in the future. It's only been a few days and I believe my older son is still excited about sleeping with his baby brother. I don't think he's been affected by the early wake up times just yet (we just make sure he goes to sleep early that night to make up for it), but I'm afraid if his brother keeps waking him up at 6 in the morning, not only will it cheat him of an hour more sleep, but it'll start affecting him at kindergarten. Has any other family been in a similar situation? I'd love to hear your thoughts and advice. I've read all past posts and none of them address my specific problem of early morning riser vs. later riser. Hold Off or Hold On

What about putting a monitor in there, turning it up in your room, and then racing in to whisk the baby out as soon as he rouses, before he gets loud enough to fully wake his brother? Just a thought. Good luck! anon

Quiet alone time in a shared bedroom?

Nov 2008

My girls, 4 and 6, share a bedroom. When they are fighting, or even when one or the other of them is in a grumpy mood, I like to be able to encourage them to take some time by themselves, usually in their room. How do I allow them to take this time, yet respect that it is also the room of the OTHER child? It feels unfair to ask either of them to leave their own room, yet there are times when they need this quiet private time. We have a small apartment so there aren't a lot of options. thoughts? mama mia

Honestly, if they really need to be alone, the bathroom is a decent option. At that age a separate room is NOT necessary. I shared a room with my twin sister from birth and we only began to really need our own space around age 13. They just have to learn to be considerate of each other - and that is a very desirable skill for them to have! Shared a bedroom for 13 years
How about a play tent or bed tent? Each child could have her own, or you could set up just one in the living room for the use of whoever needs some private time. Holly

2 y.o. climber & 4 y.o. sharing a room

Sept 2008

We moved in w/ my in-laws about a month ago (my husband's in school) and now our kids have to share a room for the first time. In this transition, my 2 y.o. started climbing out of the crib and crawling into her 4 y.o. brother's bed to poke him & whisper ''wake up.'' My son does not like this and complains that he doesn't want to sleep with his sister, nor does he like having her poke at his head while he's asleep. So, I've resorted to sitting in the room to ''guard'' his sleep & to make sure she doesn't climb out, which she does the moment I leave the room. So, I have to wait until she's asleep, which has been taking longer & longer (90 min!). Bedtime has shifted from our strict 8PM back at our old home to 9:30PM namely b/c my 2 y.o. will NOT go to sleep. We don't have another room to separate them, so I don't know what to do. The worst part of this is that even though she goes down at 9:30, they end up waking each other up in the morning around 6AM. (All those messages about kids not waking each other up is untrue in our family--they certainly wake each other up EVERY TIME if we don't pull out the crying one within a minute!) They're both overtired, esp. my 4 y.o. who goes to preschool, and my son now keeps getting bloody noses from being tired (which, of course, happens in the middle of the night & wakes up the 2 y.o. not to mention the rest of the house)! I am considering getting a crib tent to lock her in & begin the Cry-It-Out, but I also believe that she's ready for a bed, but am afraid that getting a bed will only exacerbate the problem. The crib tent seems like it'll just be a bandaid solution. Please, does anyone have any advice?! I didn't find much on this climbing out + shared room problem on BPN. Julie

Put them to sleep in different bedrooms (one in theirs and one in yours) and then move the child in your room to the other room as soon as asleep. Also, drop the nap for the younger. Sounds like she is done with it if she can stay up until 9:30 at night regularly.

We had to move into a one bedroom situation when our girls were 20-months and 44-months and they lived that way for the next nine months. It took a few months for the situation to settle down. They got used to it and slept through each others noise. I was finally able to have them fall asleep in the same room (went to bunk beds when the elder was four) without problem. -anon

Can you put the 2 year old to bed with the older one? Like both in the same bed? Sounds like the 2 year old is ready to move. I know it's unconventional here, but our two sleep together in a full size bed (they are 3.5 yrs and 20 months). Sure, they stay up playing for awhile, sometimes the little one gets up, but we just go in, say no, tuck them in, and walk out. It's great! They are really cute; they tend to fall asleep back to back. They wake up a bit earlier due to the little one waking his older siseter but are not allowed to get out of their room until we get them. Shared a room as a kid..and loved it!

2yo and 4yo are keeping each other awake

Dec 2007

I recently moved my 2 yr old into my 4 yr old's BR. We will be moving to a smaller house soon and I wanted one less stressor when we got there so I did it now. We talked about it for several days before I actually did it. The 2 yr old is still in her crib so she is contained. My 4 yr old previously had a good routine and used to be asleep by 8:30 or 9, the little one would ''talk'' with her animals until around 10 before drifting off. Now, if they aren't crying, they are playing - until at least 11:00!! At bedtime, I read several of their favorites, we say our prayers and ''kiss-kiss'' goodnight, then I leave....until/unless it gets out of control, then I poke my head back in and say firmly, ''goodnight''. Last night, my older one pulled every last thing out (toys, books, clothes)--looks like a tornado hit the room. She must be rebelling. I know she is not happy that the little one won't just lay down and go to sleep when she is ''supposed'' to. Even with no naps, they are still up! I feel so guilty - I thought it was the right thing to do and maybe it is, but wow, it sure doesn't seem like it right now. HELP!! Is this just a phase? How long before they adjust? How shall I handle things? ANY and ALL advice is welcome!!! Household needs some peace

Our two kids share a room and we put the younger one to bed first. The older one doesn't go in until the younger is already asleep, so that they don't chat with each other. We've also hung a curtain between their two beds so that they don't see each other when they wake up and immediately start bugging each other. good luck
Hi. I remember this! We have 3 kids, now 14, 10 and 8, and while they each have their own bedrooms now, for many years, they all slept together (in our last house, they were all in an 8'x10' bedroom!). With the age differences it can be hard - the younger ones need to get to sleep much sooner, but the older ones can cause more drama, etc. Here's what we did. Ikea has these great beds that can turn into either high or low loft beds, bunk beds, etc. (now they all have various heights of their own loft beds). The oldest was in a high loft bed with his dresser and desk underneath and fabric all around that he could close off for privacy whenever he wanted. The middle gal was in the top bunk, and the youngest, by far the wildest in our family, was in the bottom bunk. We started the youngest in the bottom bunk right around 2 years with those removable side panels. The nighttime routine consisted of lights out after one of us reading a good story - we did a lot of greek myths so that everybody was engaged - and then I sang a few songs (they each got to pick one) and then we plugged in a lovely bedtime music cd, all quiet classical piano, that even now they each have a copy of in their own rooms. After listening to it many, many times as they go to sleep, the very act of listening to it now truly puts them to sleep. We even use it during late night road trips and they fall asleep immediately!

When they first began to share one room, one of us would have to sit quietly in the room, often at the foot of the little one's bed, to ensure that things remained calm, but soon they were all pretty well trained to only use a whisper voice once lights were out.

By the time my oldest was 11, it was clear that sharing a bedroom with his younger siblings wasn't so fun anymore, but my youngest still misses sharing a room with his brother and sister, especially at nighttime, and not bc of the wild nights, but bc of the sweet feeling that they were all together.

I encourage you to try a few new routines that are calming, and don't be surprised if you have to engage yourself with their bedtime for a little while longer, but it will smooth out and then you'll be set once you move. Good luck! Julia

Sleeping problems - kids share a room

Aug 2006

I have an almost 4 yr old and a 21 mo old. They share a room. We have taken to putting them down at the same time (around 8) and just deal with the fact that they talk for an hour. We have going to bed problems and middle of the night pblms. The going to bed pblms involve the talking and the 4 yr old gets up A LOT. Finally they settle down (btwn 9-10pm) but the little one will wake up, usually between 12-2am and scream until she gets her ''mommy'' and gets to be in bed with my partner. this usually wakes up the older one, who then insists that I sleep with her. I'm not sure how to intervene, as we can't really let the little one cry it out given the older one is there, and I'm not sure we'd do that/that'd work anyway. Where to start? Thanks for any thoughts, advice. I feel that if they each had their own room it'd be much easier and that isn't an option anonymous

I feel your pain - it's hard to solve sleeping problems when kids share a room, and it seems like most of the advice you get about sleeping problems is very difficult to implement with two in the same room.

We just went through ''bed time boot camp'' with our four year old and two year old. We started on a Friday night, so we would have a whole weekend to work on it before the chaos of the regular school/work schedule descended. (A long weekend would probably be even better). We purposefully scheduled absolutely no activities for anyone after 5 p.m. every day - no friends over for dinner, no going out, no late playdates. Both parents committed to doing absolutely nothing but focusing on bed from 6 pm to 9 pm - no one person checking e-mail or doing dishes while the other reads the stories as our usual. I bought Weissbluth and studied up. We talked through it ahead of time with our kids - bedtime rules are lay down, close eyes, be quiet, stay in your bed and go to sleep. (that's to deal with the talking for an hour, and we had getting out of bed problems too). Set a bedtime (for us all done and lights out - no books in bed, etc. - by 8:30. Sticker rewards in the a.m. for following all the rules, three stickers wins you a trip for an ice cream cone. Can't say it's perfect now after about five days of ''boot camp'' and two weeks of less intense but still focused bedtime attention, but it's much, much better. If this doesn't also lick the middle of the night problem, you might have to tackle that separately. Can the adults crash on the sofa or guest bed for two or three nights so you can put them to sleep in separate rooms and administer tough love on the little one without waking the bigger one? Good luck! Need my sleep, too

Oh - I hear you. We went through the same thing with our 4 yr old and 2 yr old when the youngest decided he was done with the crib and moved to a big boy bed (they've always slept in the same room). I can say that 5 months later, they both fall asleep nicely by 8:45 - but it took 5 months.

A few things I tried:
- incented big brother to 'help' his little brother fall asleep. we started a star chart and when he got to 5 he gets a sweet treat. The 'help' was to lay in bed quietly and not engage the little one by playing, jumping on beds, talking, etc. If the older one stays quietly in bed, the little one gets bored and falls asleep
- reading special stories to each one. the little one gets toddler books and the older one gets his big boy stories
- letting the little one cry it out when he cried at night. I'd take the older sleeping one into my bed when it happened and let the little one fuss it out. it only took a few nights then they slept peacefully together.
- when the playing/staying up got really bad, I'd take the older one into my bed and he'd fall asleep there. I basically had to separate them on 'bad' nights. Some nights I'd even take the little one to my bed for him to fall asleep. Then I'd always switch them back to their beds after they fell asleep so they'd wake/sleep in their regular beds/room.

Throughout all this adjustment, I stuck to the same bedtime routine. It took awhile, but finally worked out. Really the magic trick was to be consistent and separate them when things went awry. Good luck! Julie

First, I have to recommend the book The Baby Whisperer. Our kids too share a room and we had fears of suffering what you are going through, but fortunately for us it never came to pass. Here's what I would do differently. I would not do anything that

I'm not willing to do night after night for months or years like let them sleep outside their beds or separate you and your partner. If the baby wakes up for mommy, she can have anything but. send daddy in, with a bottle maybe. don't take her out of the crib. Let her stand, hug her while standing beside the crib. the Baby Whisperer advises that you put her down each time she stands up. I've found that letting her stand on her own while I rub her back until she lies down of her own accord is better. Of course the other child will wake up (although I've been amazed sometime at what our son will sleep through) - here mommy may be able to help settle her back down. Apologize to her for the disruption, explain that this will pass and that we all just need to be patient while baby gets through this stage. I might also tell her at bedtime how things will be different - if baby wakes up tonight - she will not be removed from the room, etc, etc. You may try to arrange the room so that they cannot see each others beds clearly so that baby doesn't have to watch mommy comforting the other child.

Whatever approach you use, you should try it for a week because the moment you change the routine they will raise bloody hell the first night, less hell the second and then it will get better. Stay calm and prepare to be (more) sleep deprived in the short term for your longer-term gain good luck

Our children have always had to share a room, and it certainly was difficult when they were the ages yours are. One thing that helped us, tiring though it was, was not to bring any (weaned) child who had awakened into our own bed. Even if it was exhausting to spend 30 minutes sitting on the floor beside the children's beds to get them back to sleep, it paid off in the long run because they no longer come into our room at night unless there's a true problem. Now that they are older, they sometimes climb into each others' beds when they are frightened, but at least that doesn't leave the two of us wiped out at work the next day Sleeping better these days
We have 2 daughters who also share a room. Similar problems have occured and we've dealt with it by ''starting'' the older one in our bed and then transfering her to her own bed once the younger child is asleep. It's worked fine for us so far. anonymous
Firstly, if the 21mo is still in a crib, move her into a regular bed. That way, when she wakes in the middle of the night, she can come to you rather than screaming for you to come get her! That way she won't always wake up her older sister in the process -- and she may not wake anyone else either. When we moved our older child to a bed at about 26 months, I (finally) started sleeping through the night, even though he didn't! He would just come quietly into our room, snuggle up next to me and go back to sleep without waking me. I wished we'd made the switch a LOT earlier (and indeed, our second child never slept in a crib at all).

Secondly, consider putting the younger child's bed in YOUR room. That's how we've arranged things with our kids, now 5 and 2, and it works pretty well. It does have the drawback that we can't move freely around our bedroom or turn on lots of lights in there after our daughter is asleep, but space-wise it's the best fit, and talking or other interaction between the kids is not a regular bedtime problem. (Usually, one parent puts one child to bed while the other parent gets the other child down.) Plus, when the younger one does wake up and need to come into mom's bed (typically not until early morning now), she doesn't have to go even so far as the next room so it's very quiet and fuss-free. Good luck! Sleeping Through

Bedtime disruptions for 2 and 4 year old sharing room

March 2006

We have two boys, 4 and 2. They have shared the same room since birth. Recently the 2 yr old started pulling ninja moves and leaping out of his crib. So instead of using a crib tent (my idea) we decided to bite the bullet and go for a big boy bed (my husband's idea). Our 2 yr old is barely 2 - he can't even talk yet.

Well, 2 weeks later we're still trying to get our normal bedtime routine back. We used to do stories at 8, and beddie bye by 8:15-8:30 with no fuss from either. Now the 2 yr old runs around like a maniac until at least 9. His older brother would happily sleep, but can't because the little one is jumping all over.

So we're all getting frustrated. I don't know how to get the little one to calm down and lay/stay in his bed. Will it eventually work?? Is the little one too young? I am desperate to put his crib back together and get the crib tent. My husband and I are not getting any time together at night as we both fall asleep right after the kids. Our together time (previously 8- 9:30) is gone. I want to stay committed to this because the 2 yr old eventually has to go to a big bed anyway. But I need some hope that this will end and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Help! tired in berkeley

Start earlier (no toddler needs to be up past 7:30-8:00pm, they need 11-12 hours of sleep each night!)and stick with a routine that doesn't change.

After dinner, there is a relaxing warm bath, keep the toys and splashing to a minimum. Right into jammies and a family story time (each child picks a book). Then, to bed by 7pm-7:30pm. Toddler comes out of room, he goes right back in, no conversation, just a ''goodnight''. Then the parent leaves the bedroom. Repeat until both children are asleep. Should be less and less effort each night. This method has worked for me (nanny to 2 girls in the '80's and now to a 6 year old) and I was surprised to find that it is also used by one of the tv nannies! Try it, and good luck! Not on tv but I know what works~

We have four kids, the youngest are 2 & 4, similar to yours. When my dh is home, he reads and rubs the back of our 4 yr old until he's asleep, while I rock the 2 yr old. When dh works late, I lay between both boys until they are asleep (it takes maybe 20 minutes and is the sweetest part of the day, this power to end the day happily and cozily). I don't think it is reasonable to expect your 2 yr old to lay quietly and put himself to bed, especially now that he has this cool new bed and a newfound freedom to explore while big brother is sleeping. You can try the crib tent but now that he's used to roaming he may protest loudly (who could blame him, now he knows what he's being deprived of). You could create a peaceful routine of quieting the house down, reading stories, and snuggling until he's asleep, and still have an hour of couple time. shannon
I have the same exact situation with two boys aged 2 and 4 who share the same room. When we moved our 2 year old to a bed (because he could already climb into his crib and we figured it was just a matter of time before he jumped out), he quickly figured out that it was really fun to get out of bed. We have two tactics, mine and my husbands, both with the same underlying message: It is bedtime and under no circumstances will he get out of going to bed. No more fun time, just bed. So if my husband puts him to bed, he used the fear tactic, i.e. he ordered my son to stay in bed. His voice is sufficiently scary that my son understands that there is no getting out of it. I do not have a scary voice, so I just use peserverence. He gets out of bed. I grab him and put him back in and tell him he has to sleep (no songs no cuddles, just put him back and leave the room. Repeat, 20 to 50 times if necessary. After a while, he gets bored, realizes he is getting nowhere, and stays in bed. If this doesn't work or I am getting sick of it, then I tell him that if he doesn't stay in bed, I will close the door. He leaps out of bed, so I put him back in bed and close the door for one minute. He screams. Open it and tell him to get back in bed or I will close the door again. This is usally extremely effective and I rarely have to repeat more than once. Basically, you have to send the signal to the child that you mean what you say, in whatever manner you feel comfortable. Remember, you are the adult and you are in control.

With my older son, I apologize for the noise and closing the door, and I explain to him that his brother is a baby and we have to teach him. And I thank him for his understanding and praise his good bed habits. He is usually very cooperative and falls asleep without fuss, even with the 2nd leaping out of bed.

After about a month of fussing, my second son rarely acts up and we have a calm sleep routine again. Good luck and be firm. Remember, if he cries and screams, it is NOT because he is hurting or are even particularly upset. He is using his repetoire of tools to see where the boundaries lay and whether he can win the bedtime fight. Make sure that YOU win!

Since your smaller son can't seem to manage the freedom that a big bed represents, I'd return him to his crib. When he's ready to manage the larger bed and not be overtaken with excitement by the freedom it offers, he'll go to sleep without so much effort. I would return to the older system, allowing your older son to get his sleep and you and your husband to have a little bit of down time at the end of the long day. It's only temporary, and worth the effort of setting the crib back up. Once again, I'm reminded about trusting those great parental instincts. That's what they're there for. Sweet dreams

Siblings Sharing a Bed?

September 2003

I am considering having my 3 year old and 1 year old share the same bed sometime down the road. And I was wondering if anyone else out there has had any experience with this - pro's, con's, at what age would you consider it safe. Thanks. patricia

We did the family bed with both of our children, and though our firstborn moved out quickly and easily when he was a toddler, our second child was really needy at night and terrified about sleeping on her own. So, when she was about 2 1/2, we started putting her to bed with her big brother, who was 5 at the time (and who, fortunately, had a hand-me-down queen-size bed). It made the bedtime routine much easier, since we could read stories to them both at the same time, and our younger child felt much more secure sleeping with her brother than she would have being put to bed on her own. Our son enjoyed it, too, and took pride in ''taking care of'' his little sister when she needed attention after lights out. Three years later, they still sleep together, and both love it (most of the time) -- we hear them whispering and giggling in there, and sometimes our son takes over reading the bedtime story out loud if we're really beat. Sadly, I think we'll need to move our daughter into her own bed pretty soon, as her brother is starting to want his own space and I can envision questions of propriety coming up before too long. I'm eager to read what other parents of bed-sharing siblings have to say about this! Anonymous
My sons, ages 4 and 8 years old, share a double bed. They have been sharing a room for about 2 years. They started off in separate beds: the youngest in a crib; then transitioned to 2 separate beds and only recently have they routinely shared the bed. I think only recently would the older child ALLOW the younger to regularly sleep in his bed. Before that, it was on a ''permission requested'' status only. I believe they will continue to share the bed, as they both have nighttime fears and this seems to help them both. It is difficult at times for me, because they have separate bedtimes, and the older likes to wake the younger when he goes to bed. However, I am actually thinking of getting rid of one bed for now, for more floor space, until they request separate beds. eve

Remodeling: should we add another bedroom for future sib?

Nov 2002

We are starting to do some remodeling and one of the questions is whether we should add enough space for two rooms (or divide the available space) for kids. We only have one child (girl) now, but I expect that we'll eventually have two.

My husband shared a room with at least one brother until college, I am an only child who always had her own room. We both think it would be fine to have two daughters share a room, but are wondering at what age would we want to separate a boy and a girl into their own space?

And a further question: is it important to have the kids' room (s) on the same floor as a bathroom? I have visions of our now 6 month old as a toddler, needing to go to the bathroom at night and either falling down the stairs, or giving herself a bladder infection by holding it in in fear of the dark stairs.

Any advice would be appreciated. Remodeling Mom

As long as you're going through the trouble and expense of remodeling you might as well add the extra room....if it ends up that your future 2 girls share a room forever, fine, you'll have an extra room that will certainly find a purpose. If you have another boy, at some point they will want separate rooms. My 2 boys shared a room till the older one was 10 and then he started asking for his own room. We have one spare room which he now sleeps in though his clothes and stuff is in the other bigger room...someday we hope to remodel and have that extra room or two. My advice....go for it. Good luck surviving a remodel. I hear you'll need it. cramped mom
If you have the space, go for the extra bedroom. My oldest two are boys who didn't get along until the oldest left for college! They shared a room for the first half of their childhood and had their own rooms the second half. Much better if they have their own space, even if it's tiny. I hope yours are great pals and get along together well, but if they don't, your entire family will be grateful for the separate rooms. Ginger
I think if you can fit two rooms in, you should. It gives you more options later. Even if you wind up with siblings who want to share a room, they can share one bedroom and one playroom/study. As for the bathroom, well, *I* wouldn't want to have to climb stairs in the middle of the night, so given the option I wouldn't want my children to have to do so either. But these things never seem to come out perfectly, so only you can decide whether having bedrooms without a same-floor bathroom is acceptable given whatever space challenges you have. Holly

3rd child in a 2 bedroom condo

Oct 2002

We are presently a family of 2 adults plus a 3 year old and a 1 year old and I just found out I am pregnant. We cannot afford a home in the Bay Area so we bought a 2 bedroom condo before our 1 year old was born. I feel we are going to get funny looks from other condo owners and I don't feel this is an ideal situation, but I'm too stressed to move and we love the Bay Area. I'm sure this situation will work itself out, but any suggestions?? Thanks!!!

I have three sons 16, 13 and 9. We're in a two bedroom house in Albany and due to financial setbacks I never could add on. I'm amazed at how my children have managed to carve out space for themselves. I always had their toys in the living room because I wanted them near me. So their room is for sleeping and dressing. The oldest does his homework there, too. He puts on his CD player and he has his own world. He reads a lot in his bed. The other two have desks in the living room.

It's really worked out alright, I'd say they are closer emotionally than if they had their own rooms.

One strange thing is that they fear being alone much longer than I think is usual. But the 13 and 16 year old are fine.

One day I overheard a conversation my sons were having about big houses -- ''In some of the houses the kids don't even SEE each other,'' my son said.

So my experience has been that you can define their own space -- their own book shelves, toy shelves...It's cozy, too. Cornelia

We have a three bedroom house with four kids. We manage to fit. When the children were younger we were all within two of the bedrooms. All of our babies slept with us until they were almost three and the kids of opposite sex shared rooms until they were about seven years old. You will manage to fit within your space. It might become more difficult when the children are older. But you have many years to figure it out before it should really be a problem. Susan

Twins with Different Sleep Patterns

From: Grant & Heidi

I have three year old twin girls. One is a very good sleeper and goes down very easy. the othe fights going to sleep at night, is afraid of the dark, continually gets out of bed, experiences night terrors and will get up in the middle of the night and scream for no appearent reason. When the latter happens, we can usually pick her up and she'll got right back to sleep. I also have another daughter that is 5 and also a very good sleeper. We have considered putting the two that sleep well together and give our difficult sleeper her own room. The twins do not seem to want this so how do we deal with the problem sleeper. We are worried that the other child is not getting the proper sleep and may be learning bad sleeping habits.

From: Elizabeth

I can't really tell from your message where your twins are now sleeping in relation to each other, but maybe if you put both of them in the same bed, like a futon mattress on the floor, things might get better. The presence of the good sleeper can help the problem sleeper. Good Luck!

One and Five year Olds Sharing a Room

Sept 2000

I have a 5 year old and one year old--both boys. My older son has a bunk bed in his room that we bought with the intention that the boys would eventually share a room. My younger son is sleeping in what we still try to use as an office. However the only time we can do office work is when he is sleeping, and so we can't do it while he is napping in the office! One feeling I have is that 4 years age difference will make it difficult to manage certain issues-- if they are both sleeping in the same room--different bedtimes, choking hazards, time-outs. The other thought I have is that the office could also be a playroom and maybe we could all use the space , especially as our house is small and common areas are few. Yet as time goes by, my older son wants his little brother around less and less (I certainly sympathize with the problem of a grabby 1 year old). I have been debating this issue back and forth for several months. The youngest has slept thru the night for some months now, but does wake up about an hour earlier than the rest of the household. The other option is to carve out a corner of our bedroom for office space. I go back and forth on my arguments. I guess I'm wondering how it's worked out for others with children with at least a 4 year age difference in sharing a room. Thanks.

We also have 5 and 1 year old boys. We have a very large house, but I insist that they share a room. This has not been easy, but I feel strongly enough about the issue that we just keep working on it. At the beginning, our older son was insistent at having the baby in his room. We had to hold that off, but finally at around 8 months we moved them together. A few months later the older one was insistent that the baby not be in there, that he cries too much or what have you. (Of course he rarely wakes up when the baby cries.) We just tell him that that's where the beds are, and if he prefers he can sleep in a sleeping bag in our room. He has done that many nights. But it is much less of an issue now.

As to bedtimes, that's been tricky since they tend to have the same bedtime. We need to separate the boys or they won't calm down. So we each take one, alternating kids each night, and they each have their routine. The 16 month old is already stuck on his routine, so I would be careful what you decide to do because you will be hard-pressed to change it. The other hard part has been crying at night with teething. I don't let the baby cry for long because I don't want the older one to wake up. But then the baby gets into the habit of crying and sleeping with us. Anybody know how to handle this one? I just figure it will sort out in time. Good luck.

I also have two boys 4 years apart (currently almost 6 and almost 2), and they share a room. The most important thing we did to make this work was to convert the closet into a private space for my older son. We put a metal gate that has a door-like opener across the door (the younger one won't be strong enough to open it for a few more years yet.) For sleep, we have bunk beds, but the younger one still sleeps in a crib. What he wants most to do is sleep with his older brother in his bed, but the older one is ambivalent about this. Also the older one falls asleep much more quickly and the younger one carries on for awhile and bothers him. What we end up doing a lot is letting my older son fall asleep in our bed if the younger one is just too bothersome. Then we carry him back into his bed later.

2.5-year-old and 6-year-old Sharing a Room

Dec 2001

I read with interest the post of how one set of parents got their three year old to stay in bed and go to sleep. I have that same problem with my 2.5 year old son who kept climbing out of his crib and is now sleeping on a matress on the floor. We have the added complication that he shares a room with his 6 year old brother. The younger one refuses to go to bed without his brother and then they start jumping around and getting each other more pent up. They pay no attention to my telling them to stop or my walking out on them. At some point between 9:30 and 10:00!! the 6 year old gets fed up and goes into another room to sleep all the while complaining about how miserable bedtime is now. The 2 year old isn't falling asleep until 10:30 or later. Once our guest room frees up in two weeks (after the soon to arrive grandparents leave) I could move one boy into that room temporarily, but I want them to learn to go to sleep in the same room. I am beside myself. Please let me know how you solved this problem. Thanks Linda

Linda! Same scenario over here! Have you tried limiting or eliminating the younger kid's nap? It works most of the time for us, if he doesn't get a second wind.... The danger is that he may try to sneak in a very late nap, which totally backfires (he stays up even later!) I've found that, even though they have totally ignored me at bedtime also, if I don't give in, they start begging me to come back in their room and snuggle with them, and I insist I won't do it until they're both in their own beds, and quiet. The upside of all this bedtime craziness is that, on weekends anyway, they sleep in til 8:30/9:00! Nice bonus, although on weekdays I can barely drag them out of bed for school. Good luck, it won't last forever. Raissa

Older Siblings Sharing a Room

4yo girl sharing a room with 7yo brothers?

Dec 2011

My family of 5 lives in a 2 bedroom apartment. My 7 year old twin boys share one room. My 4 year old daughter sleeps w/me in the big bed. My husband sleeps in the family room! Our unused crib is finally gone and we'd like to get my daughter into her own bed. She's very excited by the prospect of having Hello Kitty sheets! My question is whether it's appropriate for the kids to all share a room. My 7 year olds are very body aware at this point (but as 7 year olds, find it all silly and provocative), my 4 year old is a bit less so, but we do emphasize privacy, private areas, etc. in our house. My 4 year old also likes to have alone time to ''wiggle'' as we call it. So in writing this I'm thinking no, but my husband would really like to get back into our bed. Unfortunately, putting a mattress in our room would pretty much take up all the floor space, and limits adult privacy as well. Any thoughts or ideas? anon

We just got loft beds...I highly recommend them. Get two, for the 7 year olds, and put a twin bed under one of them (perpendicular to the loft, or a futon on the floor lengthwise) for the 4 year old. That way everyone has their own space, and your floor space will increase considerably. There are many available. We ordered ours from heidilee
There are several ways to make bunk-type beds to divide even a smallish room into separate private spaces by making a bunk bed that has access to one side for the lower bunk and access to the upper bunk from the other side only. Seems you'd need a triple-decker with two beds open on one side and one bed open on the other side.

We got to be inventive during graduate school, living with kids in a tiny one-bedroom on-campus flat.

For us, the one tiny bathroom was our greatest challenge.

Hi there i shared bed room with my older brother from 3 to till i was in high school(when i got my own room). and for most reason it was quite ok for me. I shared the room with him almost equally till i was in my 5th grade and then we started fighting for our space so we had some rules between us to work around it.

but till about 4-5 grade we were absolutely fine with the sharing. i believe it helped us both a great deal with sharing and understanding. about the privacy part, they will learn quickly. you might have to insist on a few things and make them understand but they will understand and work with it as time goes.

about having her own little space.. may be you can come with an arrangement where in your daughter could use your bed room for her little self time during the day. hth s

First off, I have no idea what you mean by needing alone time to ''wiggle.'' But that said, our three children share a room--they are a 10 yo boy, 7 yo girl and 4 yo girl. We have only two bedrooms also. So far, it's fine, no issues. They mostly like being together. Go for it. Mom in a small house
follow up on ''room to wiggle'' - i just figured this was a euphemism for the joys of self-pleasuring. lots of little kids do it - a 4-year-old is big enough to want a little privacy around it - i think any of the loft/bunk bed situations recommended (plus maybe a little curtain or canopy or just a great big pillow to hide behind) could certainly do the trick. i may be reading too much into ''wiggle'', though, so this may not be relevant at all. my kids are ''wiggly'' too

Kids share a room but not sleep habits

Aug 2010

We live in a two bedroom house and our kids share a room. Our 4 year old talks A LOT at bedtime and it disturbs our older child. After two years I'm convinced he's not doing it to intentionally bug his sibling but that's the result. I think the more tired he is, the more he talks and so the problem feeds itself. The problem wouldn't be a problem except that his older sibling would easily fall asleep quickly (and also has to get up for school in the morning). Let me be clear, the talker is also tired at bedtime, but his habit is to talk himself to sleep for about an hour. We have tried giving him a nightlight and telling him he can look quietly at books, rewards for being quiet at bedtime, punishment for talking at bedtime, putting him to bed earlier, putting the older kid to bed first, putting them both to bed earlier, having them listen to cds at bedtime, putting the older child to bed in our room and transferring when the talker is asleep, having a period where they can talk with the lights on before quiet time, discussions about what it means to be considerate, ignoring the situation, pleading -- you get the picture. Some approaches have provided temporary relief, but none have resulted in a long term solution. If we put him to bed later, it just starts the cycle later (and we lose out on some precious kid free evening time), he seems indifferent to rewards related to this issue and punishment is ineffective. We are stumped. After several years, I believe he genuinely needs to talk to wind down at night and that would be fine if he had his own room, but it's not under the circumstances. I'm looking for solutions or reflections from others who have kids who share a room, but not sleeping habits. Thanks. tired

what worked for us was getting a fan and using the white noise to drown out the noisy child. It's a pretty large fan. been there
same situation - 2 kids, 1 bedroom. What we did for about 9 months was sleep in the dining room. That helped thru one of the transitions. Our house is 1000 sq feet so I get that what I am suggesting may seem strange but: pull out couch in living room/family room/dining room for talker or for parents and/or put talker in small bed in your room. I am guessing the talker will eventually figure it out if some of the things have worked for short period of time - but I have no idea if it will come together at age 6 or 8. Other thought would be to work with Meg Zweback - she is amazing with all sort of issues, and I am guessing in one session could help move things forward. Really though, I would take a very critical eye at all your rooms and see if there isn't a spot that would work that would simply be sleep space. good luck
Even though your kids' room is small (aren't all kid's bedrooms small ?), it seems you need to divide their room into two rooms (window/s will have to be dealt with) and, later, you'll have to remove that wall. (It was long ago, but I've done this, it's easy, and it worked ! )

Temporary ''wall'': Nail 2x4s to the floor and ceiling, cut 2x4s just a tiny bit longer than the height between the 2x4s, wedge these vertical 2x4s between the 2x4s on the floor and ceiling nailing them to 2x4s on floor and ceiling, surface one side of the ''wall'' with drywall, carefully caulk all cracks inside the ''wall'' to reduce sound transmission, carefully install insulation into the wall cavity to reduce sound transmission, surface the 2nd side of the ''wall''. Paint (I let my kids paint their new ''wall.'')

Problem: each ''room'' must have a window, so, plan ahead. Hope this works.

Room dividers for kids sharing a room?

March 2010

Has anyone used a room divider/folding panel screen in a shared kids' bedroom? I posted a few weeks ago about our dilemma of only having 2 bedrooms but having 2 kids who each can only seem to STTN if they are in their own room. Moving a kid into the living room isn't an option for us, neither is moving our bed to the living room. My only solution is to try putting up tall room dividers/folding screen panels around the baby's crib and moving the white noise machine next to her crib to make her sleeping area a little more separate from the other side of the bedroom where her brother sleeps. Has anyone tried this as a solution? Did it work? Thank you! Mag

A friend of mine hung heavy, plain canvas fabric. She ran a taught wire (small cable really) across the room and screwed it into either wall, near the ceiling. The curtains have metal grommets in them that the cable weaves in and out of. (Hope I'm describing that clearly enough!) It's worked well for her kids and looks pretty groovy, too! steph

Will twins still want to share a room as teens?

Feb 2009

My husband and I are planning a big remodel and addition to our home. We have a 7-year-old boy and 2-year-old twin boys. Right now, our older son has his own bedroom and the twins share a bedroom. We are trying to figure out how many bedrooms we should plan for in our remodel. Our older son will continue to have his own room, but we're not sure if we should build a larger shared bedroom for the twins in the future (right now their shared room is pretty tiny), or if we should plan for separate bedrooms for them. > My question for those who have raised twins is: did your twins prefer to share a bedroom as they were growing up, or did they want their own rooms? All of the twins that we currently know are extremely bonded and refuse to be away from each other at night. But, none of them have reached the adolescent years, so things might change once that happens. Any advice from parents who have already gone through the teenage twin years? Or advice from a grown-up twin on their preferences of sharing/not sharing a bedroom with their twin? Twin Mama

Hi there -- I have twins who are older than yours though not yet teens and my suggestion is that you create the option for each kid to have their room. I say this as a parent who is seeing the struggles that twins can face in separating from each other and how critical it is that both children early on develop their own healthy, separate sense of self. I'd argue it's more important for twins to have the option to separate from each other. (Interesting resource to check ''Emotionally healthy twins: a new philosophy for parenting two unique children.'') Good luck and happy building. Rachel
I am a grown twin. We have shared rooms on and off during childhood. It went in phases. We were lucky enough to have bedrooms of different sizes and parents who were okay changing bedrooms along with us. We have always been very close, but once puberty hit we definitely preferred separate rooms. I would think that any child/adolescent - even very close siblings, will eventually enter a phase where they prefer privacy.

If you have the means and room for separate bedrooms, I'd say, go for it. Be prepared that they will not want to use them right now, so one bigger room to share would still be beneficial. Good luck with the remodel

I was a teenage twin (now 30). I was very close to my twin but solo very thankful to have my own room as a teen. As a twin I experienced intense sibling rivalry coupled with intense needs to have my own unique identity. Sharing a room during those years would have been disastrous! Dani
I shared a room with my fraternal twin sister until we were almost 14. The last year was pretty rough. I really needed to have my own private space. Luckily, we moved into a larger house. Some twins are closer and more compatible than my sister and I were, but it would have been hellish to share a room with her through high school. Jennifer
My twins too shared a room from birth. Out of the blue, when they were 7 years old, one daughter decided to move into her own room. They divided up their clothes etc. Then, after about 2 months she told her sister she wanted to move back in with her, and her sister said no! They've been in separate rooms ever since. They still go through periods of sleeping together when one is scared to sleep alone. multi mom

Two girls, 9 and 7, in one bedroom

Jan 2009

We REALLY don't want to add on to our 3 bed/2 bath house, but we have 2 daughters and a young son. The 2 daughters are only 9 & 7 now, but I see big issues in our near future, with privacy. Can anyone recommend a website or design book on how to divide the space we have (only about 14 x 11 feet) creatively, giving each girl a few square feet of space that is their own? Or what do YOU recommend? They're currently in do we do this?! heidilee

I saw the neatest idea not long ago, with slightly offset bunk beds in the middle of a long room. The girl with the upper bunk had a set of drawers in the shallow spot under her bunk, and the girl with the lower bunk had hung a small shelf with a clip-on light and alarm clock on the slight overhang from the upper bunk. They exited their beds from opposite sides. These two sisters were 15 and 12, so for privacy, their parents had let them hang long pieces of fabric like curtains along the upper bunk separating the two sides partially.

I also shared a room with sisters. While there were plenty of arguments and teenage fits about privacy, later I had absolutely no problems in my college dorm room, while other folks with no such experience couldn't sleep, couldn't study, couldn't do anything. I learned to be ''alone'' with others around, and have no trouble now working in a cubicle. Gotta learn to share sometime

There are some wonderful design books by Tauton (sp?) that I've looked at Expo. The provide all sorts of room designs and storage ideas. HGTV's Divine Design also has done a couple of episodes on shared bedrooms. Good Luck

When should boy and girl stop sharing a room?

June 2008

My kids have always shared a room. They are now ages 9 (boy) & 6.5 (girl). We thought we would separate them this summer, but whenever we bring it up, both kids beg us not to give them their own rooms. We are not in any hurry mainly b/c we use the 3rd bedroom as our study and will have to reconfigure the living room into a living room/study when the kids get separate rooms. Is there any general wisdom about the age at which two kids of different genders should get their own roooms? I'm happy to let them share until they ask otherwise, but perhaps someone knows better than I? Thanks, Two Kids, Small House

I have a colleague with 3 children, the eldest a girl, the middle child a boy, and the youngest a girl. They all slept in the same bedroom. At age 13, the eldest moved into her own room, finally needing a little space, while the other children were about 10 and 8 at that time. This worked well for them, as the children preferred to be in the same room together for all these years. Individual families might have different preferences, of course. So I'd go with what the siblings AND the parents are most comfortable with overall in each situation and not worry about any set ''rules'' or opinions. kb
Truly your children really love to be around each other. They will let you know when they need space. Later in life they will be there for each other, which is what we all want for our children. An older sister who shared a room with her brother till she went off to college...we love each other dearly now. Felicia
my kids, now ages 13 (daughter) and 15 (son) shared a room until 10 and 12. when they were young they loved having someone in the room with them at night and waking up with someone there. as they got older they spent hours laughing and telling silly bed time stories to one another. then they transitioned to sharing their thoughts, ideas, and dreams (silly ones of course). now, 13 and 15 they are really close, share chores, help each other with homework, and ask each other for advice. it's healthy for kids to learn to share and bond at a young age and sharing a room is one way of doing it. nancy
I did a survey on this subject about six months ago, asking every single family I knew with a 10-12 year old boy and a 8-10 year old daughter about their bedroom arrangement. I was pleasantly surprised to find that of the 9 or 10 families, only one (actually that one had a 13 year old boy) did NOT share a room. No one had current plans to change that configuration. My kids, now 12 and 9, have two rooms between them. Even though they often want to get away from each other during the day, they want to continue sleeping in the same room and use the other room as their ''office''. The ''office'' has a bed in it for whenever they are ready, but I see no signs of their readiness to give up what they call the security and comfort of having the other there at night. Now our new big dog has joined them, and all three are like bugs in a rug. I'll wait for their cue.
i have a boy and a girl who always had their own rooms. They are 5 years apart. They are very close and when my daughter was 3 she wanted to share my son's room. He loved the idea and we moved her into his room. It stayed that way until just last year when they were 12 and 7. We waited until they decided they wanted some private space. Even now, she will sneak into his room at night and sleep on his bottom bunk occasionally. He says he doesn't like it, but i think he's just trying to be cool, because sometimes I hear him asking her to come in. anon
They're brother and sister--it isn't necessary to separate them until they wish for it. What's appropriate is what they feel comfortable with. Anna
We have faced this situation twice. When our older two children were 8 (our daughter) and 6 (our son) our daughter started dressing in the closet. We spoke to her about it and she said she needed her privacy. We moved her to her own room. She was thrilled and her younger brother was devastated and lonely. He has recovered now 10 years later but spent many nights sleeping in a sleeping bag in our room or hers for a while after she moved out. Recently our 3rd child a daughter now 8 complained that she did not think she should have to listen to baby beluga and the like on the cd player in the room she shared with her 4 year old brother. We moved her into her own room, and she decided she was very lonely but her little brother was thrilled to have his own space. She often sleeps in her old bed in her brother's room when she is lonely. Moral to the story? I don't know that there is an absolute age to do this, but if neither of them wants to be separated and they are appropriate with each other, leave them be. I suspect from my experience that 8 for girls is a time when they start to get more aware of their bodies and so might want more privacy. My advice is to wait until one or both of them suggests the separation. Elizabeth
I think they should do what they want. If the want to stay in the room together, fine. I see no reason why they should be separated. Advice

5 year old boy/girl twins sharing a room - bunk beds?

May 2008

We are considering getting our almost 5 year old twins bunkbeds for their room. They share a room and have a hard time going right to bed at night...talkng, playing, etc. So, right now, my son goes into our bed when it's bedtime and my husband moves him into his room once they are both asleep. So, my question is...would bunk beds be a bad idea? Does anyone that have bunkbeds with 2 kids in the same room have problems with the kids going to sleep? Any other suggestions on how to have boy/girl twins share a room and conserve space and limit the bedtime playing would be much appreciated!

Hi, We decided to purchase bunk beds as a temporary solution until our twins(51/2) are able to have their own room. We've had them for about 5 months and we have some continued bumpiness surrounding the sharing of the lower bunk to read stories before bed. We actually move our daughter to the upper bunk if she falls asleep. At times I want to cuddle with her and the top bunk seems prohibitive so I allow her to sleep head to toe with my son. He actually will protest if it's more than once in awhile. All in all, I think it's a great space-saver and I try to visit and make the top bunk fun, too. Hope this helps. Anon anon
We put our then-4 & 2 year-olds in bunkbeds last year. We were living in a two-bedroom while looking for a home. The beds worked wonderfully (brought them to our new home and set them up as part of our 'guest suite'). There was some transition, but they settled into the new pattern pretty quickly.

Another thought re: space...can you give them in uthe master bedroom? If I had a 'do-over' then I probably would have put the girls & bunkbeds in there (my parents did the same for my sister and I -- put us in bunkbeds at 3 & 5 in the master bedroom to maximize our play space when we were living in a small townhouse waiting for our home to be built). They would have had a playroom space (the master was pretty big) and sleeping space. Instead, the rest of the house became their playroom and I was always cleaning up. -anon

We have a 4 1/2 year old and a 22 month old. 6 months ago they started sharing a room. The baby still sleeps in his crib, and it's situated next to the older one's junior loft. It took about a week for the two to get settled since the younger one still wakes up sometime in the middle of the night but that's all it took. We read books to them at the same time on the couch after they have changed their clothes and brushed teeth. After the books, we bring them to their room and kiss them goodnight; sometimes my husband sits in the chair for a few minutes while they settle down. often, he just turns off the light and they fall asleep on their own. we've never had a problem with them keeping each other awake. we had reservations about putting them in the same room but now we think it's wonderful! and i think they love being so close to each other. we have plenty of rooms but shared is best
Today's (6/3) Science Times in the NY Times had an article about bunk beds---tens of thousands of kids fall out of them and get injured. Check it out. NYT reader

Opposite sex siblings, 5 & 7, sharing a room

May 2007

My 7.5 year old daughter and 5 year old son share a bedroom and it has worked out fairly well so far. However, I am beginning to wonder at what age do opposite sex kids need their own rooms. Our home has only 2 bedrooms, and we have considered moving, but recently decided to keep our son in pre-school for an extra year, so it may not work financially for at least another year. How long can they share a room before they start to need space from each other? mom in a small house

I think that the worst thing you could do would be to bring extra stress into your family life by over-extending financially on a new home just to have another bedroom! One thing you could consider doing is creating two distinct spaces in the room, even if it's a small room, with curtains and/or free standing screens and/or furniture, then each child would have visual privacy and a little piece of space to make their own. Anon
My son and daughter shared a room until they were 10 and 6. I think we were at the limit for their tolerance of the situation at that point. We moved to a bigger house and they each have their own room. Now they love their quiet time in their rooms. The benefit of having shared a room for so long is that they are very close and don't completely shut themselves away from the rest of the family all the time. It is just good for them to have their own space to chill out, especially when they have friends over. I think you can eke out a few more years with the room sharing.
I have three kids & two of them have always shared a room. They are a year apart & now are 10(girl) & 9(boy). It is NOW time for them to have their own room, believe me. But we can't do it, so there they are stuck, annoying each other. They share a bunk bed & my son is on the lower which causes problems when her friends come over because they'll want to sit on it (it is a futon that turns into a couch) & he throws a fit. He also throws a fit at the idea of moving to the top which my daughter has even made a list of all the pros about the move. We have a teenager who is too old to share with his younger bro so that wouldn't work. Anyway, I say all this to say if you can, get them their own room by 8 yrs old, probably no later. Good Luck!!

Making one bedroom into two for 10 & 12 y-o's

June 2007

Our two boys ages 10 and 12 share one very large bedroom. They want to have their own bedrooms. Any advise on how to erect a wall cheaply or on room dividers? Any other advose on this idea of private space? anon

I suggested this to a friend years ago for splitting a small bedroom and it worked fantastically. Basically make or use a bunkbed. Place it in the middle (where you would split the room). Close off the side of the bottom bunk with plywood, shelves or something like that. You want to secure it. Close off the opposite side of the top bunk all the way to the ceiling. You can make it longer than the bed if you have the space. Good luck. I think I originally saw the idea in one of those books on kids rooms in a hardware store about 20 years ago. Wish my parents had done that.
Funny you should mention this! Last year, as our two kids reached 10 and 11, we split their big bedroom into two. It took a bit of cleverness, but has been quite successful.

The main bedroom was about 11 feet x 12 feet, and we built a wall of 2x4s laid the flat way (so the divider is actually 2 inches wide). We attached 2x2's to the ceiling by screwing them through the plaster and into the studs.

We didn't want to damage the wood floor, so we put low-stickum painter's masking tape on the floor where the divider would be. We then used double-sticky foamtape to stick 2x2s on top of the masking tape. We then built the wall framing between the ceiling and floor 2x2's. When the framing was up, we put up 3/8'' plywood over all, and then finished with wooden beadboard. We insulated the space to cut down on noise transfer.

We added a little slot to let the kids pass notes between the rooms. Also, it's easy to add electric outlets on a new wall, so we did.

Our daughter preferred her bed to be in a closet, about 5 feet off the floor, with a desk beneath. The bed fitted in perfectly and she loves the cozy space. However, during the winter, water vapor from her breath condensed on the walls, ceiling, & window. Later, I solved this by adding a small ventilation fan and heater duct.

This divider was probably overkill, but it's withstood plenty of bumps & kicks, and has provided just the privacy that the kids wanted. The project took about a week, and materials cost around $500 (I did all the work myself) When we remove the divider, there'll be some minor plaster repairs. Cliff

I've seen this done with two men sharing a bedroom. Floor to ceiling sheets became a wall - one of the guys had a couple sheet walls to make his space a box, and the other guy had the path around that and his own space outside of the enclosed box. Nice and cheap

My father is appalled son & daughter share a room

January 2006

My son (5) and daughter (6) are 14 months apart and have shared a room, sleeping in a double bed, since we moved them out of their cribs 4 years ago. We live in a home with enough bedrooms for each to have their own, but this arrangement seems to be working very well for our family. The kids enjoy being together, they are very close and it also makes our bedtime story reading and snuggling so easy. They are very aware that they are different genders but are not modest and we don't see this as an issue. We plan to move them to their own rooms when we feel it is appropriate and are happy to have the option. The problem -- my father (their Grandfather) is appalled that we would have them share a room still. Any advice that we could share with him or that would convince us to change our plans would be welcomed from both families who have kept their kids together and those who have chosen not to. Is there an issue with different gender kids sharing a room? At what age is it best to separate boys and girls?

If your children are happy, don't worry about your father's opinion. Keep in mind that most children around the world successfully grow up in very close quarters with their siblings of both genders, and kids are able to carve out privacy and space for themselves as they need it.

We have a girl, a boy and a girl (two years and three years apart, respectively) and, at 10 1/2, our son has always shared a room (but not a bed--we have bunk beds) with one or the other of his sisters. He started asking for his own room only about a year ago. We have not had enough space in our house for three separate kids' bedrooms, but we are currently adding on an additional room to be ready in time for my son's eleventh birthday. In the meantime, my son and 7-year-old daughter respect each other's privacy when dressing and respect each other's space. They negotiate room ownership when friends come over to play. They have a close relationship and still enjoy chatting with each other at night (if the younger one is still awake when the older goes to bed).

It probably would have been ideal to separate them last year, but the promise of separate bedrooms has been sufficient balm to soothe the occasional privacy tensions.

I should add that, while my oldest daughter does have her own room, she isn't terribly exclusive about her space. Our family culture is one of open doors and a lot of togetherness, so sharing rooms is very comfortable. mom who's been there

I just read a great book, Our Babies Ourselves, which discusses baby-rearing in different cultures. According to the book, Western culture has sexualized sleeping. Sleeping with family members is common in other cultures and doesn't lead to raised eyebrows like it does here. On a personal note, my brother (five years younger than me) and I (female) enjoyed sleeping together in each other's twin beds probably in the timeframe of when I was 7-9 and he was 2-4. Knowing how much I enjoy snuggling as an adult, I think it's almost cruel that we expect kids to sleep *alone*. anon
Hi, Our situation is different, not a boy and a girl, but 2 boys, still I thought our experience might be of interest. Our 2 sons, age 9 and 11 have had the option of separate bedrooms ever since they were young. Yet they opted to sleep in the same room, in bunkbeds. Finally, after many years, they expressed an interest in separate bedrooms, so my husband and I worked many a weekend to fix up the spare bedroom. This extra bedroom was smaller, so it went to the youngest son. He selected his bed (queen size), the paint, sheets, shelves and other furniture. He did a great job and the room looks great. So, do they now sleep in separate rooms? No, they happily sleep in the same (the newer)room, in the same (queen size) bed! At least before they were in different beds. And the bedroom they originally slept in all these years now sits empty. We figure when they are ready they'll chose separate rooms. I can't imagine it will be much longer....but they are happy so what else can we do? Patiently waiting
Hurray for you for fostering a close sibling relationship. My son and daughter (almost 5 and 7) share a room and have their whole lives but not a bed. They have bunk beds. We read books to them at the same time. Mostly they view the books' pictures from their respective bunks. Sometimes we gather on an oversized bean bag chair in their room. None of their friends or mine think it is odd that they're together even though we have two spare bedrooms.

I never thought of them sharing a bed, however since you brought up the topic, I would weigh in that I would not have put my kids in the same bed regardless of their gender. I feel strongly that they need their individual space for health and privacy reasons. My son has dust mite allergies and to make sure he is not bothered by them I sealed up his mattress and pillow, keep stuffed animals off of it and wash his bedding in hot hot water every couple of days. But allergy aside, I think that while I have created a safe ''togetherness'' environment for them in their shared room, I have honored their individuality by letting each spread out on their beds, choose their own styles of sheets, and get up at different times. My daughter likes to put on her clothes in the morning under the sheets to stay warm. As of last year, she does not like her brother seeing her naked- if they did not have their own beds, she would not have this warm and cozy option. I think that you will soon start to see the habits of your children change which will make the bed sharing less ideal. Also, in the past year my daughter has become an avid reader and has a reading light that she flips on once the overhead light goes off and she reads herself to bed. My son has always wanted the room dark and this development would not have sat well with him had they shared a bed (luckly he does not notice the little allumination from the book light). I love that my children want to be together. I will keep them together until they request a change. I think you should continue to foster their shared room experience by getting bunk beds for them. It seems premature to separate them altogether. Anyway, that was a long-winded way of letting you know what works for us. Good luck with your decision making process. Pillow talk

Tell your father that someone replied to your question who has a 7 yo boy and a 10 yo girl sharing the same room. Because of space, we do not have a choice right now and it works out OK. They have bunk beds, though. If it works for you, do it. Jennifer
Just to let you know that many of us out there encourage emotional closeness between family members by permitting our children to share a bedroom for as long as they choose, even if there is another room. Many families have a ''family bed'', too. My son, 9, and my daughter, 7, enjoy the security and pleasure of each other's company at night. They are not shy about their nakedness, bathe together for fun, and do not have ''sexual'' feelings for each other. They have friends with the same set- up.
Why all the fuss?

Girls sharing a room to free up a bedroom for guests

March 2005

my girls are 3.5 years apart and I am wondering from others experience what the pros and cons are of them sharing a room. we have a 3 bedroom house and it would be nice to have a room for guests/grandparents, but i wonder what would be best for the girls? If we get a bunkbed or trundle set up (which is most effiecient space- wise) does one feel like they are getting the make shift bed or would it be better to get them each their own bed so they each have their seperate space within the same room? Thanks for any input! juli

We have the same situation as you and ended up buying a bunk bed for our two girls. There is something about bunk beds that kids love! Our daughters are also around 3 years apart, so our 6 yr-old sleeps in the top bunk, and our 3-yr-old sleeps in the bottom bunk. We've made the bottom bunk very cozy and like a fort with celestial silk fabric hanging around it. The top bunk is full of stuffed animals which our 6-yr old arranges how she wants them every night before bed. So I would say that this works, for now, and who knows, maybe when they are older they may want the bunk turned into 2 separate beds. The bunk gives the room more floor space. good luck! Alexis
My girls are 3.25 years apart and have been sharing a room since the youngest was about 3 months old (they are 3 and 6 now). Its OK. If I had a third bedroom, I'd have them in separate rooms though. Its mostly because the youngest is NOT the sleeper her older sister is and gets up very early and wakes her up. And on occasion when she gets up at night its the same thing. Another irritating thing is if the older one is in the room because she has misbehaved, its really hard to keep the younger one out.

They have bunk beds that are both on the floor, as I want to wait until the youngest is older before tempting her with a bunkbed. It works just fine space-wise. And probably gives them a sense of space. Other than the sleep thing, its really fine. I think they like sleeping in the same room and knowing each other is near. I can hear them talking to each other in the morning sometimes and its sweet. Hilary

My girls are 3.25 years apart and have been sharing a room since the youngest was about 3 months old (they are 3 and 6 now). Its OK. If I had a third bedroom, I'd have them in separate rooms though. Its mostly because the youngest is NOT the sleeper her older sister is and gets up very early and wakes her up. And on occasion when she gets up at night its the same thing. Another irritating thing is if the older one is in the room because she has misbehaved, its really hard to keep the younger one out.

They have bunk beds that are both on the floor, as I want to wait until the youngest is older before tempting her with a bunkbed. It works just fine space-wise. And probably gives them a sense of space.

Other than the sleep thing, its really fine. I think they like sleeping in the same room and knowing each other is near. I can hear them talking to each other in the morning sometimes and its sweet. Hilary

It would be very difficult for your daughters-don't force them to. They live there, so they should be the priority above guests. Siblings-esspecially siblings two to four years apart-are very often angry with each other and bicker all the time. They need a 'safe spot' where they can have their own space, something they don't have to share with a sibling. Anna
What do the girls say about a) sharing a room and b) separate versus trundle versus bunkbeds? I think working with their preferences is what would make or break a shared room situation. I have a girl and a boy, also 3 years apart (4 and 7 years of age) who sleep together every night, but don't want to have beds in only one room. So every night one sleeps on a mat on my son's floor and the other on my son's bed and they're perfectly happy. (On rare ocassion my daughter wants to sleep alone in her own bed, in her own room.) I really think you have to take the kids' needs/desires into account! Susan
This is my own personal experience with my sister and I. She is 3 years younger than me and we HAD to share a room as there were 5 children in my family. I resented it but I don't think it has had any long term effects on me! My sister was always afraid of the dark, I liked it pitch black. She would whine because I got to stay up later and would drive my parents crazy till I went to bed. When I was 14 and she was 11 she ripped down all my Donny Osmond and David Cassidy posters(sigh, ok maybe one long term effect!). I never had my friends come over and play in my room because we never had any privacy. She was always into my things..oh, the list goes on. I guess what I am saying, is if it's a short term situation and the girls are not preteens it is doable.

What I have done now that I have 2 children of my own in a 3 bedroom home. My thirteen year old has a full size bed and all the cool stuff like a computer, t.v. PS2 etc... in his room. His 9 year old sister has a trundle bed (stores under her single bed) and when we have guests (which we do way too often!) My son's room becomes the guest room and we pull out the other mattress and son sleeps in it for a few days while we have company. It works for us. We discussed the situation with the kids and they agreed to making the ''sacrifice'' while company is staying. Son is happy because he has a full size bed. Daughter is happy because trundle works great for sleepovers too. Hope this is of help to you. Good Luck! Sue

Here's what we did: We put bunk beds in our older girl's room, and kept all of her ''stuff'' (clothes, toys, etc) in there. Our older girl slept on the top bunk, and her little sister slept on the bottom bunk. We then had the guest room be our younger daughter's ''play room.'' Most of her toys were in there (put away into plastic drawer type bins that fit under the double guest bed) and most of her clothes, allthough her pajamas were in the ''sleeping room.'' This gave both girls separate space to play if they wanted to be apart during the day (although they often ended up playing in the same room.) (Our girls are 3 years apart by the way.) When guests came we would bring one of the toy bins down into the living room (letting her selectivly fill it with all the toys that she wanted) and move her playroom down there for the duration of guests stay. You also have to make sure that clothes are accesible - maybe one way of doing this is putting both girls ''every day'' clothes into the older girls/sleeping room, and putting all extra clothes (fancy clothes/wrong size/etc) into the closet in the playroom/guest room (leaving some space for guest's clothes.) This worked well for our girls until the older one was in middle school (about 12) when she really wanted her ''own'' space. We then moved her into the guest room (kept the guest bed, which became her bed,) with her stuff, and gave her sister the room with the bunkbeds, so now when guests come our older daughter sleeps in her little sister's room while guests are there. The girls seemed to like sleeping together (when they were younger) but having some space to ''be separate'' during the day worked really well, and still left us with the use of a guest room. -Made it work
We had a similar set-up, 3 bedrooms; and had our 2 boys who are 4 years apart sharing one room. they didn't like the bunk bed, so we had 2 separate beds and only a small amount of play area. Our 3rd bedroom became an office/playroom/guestroom. This was all fine until my older son turned 9 and then he insisted on having his own bedroom; he dragged all of his bedding into the guestroom. He was very clear that he didn't want to share space anymore. no more guestroom
Thank you everyone for the great responses! Really good ideas were shared - every one of them had workable ideas for the original poster, in a much nicer tone than I would have managed.

Personally, I was upset that someone would give higher priority to occasional guests than to their own children who live there everyday - not to mention the waste of usable space if guests visit only a few times a year. I frequently notice kids ''don't rate'' the same equality and respect that adults do, and that makes me pretty sad, because of the subtle message it sends that they are not important or don't count.

So thanks again, BPN! There are many creative people on this board - I learn so much from you all. Anonymous, please!

Baby Sharing a Room with Sibling

Baby and toddler room sharing

Feb 2010

I've read all the past posts archived on BPN about siblings sharing a room, but unfortunately I'm still lost as to what to do.

We have a 2 year old (will be 3 in April) and a 10 month old who have to share a room because we only have a 2 BR house. The reality has been that they've needed to be separated most of the time, even though we started having them share a room when the baby was 2 months old. When one or both of them are sick (as they both have been most of this winter), they cannot be in the same room due to waking each other up crying/coughing/whining during the night. So either the baby sleeps in the pack-and-play in our room and her older brother stays in his toddler bed in their room, or we move older brother and his toddler bed into our room and baby sister stays in her crib in their room.

Older brother is a FANTASTIC sleeper, except when he gets moved into our room to sleep. The slightest noise by either my husband or me wakes him up and then he refuses to go back to sleep in his bed or in the pack and play - screaming, kicking, tantrum, etc. Unfortunately, he doesn't know how to co- sleep in bed with us either; he thinks it's playtime. So once he's up, he's up. Whether it's midnight, 3 am, or 5 am.

We would just keep baby sister in the pack-and-play in our room indefinitely (she doesn't sleep through the night unless she's in a room all by herself) but now she is aware that we're in the room with her, and she stands up and screams while staring at us. We do CIO with her, but she will cry and fuss and moan for up to 2 hours. When she does finally fall asleep, she rarely stays asleep for very long.

The only real solution I can see is moving to a 3BR house where each child has their own room (the only way either of them seem to ever sleep well). And that's not a solution we can afford.

We've come close to hiring a sleep consultant, but before we spend $500 on one - thought we'd try BPN for advice. Thanks for any insight you can provide! At Wits End

How about letting each of them have their own room and you two sleep in the living room? I know it's not ideal, but if you had a comfortable sofa bed (they do exist), you could open that up each night and sleep there. Living Room Sleeper
We had a similar dilemma with our kids, who share a room. The baby would wake up crying several times a night, and if we didn't immediately rush in and get her to stop, her older brother would wake up and get hysterical. We ended up having the baby sleep in a pack-n-play in the living room for quite a while.

Good luck! This phase won't last forever, but it sure feels like it will when it's going on. Two kids, small house

I write this while I knock on wood...I think we have figured out how to have a 3 year old and an 8 month old share a room...We started CIO over the weekend and we were surprised at the outcome. We let the baby fall asleep in our bed and then moved him to the crib after his brother had gone to sleep. When the baby woke up (because he could sense that someone was putting him in the crib), he cried. But, and this is where it was a surprise, he didn't wake his brother up! After the first two days of CIO, they now sleep fine together.

Usually, I give the little one a sippy while I read the older one books. The little one usually falls asleep while I'm reading. After I'm done reading, I put the little one into the crib--and he wakes and fusses for about 2-3 minutes. While he is fussing, I have cuddle time with my three year old. Once the baby is asleep, I kiss my three year old good night and that is it! The baby is always up first in the am, but I get him before he starts to cry.

I was at the point of searching for a three bedroom place until finally everything clicked...and yes, everything gets thrown out the window when the three year old has a cold... Good luck! anon

We've been through that, although our toddler was older than yours. It is what it is. We've been looking for a larger house in Berkeley for over two years now without luck. So for now the kids share a room. And to make matters worse our room is right across the hall. When I get up to get ready for work I almost always wake someone up.

Your kids will adjust over time. Other than that there is no easy answer. Have you tried a white noise machine? It ain't easy

As a short-term solution, could you put the baby to bed in your room, and then move her out into the family room when you and your husband go to bed? That way everyone is separated. Maybe when your kids are older the room sharing will work out--things change. for the time being
this is not a glamorous solution, but we moved our bed into our living room and our baby (9 mos) into our room so that our baby and our toddler (2 1/2) could continue to sleep through the night (I think we started this when our baby was around 6 mos old). our original intention was to try to move them into the same room once they were both sleeping on the same schedule and once our baby could fend for himself against the wrath of our toddler. we figured that would be possible when our baby turned 1.

they slept together successfully over the holidays while we were out of town (one in a crib, one in a twin bed), so we've decided to start trying a bit sooner. sadly, recent travel messed up our baby's sleep schedule, but we're hoping that once he's back to his normal sleeping pattern (going to bed at around 7:30 and waking at around 6:30), we can try to get them into a room together and get our privacy back. not sure if that is at all helpful. sleeping soundly in the living room (for now)

Is there someplace else you can put one of them, like pack n play in the living room, and then do whatever you do after they go to sleep in your bedroom? This way everybody gets their own space. And maybe buying a whitenoise machine and putting it in their bedroom with them both in it might work (so they don't hear each other)? good luck
Our situation is similar except that our second ''bedroom'' is more of an office and not even big enough for a bed and a crib. Our solution is less-than-perfect, but it's working for now: we have the crib in the living room. Naps are hard, but at night it works just fine. The baby's far enough away from me that I don't jump up at every moan, and our toddler sleeps through her crying. And when she's big enough, they'll have bunk beds and I'll get my bookcase back... anon

Baby boy to share room with 3-year old

Aug 2009

How have parents of kids 3 years apart transitioned the younger into the older sibling's bedroom? I've seen few postings about kids 3 years apart.

Our baby boy is now 2 months old, and he has an older brother who just turned 3 years old. We'd like to transition the baby into his big brother's room (they'll have to share a bedroom given space limitations), but aren't certain when to do it. I am wondering how to prepare our eldest son for the transition (he is currently very ''mine'' oriented, for example, even with ''his'' changing pad) - he has been in his own room since he was 6 months old. I don't want him to be resentful of his younger brother when they start to share, and I am concerned about safety issues for the baby (big brother throwing blankets into the crib, etc.).

Is it better to do it sooner, and just work through our eldest son's ''my'' stage in this regard? Is it better to wait a year or so, until they are both older (and have a more established relationship)?

I'd like to know at what ages you've transitioned your kids to share a room, and suggestions on how to do it (i.e., what did you tell your eldest kid). Thanks! Anon

Our boys are two years nine months apart and we moved the baby into the older boy's room when he was around 5 months old. (Until then the baby was in a bassinet pulled up to our bed.) We talked a lot about how the elder brother was going to be good at looking after his baby brother and how they could listen to books together and wake up together -- the big picture was always about what a special thing it was they would be able to share a room. I don't think we dwelt on negative stuff like ''you'll have to share, you can't throw things in the crib,'' etc.

They have had bed times around 30 minutes apart. We're lucky that the younger one is an easy sleeper and is out by the time his brother comes in. We've found that the separation helps us manage bedtimes and give them each attention at the end of the day. The issue for us has been getting the younger one to bed early enough so the older one still goes to bed at a reasonable hour -- kind of tough when they play together now. They are now just two and almost five and that's why we are trying to transition them to the same bed time.

I like that we did the transition early and got them both used to it. anon

Our kids are exactly 2 years and 10 months apart too (girls though). We kept the baby in a crib in our bedroom until she was about 1 year. We co-slept with our baby for 1/2 the night (first 1/2 in the crib) and our 3 year old actually often slept on the floor in our room if she woke up at night (she had what we called a ''little nest'' next to our bed). Anyway, when the baby was about 1 year old, we moved her crib into our older daughter's room. I don't remember there being any problem. By this time my older daughter loved her sister, played with her and I think we always talked about when her sister would get to move to her room. I still went and got the baby when she cried at night and brought her into our room. Our older daughter would sometimes retrieve toys for the baby and put them back into the crib. At about 18 months we made our ''special trip'' to by a ''big girl bed'' for the baby and switch the crib out for the mattress on the floor in the girls room. Now they have a bunk bed at ages 9 and 6. Anon

Thinking about moving baby into 3-year-old's room

Feb 2009

I read with interest the replies to an earlier question about whether kids need their own space and wanted to follow up with a related question. For those of you who have/had kids share a room, at what age did they start and was gender an issue? I have an almost 3 year old boy and a 9 month old girl who currently sleep in seperate rooms. The older one still wakes up at night and calls for us because he doesn't like to be alone and I think sharing a room with his sister *might* help with that. The younger one is just now starting to sleep through the night, which means she will let out a yelp at various times during the night but will resume sleeping without any help from us. My ideal outcome is that the 3 year old will feel comforted by having his sister so close and will rely less on us to get back to sleep but I fear that what will actually happen is that they will just wake each other up (both are fairly light sleepers) and no one will get any sleep. If your kids started sharing a room when the youngest was a baby, how did you handle middle of the night wakings? Is it wishful thinking to believe that sharing a room will help comfort the older one? If your opposite gender kids shared a room, at what age did they want/need to have their own rooms? mama who needs some sleep

I was one of the respondents to the previous question about sharing a room. My kids are 2 years apart, a boy and a girl. Our kids shared a room from the time my daughter was a few months old. Maybe earlier? I can't remember. My boy (older) sleeps like a log and never was bothered by my daughter's night time wakings. My daughter is a lighter sleeper and will wake up if my older one happens to, but wants to be covered up with the blankets and goes back to sleep with ease.

Also, I don't necessarily think it's wishful thinking that your older one will be comforted by the younger. I can definitely tell that my kids LIKE sharing a room and being near each other.. and it's working out great. kids sharing

No, your infant will not comfort your son. Moms and dads do the comforting, not babies. He may or may not like sharing a room, but it's not at all relevant to his need for nurturing, protection, love, being held, etc. I think you're really misguided to think that your daughter will have anything to do with keeping your boy happy and alone in his bed.

Physical nurturing is a very strong need with some people. Being close and touching body parts is the key, along with feeling safe.

What I do think you can do is teach him to get up and come to your bed if he needs a snuggle. He's old enough that you shouldn't have to rush to him unless he has a nightmare and is screaming.

They will probably wake each other up while sharing a room, but over time they will adjust.

I put my kids in together when my daughter was nearly 3 and my son was 14 months. It took some adjustment, but I must say it went much better than we feared. Both my kids wake up pretty regularly at night for one thing or another, but I've been surprised to find that they almost never wake each other up. It does take them longer to settle down at night. And naps can be tricky unless they're totally exhausted. Sometimes I have to nap my daughter (now nearly 4) in my room so they won't get each other all riled up. The gender is obviously no issue now, but I'm hoping to keep them in the same room through grade school--might become an issue toward the end. We'll see. mom of two
I can't really answer your question, but we have a four year- old boy who still co-sleeps with dad and a 4 month-old girl who sleeps with me. We only have one extra bedroom and our son doesn't want to sleep alone, so when my daughter is old enough, we'll put both kids in the same bed, or just the same room, whatever works better. Later, when we can afford a house and they are a little older, they will have their own rooms. I think you should give putting them in the same room a try and see how it goes. Andi
This sounds like typical three year-old behavior. My son went through this too. Get 'Your Three-Year-Old: Friend or Enemy' by Louise Bates Ames and Frances L. Ilg. Reading this book will help you get through this phase. Andi
To answer your question: My girl and boy shared a room until girl was 12 and boy was 8. Girl was very happy to finally have privacy (though she never specifically complained about sharing); boy was very sad/lonely. Two years before that, when we were away for about 10 months, they had their own rooms, but at that point, boy mostly came into our room and slept on our floor. mom of two
My oldest (son) and next oldest (daughter) started sharing a room when the younger was about 4-5 months old. Their little brother was added to the room when he was about 4-5 months old (when he outgrew the bassinet in our room). I have had very few problems with a crying baby waking up the older child/children. More often, I am amazed when one of the kids can wake up, throw up or wet the bed, and I can totally change the sheets and deal with the issue in the middle of the night without the other kids being disturbed.

My three (boy/girl/boy) are still sharing a room at 7,5,3. We have no gender issues yet, but it still may come up later. My kids are totally into the ''kids room'' and ''mom & dad's room'' idea and would probably choose to share a room even if we had an extra one. Three kids, small house

We have a 6 yr old girl and a 4 yr old boy who have shared a room since the younger one was a little over year. They love it and wouldn't want it any other way. It comforts them at bedtime to have a sibling nearby. If one is away for some reason the other one gets very upset. If they wake up during the night they usually want the parent.

However, crying doesn't usually wake up the sibling. It's so much fun to hear them talk about their day before they fall asleep. anon

Toddler and infant sharing a room

November 2008

Our second child is due March 9, at which point our first child will be 22 months old. We have a 2BR house, so the children will need to share a room. We plan to keep the baby with us in a bassinet in our room until she is 2 or 3 months old and/or sleeping through the night, and then move her into the same room as her older brother.

In general, I'm looking for success stories and words of warning about having a 2 year old and infant sleep in the same room. I read some advice that we should get some sort of a mesh tent to go over the top of the crib that would keep our son from throwing anything into the crib while the baby is in there. Anyone done that? Anyone know where to get such a contraption?

Our son is also somewhat of a light sleeper, so I'm assuming that it's inevitable the baby will wake him up from time to time. But any suggestions on how to minimize the kids waking each other up would also be appreciated.

We are planning to transition our son from the crib into a toddler bed in January before the baby is born, so any advice on how to do that would be useful. thank you! Marjorie

My 4 month old and 2 year old (who turns 3 in Jan 09) share a room. I was nervous that the 2 yo would be angry about sharing his space but that has not been a problem. The baby goes to bed earlier and we read to the 2yo so I bought a lamp that attached to the 2yo's bed so that we can read without waking up the baby. It works well. And when the baby wakes up in the middle of the night so far it hasn't woken up the toddler. So far so good. brenda
Our situation was the same as yours. The baby is now 6 months and sleeping full time with her 2 1/2 year old brother. Here are a few things we did:

Moving the toddler into the bed was its own process, at one point involving a baby gate on the door. Be prepared for a week or two of very disrupted evenings and early mornings. Consistency is key--just keep putting him back, and if you have to resort to the baby gate, let him fall asleep on the floor. Pretty soon he'll figure out the the bed is a whole lot more comfortable.

Once the baby came, early in the transition process, the baby was going to sleep after the toddler. This was fine most nights--just nurse in the dark and into the crib. If she was having a really tough time falling asleep (crying for more than 15 minutes or so), we put her back into the co-sleeper in our room for the first stretch and then put her down in the crib after the first waking/feeding. I was worried about the crying waking our son, too, but he can tolerate an impressive amount of noise. He seems immune to the stress it creates in us. You may be pleasantly surprised!

Once the baby started going to sleep before the toddler (7 pm, an hour before the older one), a few things have helped. The first was to move the nightly book reading to our bed to help him settle down before going into the room with the baby sleeping. On advice from BPN, we got two cheap headlamps from REI, one for us and one for our son, and we use these in the room to read the last book and get into bed. The headlamps are such a novelty, and we only use them at bed time. Our son loves wearing them and reading with them, and it keeps the baby disturbance low. The key is turning down all the lights in the house and really mellowing him out before letting him into the room.

They will wake each other up sometimes. The baby's 5:30 am waking is the hardest--if our son wakes up, too, he has a hard time getting back to sleep. I spend a lot of the night in their room, either nursing the baby at night or getting my son back to sleep. Oddly, his night wakings (which he had for a while after the baby was born) rarely coincide with the baby crying. Have a comfortable chair in their room for you--it will be well worth the floor space!

Good luck--it can be done. And what a joy it is to check on them when they are both sleeping peacefully together. I love it! Best of Luck

We too have a 2 bedroom house and thought we'd have our sons, ages 3 and 9 months, share after the baby's first 3 months in our room. We tried that two or three times and gave up, mostly because it was too stressful for me. Everytime the baby woke up I worried he'd wake his brother, which he sometimes did and sometimes didn't, and the couple of times the older one called for us with a nightmare or whatever, he woke up the baby. I felt so on edge every time one of them stirred because I knew I'd be getting two back to sleep instead of just one. So we finally converted the study, a tiny room adjacent to the family room (with folding shutter doors only) into the baby's room. It's worked out great. I can't imagine having them in the same room with all the sleep issues you go through in the first year - sleep training, early waking, night waking with new milestones and teething - why subject the older one to all that waking too? Is there anywhere in your house that you could make into baby's area? anon
It's great! My #1 was 2 y/o exactly when #2 was born. #2 stayed in a bassinet in the living room for while, would get moved into a bedroom for naps, etc, and now they share a room together. They LOVE it. They are now 2 y/o and 4 y/o and you can hear them talking and singing in the morning when they wake up.

We didn't have any light sleeper issues (although #2 is a light sleeper) and when we go somewhere and the two happen to sleep in different rooms, #2 is especially sad. It's cute. family is great but hard

We did it up until recently when we moved to a 3 bedroom house. Our oldest went from crib to a twin bed six months before our baby was born. It took a lot of work to get him used to his newfound freedom. We took the crib down during this time. That way, when we put it back up, he wouldn't think the baby took it from him. Our baby was in our room longer than we anticipated because we weren't sure how to make the transition and she was a horrible sleeper. But, around six months, we put her in the crib. We'd put her down first and then he'd get a later bedtime after she went to sleep. This made him feel like a big boy. We ended up having to sleep train my daughter so for about four days, he slept with us in our bed. Then, we were fine. As they got older they'd cut up and laugh and we'd have to end the party, but I think that brought them closer. They pretty much shared a room well together and remain very close. My daughter had trouble adjusting to her new room and my son will get in bed with her to make her feel better. So, it's a good thing. Totally doable. two peas in a pod
just do it. sounds like a great plan. my 2 were also born 22 months apart. after being in a bassinet for 2 month in my room, we moved baby sister in with big brother. they'll adjust to whatever situation they are in. yes, sometimes one will wake the other, but in the long run, they'll figure it out. it works, trust me!
If at all possible, I recommend keeping the baby in your bedroom longer. For what it's worth, I firmly believe that all infants should sleep by their mother's side for AT LEAST a full year, older sibling or no older sibling -- and if I'd waited until my kids were sleeping through the night to move them out of a bassinet we'd've had a hard time, as that didn't happen until they were two years old!

But even if you're not a fan of co-sleeping, even if you plan to Ferberize, you can keep your baby's crib in your bedroom; it's much safer, especially when there's an active older sibling around.

Don't worry too much about the two children waking each other up when they do share a room. In my experience, and based on what I've heard from other moms, it's a very rare occurrence. Siblings may tend to keep each other from falling asleep at bedtime (mine frequently do, which is why even now, at ages 4 and 7, one of them is often sent to MY bed to fall asleep! I just transfer as needed when I'm ready to go to bed) but they don't often wake each other up during the night. Whenever you do put them in the same room, you might try to arrange your schedule so that you get one down and fully asleep before the other comes in to bed; it can be much easier than attempting simultaneous bedtimes. Holly

7 mo old and 2 yo share room/sleep training

Oct 2007

My 7 month old wakes up multiple times a night. We are having trouble getting a good sleep routine going, primarily because we only have two bedrooms. Our 2 year old is in one bedroom (we have a crib for the 7 month old there), but any time we try to have our 7 monther sleep in the kids' room, they wake each other up all night long. We've resorted to a port-a-crib in our room for the 7 month old. We wake her up with our coming and going, and then on top of that she wakes up on her own every 2-3 hours all night long. About half way through the night she ends up in bed with me, because I am so exhausted from waking up so often. Ideally we'd like for both kids to be in the same room. Does anyone have experience to share on sleep training when kids share a bedroom? exhausted

We also have 2 kids in a 2br house. Would it work to have the 2- year old sleep in your room for a while, like with her mattress on the floor in your bedroom? I would guess that your 2-year old sleeps more soundly than your 7-mo old. As for worrying about waking the child up with your coming and going, obviously make it so that you do not come and go from the bedroom except to get in and out of bed in the dark. Change in the living room or bathroom and keep all your clothes, pajamas, etc., that you'll need out there. Then once your 7-mo old is sleeping better in the crib (hopefully soon!), you can move your 2-year old back in there and get your own bedroom back. There will still be a transition as they get used to each other's night noises, but if they've both got good baseline sleep patterns, they'll be able to revert to that. And, at any rate, there's no way through that except to go through it. Good luck! Crammed in and making it work
Our kids shared a room since our baby was 8 months when we had to sleep train. They are 3.5yrs and 15 months old and share pretty well. It took us four days to do the Ferber method and get the baby sleeping through the night. During that time, whichever parent was the comforter, slept in the room with the baby and the oldest slept in our bed. We figured we'd get him on track after the baby could sleep through the night. Once the baby was sleeping through the night, we put her to bed about 30 minutes before the 3.5 year old. She gets her special routine and goes right to sleep. Then, the oldest gets special time with us before he goes down. Even if he makes a bit of noise going to bed, the baby sleeps right through. Our son does occasionally wake up if the baby cries out in the night. The baby will go right to sleep but he gets up and wants to get in bed with us. Our rule is he has to go back in his own bed before 4:30am. After that, we let him sleep with us. yes they can share a room

3yr old 8-m-o share a room - crying it out at night

May 2007

I have a three year old boy and a 7 month old girl that share a room. They both go down to sleep well at nap time and bed time. My challenge has been what to do about the baby's middle of the night waking to nurse. It's usually just once a night for about 5 minutes anywhere from 1:30 to 5:30 a.m. It's killing me! I would like to do the cry it out thing as we did with our son but the last time I did it, the whole house woke up! Should I just suck it up, prepare for my son waking up (and in turn waking up Daddy) just for a few nights until she is sleeping through the night? I try to make sure she is getting enough calories during the day so she doesn't go to be hungry. I would be interested to hear how others have coped with this situation. Other than this one thing, room sharing has gone really well. (I read all the previous posts which convinced me to do it. What a relief that was!) So Very Tired Mom

Hi tired mom. We did the cry it out method when our kids were 2 1/2 and 4 mos, sharing a room. We just prepared our older one by telling her that her sister would cry and that she (the baby) would be okay and would go to sleep again. She never even woke up during the baby's cries. There have been other times since then that one has cried out in the middle of the night, subsequentlly waking the other up, but the rule in our house is that we don't come in when either of them do it and they are expected to go back to sleep. We remind the 3 year old of this if she gets into a spell of waking and the 1 year old is confined by the crib and so returns to sleep with no other choice. It works for us and these days we're not even sure if the non- cryer wakes up or not, as we don't hear a peep (we think they are used to it and have adjusted). All kids are different, but I say go for it. If your son wakes up (and then wakes daddy), it's not that big of a deal (much better option than a constantly tired mommy and wife) and will only be for a night or two probably. It's good to have a plan, though and stick to it because even if you get lucky with no waking this time, there will likely be a time in the future when it comes up again. Good luck! well rested and thankful
I have two children -- ages 2 and 4. My elder sleeps like a champ and my younger, well, I am lucky to get two full nights out of seven without an interruption from her. I attribute partially to letting my elder cry it out for a few nights while always rushing to my younger to get her quiet and back to sleep.

I have since learned that my elder child could probably sleep through an air raid siren in her bedroom. My children were sleeping in different rooms, but I was so afraid at the time that the younger would wake the older (they shared a wall) that I just let it go.

If I had a do-over, I would have done CIO and not worried about my elder daughter. If they shared a room, I would have found another place for her (our bed, a sleeping back on the sofa, etc) for a few days to let it happen. jan

Sleeping arrangements for 5mo and 16mo

June 2006

Hi! I have 2 girls age 5 months and 16 months. The 16 month old sleeps in a crib (which is one of those 4 in 1 cribs that converts) and our 5 month old sleeps in a moses basket. Our 5 month old has practically outgrown the moses basket and we are debating if we should just buy another crib or bunk beds or ???? We are trying to explore all possibilities so I thought we might find some other ideas from BPN. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Yea they're really close!

I have an 18 month old who is nowhere near to leaving her crib, so if I had a 5 month old, I would definitely get a second crib, perhaps a basic one off of BPN or craigslist, rather than a fancy fancy one, and let both girls be in their own cribs as long as they want. I don't think that by the time your youngest is ready for a big girl bed, the oldest will be ready for a top bunk, so I'd wait on the bunk bed for quite awhile! anon
I think you need two cribs for those Irish twins of yours. 16 months seems way to early for a toddler bed (my kids stayed in cribs up until they were three.) And, top bunks are not recommended until age six - for disorientation & falling issues. Why not get another that converts to a bed, then you'll be set until the youngest one is about five -Good luck.
They are too young for bunk beds. Get a second crib. It doesn't have to be a big financial investment. I would get one that would convert to a toddler bed for your older daughter next year.
Try putting the older one in a toddler bed. You can get one pretty cheap and it will last for several years. Both of my sons moved into toddler beds at 13 mos. That was the age when I caught them both scaling the sides of thie cribs so I moved them lower so they couldn't fall and get hurt. Yes, sometimes they got out of bed when they weren't supposed to, but their room was child proofed and we put a baby gate up so they wouldn't wander the house. mom of 2

Bed/Crib arrangement for 2 yo and infant

November 2005

We are expecting our second child and plan to have both children in the same room eventually. They will be a little over 2 years apart. However, the room is fairly small and already feels full with a dresser/changing table, glider, and crib. I'm wondering if anyone has a crib that has a trundle bed underneath? I've been looking online and can't seem to find one. So maybe this is not such a good idea since it doesn't seem to be available. Should we just go ahead a buy a regular bed? Of course we can move some furniture but then it just makes things a bit more inconvenient for nighttime wakings (but I guess we will feel compelled to bring the crying child out of the room anyway). Would love to hear any thoughts on bed/crib arrangements! Mimi

We have a similar situation. Our daughters are 19 mos. apart. (the younger was born 6 weeks ago.) We moved the glider out of the room and put in a toddler bed and moved the older out of the crib into the toddler bed a few months before the baby was due. We refer to the big girl bed and point to the crib for the baby. For now, the glider is in our bedroom as is the pack and play with the bassinet attachment and this is where the baby sleeps. I do put the baby in the crib for naps or just to look at the mobile when the older girl is home so she can see that the baby goes in the crib and won't be surprised when we permanently move the baby into the room. If you put the baby in that room from the beginning, I think you're right that you'll take the baby out when it's crying and needs to nurse, although I've found that my older daughter can sleep right through the baby's crying -at least when we're in the car. Hope this helps. mom of 2 under 2
My kids are closer in age than yours will be so we never considered a regular bed and ended up buying a second crib - used at Darla's in El Cerrito (got a great deal). We have a 6 month old girl and a 19 month old boy who have been sharing a smallish room now for the last 2 months. Other than naps and sleeping, we don't spend that much time in the bedroom, so all it has in it are the two cribs, wall shelves and a dresser. We kept our baby in our room in a bassinet for the first few months, put her down for naps in the crib to get her used to it, AND to get our son used to having a ''roommate''. And then when she was about 4 months old, we decided to just put her in and see what happens. Basically, it's working out just fine - we have our good nights and our not so good nights. We adjust the sleeping situation as need be - i.e. if one of the kids is sick or teething or whatever, they'll sleep in our room in the pack-n- play. I guess the only thing about having two young kids in the same room is that we are less likely to let them cry or make noise. Sometimes our baby wakes up in the middle of the night and starts cooing and laughing and playing. If she were in her own bedroom, I'd probably just let her play and fall back asleep but I don't want my son to wake up so I'll get up with her, feed her and then put her back down to sleep. I guess I'd rather be up with one baby at 3:00 am than with two! Good luck! lstern
I would offer a word of caution against putting a 2YO and infant in the same room. I know people have done it but I couldn't do it with my kids (26 months apart). The danger seems too great. My 2YO was really looking foward to helping with the baby when she finally arrived and I could just see her throwing extra blankets or toys into the crib when we weren't in the room and the baby suffocating as a result. It may sound paranoid but it has happened. At a day care center I know of, the 2 & 3 YOs had access to the room where the infants were sleeping. One infant was smothered to death when a toddler put a bunch of toys in the crib where she was sleeping. So I guess my advice on bed /crib combinations is - don't. lynn
My kids are 25 months apart. We keep the glider in the living room so that their room has a crib, a toddler-bed and a dresser/changing table. My youngest has slept in the room since she outgrew the bassinet around 4 months old. This set-up has worked well for us.

We are now expecting a third child and still have the same size room! I spent time looking for a crib-size trundle bed with no luck, either. There are some cribs with trundle-style storage drawers underneath, but these aren't big enough for a crib mattress. I did find a kid's furniture store on College (I forget the name, maybe Kid's Room?) that said they could special- order a crib-size trundle drawer to my dimensions. Instead, I built one myself (I'm relatively handy, but no mastercraftsman). Now we're ready to go with the crib-size trundle bed stored underneath a twin-size daybed (for the oldest) and the crib all in the same room. afern

3-year-old and infant sharing a room - safety?

August 2005

We are hoping to put our 3 year-old and our 4 month-old in the same room ASAP. I have read the related posts and agree with most parents, who feel that sharing a room is a great thing. Our concern has to do with safety for the baby - - our toddler is VERY affectionate with his brother, but sometimes that affection gets a little rough. Also, he likes to wake his brother up. We wonder how other parents ensure that the baby is ''safe'' from the toddler. I saw the posts about the crib tent, but apparently there is only one manufacturer and the product received some extremely NEGATIVE reviews on Amazon. Any suggestions about makeshift barriers etc. would be welcome. Laura

Our children have been sharing a room since our second was 6 months old (our first was 2 yrs. 9 months when he moved in.) We waited until he was able (for the most part) to sleep through the night. For the most part it has gone very well. Here's what we did. We told our elder that her brother was moving in and she had some say in how we rearranged the room so we could fit in the crib. We had her part of the moving of the crib (so she didn't just come home one day and find her room altered.) And then we explained that she could not put anything in the crib because that would be very dangerous for her brother. And she has complied. She was actually excited for him to move in and every night she has a ritual of standing over his crib watching him sleep before she gets into bed. We read stories in a different room and she is fine with that. One book we read a lot during the transition was ''Cuddle Time'' -- which is about two kids waking up together and going into their parents room and pouncing on them. We tried to ''sell'' the idea that Mom and Dad share a room and so they should share a room too. I think the success of the safety aspect has been her acceptance of them sharing a room for sleeping.

Now having said that, they do wake each other up from time to time. We have a pack and play in our room to move the baby into if things get bad -- and if she wants out she sleeps in our bed with us. But this has been less common lately and I think they are just learning to sleep through each other's bad nights. Now if I could only get them to share other things so well... :) Good luck! anon

Three kids, two bedrooms

June 2005

We are planning to adopt a baby girl next year (who will be close to a year old). At that time, I will also have a 4.5 year old girl and a 2.5 year old boy. They each have their own rooms now. I'm trying to figure out where to put the baby! I don't know if I should put the two oldest together, the two youngest together or put the girls together inspite of the age difference. Help! Any advice from people who've been thru this before would be appreciated! Wish I had another bedroom

Hi - I would either put your new child in your room with you and keep your older children where they are (at least for a little while, until everyone is more used to the transition) or I would double up your older kids and give the new child her own room. Unless you think your older kids won't like this (my kids LOVE sharing a room - they definitely don't see it as a ''punishment'') Later, when they are older, the girls should share a room. mom of three little guys

Should 21-month-old and baby share a room?

Nov 2004

We're expecting a new baby boy in about a month who will arrive when my older daughter is 21 months old. My husband and I are disagreeing over whether the kids should share a room or each have their own room. We have a 3-bedroom house, so they could theoretically have their own rooms if we give up the study/guest room. I'd prefer the kids to each have their own space, mostly because I feel guilty about making my daughter share everything so soon (this was an unplanned pregnancy) and I feel her room is one thing at least that could remain hers and hers only. I'm also worried about the baby waking his older sister, who is a light sleeper. My husband says she is too young to care about having to share a room and that sharing a room will build a better friendship between the two kids. He's also worried about making guest accomodations less comfortable for visiting grandparents (they would have to sleep on a futon in a downstairs living room). Would like to hear what others' experiences have been, especially those with similarly spaced children. Thanks! Soon to be Mom of 2

Yes! I side with your husband on this one. I grew up with my own room and really wanted that for my kids, but with the space squeeze freinds and husband convinced me to keep the boy and girl in the same room and it worked GREAT. In my case, the older one almost never woke up because of crying (another concern) and they really enjoyed the feeling of knowing someone else was in the room. Epiloge: We moved to a bigger house, they now have their own rooms, and I actually regret that I didn't put them together again. The older boy misses the ''company'' and I think it would have been a fine arrangement for years. anon
My daughter and her baby brother share a room and have pretty much since birth. (Actually, when he was still waking up at night we kept his crib in our bedroom.) They LOVE sharing a room. We have given them both the option for him to move into the playroom/guest room, and they always choose to keep on sharing. They play together well and love each other... it's very sweet.

I have a friend with 7 children who lives in a 3-bedroom apartment. All the children sleep in one room and study in the other bedroom. I can't complain about not having enough room around her! My mom grew up in a family with 8 children and several adults in a 5-room house. I think it's good for developing social skills! You can always move them apart when they're teenagers.

My children are 16 months apart, and I had planned for them to share a room. Our older child was a wonderful sleeper, and I (wrongly) assumed our second child would be the same. Once the baby was born, however, all of our planning went out the window, because the baby was a noisy and poor sleeper. There was no way that we could put him in the room with our daughter, so he has been sleeping in a crib in our room. I guess what I am saying is, you might want to wait until your baby is born before you make any hard decisions about this stuff. Every baby is unique, and if you get a good sleeper who wakes with a gentle quiet cry, than sharing the room may work. If you get a baby like mine, though, it won't. Also, I just wanted to comment on the fact that you are feeling guilty about making your older child share. I totally understand those feelings, because I had them as well. The thing is, though, you have no idea how your older child is going to feel, so it is important that you don't project those feelings onto her. I found myself doing that the first few weeks after my baby was born, and it made the transition much more difficult than it needed to be. Then I read the following advice: Rather than looking at the baby as taking away love and attention from your older child, view the baby as a new person who will also love and give your older child attention. As soon as you start looking at things in that way -- that the baby is actually going to enrich your older child's life and bring more love to your older child -- you'll have an easier time. Good luck with these changes. They can be difficult, but they are worth it. Mother of Two
I have an 8 month old and a 3.10 year old. When baby was 6 months old, i was ready for him to move out of my bed. My toddler was also inthe bed. And so I asked my toddler if he would be so kind as to sleep in his bed with the baby in the crib, bucause baby doesn't want to be alone in the room. He loved it. He sleeps there and enjoys his bed now. I sleep better with him out of my still makes visits. But, it brings a bond. I shared a room with my brother when I was a girl up to age 7 or so...and I lvoed it. anything that can build special bonds is well worth it. I plan on having my kids share a room until the older is 8 years old. yancy
Yes, in my opinion, they should share a room. I have an almost 5 year old and almost 3 year old (both girls) who have been sharing a room since the younger one moved from bassinet in our room (at about 2 months; the older one was just over 2 yrs.) to her crib in their room. We never gave it a second thought (true, they're both girls...but I'll tell you below why I think it's still a good thing to share.)

I was scared to death that the baby waking, crying, and wanting to be fed 3 times a night would wake the older one, who didn't sleep through the night til she was 18 months! But very surprisingly, she slept right through the crying and rocking and nursing back to sleep. I was amazed. Since then, we've bought 2 twin beds (they were in a crib and low futon til this summer), and tried to squeeze the crib in there too--we're expecting a boy in January. But it was the sheer size of all the furniture that made us decide to give up our treasured 3rd bedroom (our rarely used guestroom, AKA Grandma's Room) for the baby boy. We would have put all 3 kids in together if the room was big enough. The girls seem to really enjoy sharing a room--the older one probably has no memory of having her own room. Yes, they fight and bicker, as all siblings do, but they also hug, and play together, and love each other.

I think they really enjoy each other's company at night, and one will not fall asleep easily if the other is not there. They chat in the evenings and mornings and play in their big-girl beds during the day...

I always had my own room as a child, and my brother had his, but I was often scared of the dark, and would lie awake listening for scary noises. In retrospect, I think I would have enjoyed sharing a room with him, at least until the pre-teen or teen years.

I say, put them in there together, and if or when #3 comes along, THEN consider giving your oldest her own room, or put the new baby in the guestroom. Best of luck with your family of 4, whatever you decide! Heidi

We have a 3 bedroom house, too - and our 2 kids share a bedroom. They are 26 months apart and our now 4 and 2. We moved our little one in at about 4 months (after family bed & bassinette) and it's been great. Even when the baby woke up in the middle of the night, our older one slept through it. Like your husband said, I think the kids enjoy the experience and it freed up our 3rd bedroom. So far there hasn't been an issue about wanting private space - but we predict that will happen in a few years, and we'll separate them then. Good luck! anon
our son and daughter are 22-months apart. they shared a room early on because we only had a 2-bedroom house. but even after we moved to our 3 bedroom place a year later, we ended up keeping them together (after trying separate rooms for a while). they really liked being together. now that they are 4 and 6, they have their own rooms. the kids tend to adapt to what they are faced with. your daughter is still young enough that having a baby shouldn't be traumatic. mother of 2
Yes, they could share a room, for the next two years or so. However, it would be very hard on your daughter to have to give up her personal space, even at such a young age, and it could definatly bring some major sibling resentment. Also, if you do decide on sharing, you should DEFINATLY put a bassinet in your room until you son can sleep through the night completly. It would be completly unfair-not to mention unhealthy-if your daughter was woken by your sons cries. In all, I think that if you are thinking about what is best for your children, you should put them in seperate rooms. However, if you feel you really need the study/ guest room space, they will surivive, but be prepared for seperate rooms in a few years. May

28-month-old and 4-month-old sharing a room

November 2003

I have a 28 month old and a 4 month old. The baby has been sleeping in a bassinet in our room; however will soon outgrow it. I would like to move him into the crib that it is in our older son's room (older son sleeps in a twin bed). Both kids go to bed sometime between 8 and 9 pm.

How do I coordinate them sleeping in the same room? Do I put the baby down in our room and then move him later?

I am interested in hearing how other parents with 2/+ kids sharing a room do it.

Our children are 16 months apart, and have shared a room since the younger one moved out of our bed at about 5 months. At first, I would put the baby to sleep in our bed, then get the toddler into her bed, then move the baby to his crib. Now they both go to bed at around 8pm, and we just have one big bedtime ritual - shared bath, put on pjs, sing songs, read 2 books (each kid picks one), then everyone in bed.

We haven't had a huge problem with them waking each other up at night. The older child knows that she needs to keep quiet so her brother doesn't wake up. The younger child sometimes wakes up crying, but I keep a travel crib on hand that I can move him to if he doesn't go back to sleep easily, and needs to be moved.

It works, fear not! another mom of 2

A typical night for us goes like this: Dad gives (1 year old) baby a bath around 7pm and dresses her in nighties. Mom gives bottle and reads story to baby in the kid's room while dad gives bath to toddler; baby is deposited into the crib and mom leaves. Around 7:45, toddler is dressed in nighties and ready for bed. Most of the time, baby is asleep by now, but if not, toddler gets extra long snuggle time. We had our toddler help set up a special place in the master bedroom for snuggle time(which used to take place in toddler's bed). After snuggle time, we sneak quietly into the kid's room and toddler gets tucked in. Toddler sometimes talks out loud our sings herself to sleep and so far the baby has slept through it.

Bedtime went well for us. But, night wakings were really hard (they both woke up ALWAYS), and often the toddler would not go to sleep after baby's early morning wake up. Toddler became really cranky after a few months of sharing, so we have temporarily separated them again. But, i'm ready to try again in a week or so..... Camille

My boys (3 years age difference) share a room. I can't remember how old the younger was when we moved him out of the bassinet and into the crib in his room, but I am sure it was by at most 2 mos.

We have always put both boys to bed at the same time. When the younger was still nursing I would nurse him while my husband read to our older son. Then they both were put in bed and went to sleep. Fortunately my older son sleeps like a log, so the baby waking during the night never disturbed him. Otherwise the schedule goes something like: brushteeth, pjs, get in bed, story, song, lights out. Once the baby moved into a toddler bed we added a second story for him since he wanted to pick a book just like his brother.

Also, the toddler bed only lasted a few months. One night the baby decided that he preferred to stay in his brother's bed after story time to sleep. Now the two share a bed and are inseparable. I have even found them both sleeping on the floor because the older decided it would be fun to ''camp out'' and the baby followed him.

Some nights it does take longer than others for them to get to sleep. Early on I don't think it was ever related to them sharing a room... the older one just wasn't sleepy some nights. Now it is because of sharing. Some nights they giggle too much. Sometimes they fight a little while first. Usually once one falls asleep the other does too. Most nights they both fall asleep easily. Rose

My kids, now 2 & 5 have shared a room since no. 2 came along (or shortly thereafter). I have found it much easier than I thought it would be. The younger one goes to bed first. Then the oldest one gets her books read to her in our bed, then is walked into the room, gets into bed and goes to sleep. The younger one got used to noise early on and she rarely wakes, especially now that she's older. and there were times when the older one was making a lot of noise! when the baby was not sleeping through the night, and she'd often wake up the older one, I'd get her out of the crib, sit on the older one's bed and nurse. Then the older one would fall back asleep, I'd put the baby back and that was that. The only bad thing is that my youngest is a really early riser (6 am) and my oldest could sleep/should sleep until 7. So the youngest usually wakes the oldest because she's still in a crib and can't just get out and come get us. She has to yell etc and so wakes her sister up. So that is when I wish they each had a room. But that will change eventually so I don't worry about it much. If the oldest wakes up early, she goes to bed early. Hilary

Worried about Toddler & Infant sharing a room

January 2003

Hi, everyone: My 2 1/2 year old son has had his own room since he was born, but now we have a new baby sister for him. We don't have an extra room, so she will have to go into his room (she's 6 months). We have already moved him into a ''big boy bed'' in preparation, but I am now starting to have second thoughts. Although he is usually very loving with her, he occasionally gets way too physical, and has actually bitten and hit her so hard she cried. Not often, but enough to make me worry about leaving them in the room together all night long. I have a monitor, but I am still nervous that he is going to climb into the crib and hurt her somehow before I can get it to rescue her. Anyone else had this experience? Any suggestions? Thoughts? Many thanks! Kelly

have you considered a crib tent? i have a friend that uses one to keep her climber safely in, but it has a zipper and would clearly be a challenge for the 2.5 year old to gain entry. it might give you the peace of mind you are looking for. linee
Have you thought of getting a crib tent for your daughter? They are designed to keep climbing toddlers inside of the crib, but I don't see why it wouldn't help keep your son out? Good Luck! Julie

Toddler & Baby Sharing a Room

Dec 2001

20-month-old and 6-month-old

We have a 20 month old and a 6 month old and would like them to start sharing a room. Anyone have advice on making the transition? When one wakes up doesn't it always wake the other? The older one is too young to understand the go back to sleep, honey thing and just cries when woken. Then everyone is up... should we wait? Any advice is welcome. Thanks! Rachel

2.9-year-old and a 12-month-old

We have a 2.9 month old boy and a 12 month old boy who need to share a room. The baby has been in our room in his crib so far. They both sleep very well but the baby wakes up a bit earlier than his brother in the morning and our older one is sleeping less for his naps, though pretty much at the same time as the baby. I'd like him to have quiet time in his room ven if he doesn't want to sleep. How can I intoduce the baby to the toddler's room without messing up their sleep needs and making our older son feel like his room has been invaded? We spend a lot of time during the day in his room, sharing toys etc. Should we do this asap or do we wait??? I've had the boys share once or twice a week on days when the older one had to get up for preschool anyway but how do we handle naps? Any ideas??? P.R

My 3 1/2 year old son and my 14 month old daugher have been sharing a room for about 8 months. We basically didn't make too big a deal out of it. About a 2 months before we moved her in, we told him it was going to happen and made it sound like a great and exciting thing; about 1 month out, we moved the crib in and started having her nap in there. He in turn got to nap in our bed--we made this a big honor! We also bought each of them a big wooden toy chest and painted them different colors. His toys go in his toy chest and that has really become his space--instead of the whole room! When something is special and he doesn't want to share, he can put it in there.

Then once we moved her in--she was at that point only waking at 4 to nurse--we would put her to bed about 1/2 hour before him and she was usually asleep when he went down. When she wasn't, it didn't seem to keep her awake longer having him in there. In general it's worked well--they seem to take great comfort in having each other around. The only downside is that I think she would sleep later in the morning if he didn't wake her up at 7 to play. He'll actually get books, turn on the light and climb in her crib!...And lately, she's been waking because of teething and he sleeps right through it! Good luck! Saskia

My kids (now 2 and 4) have shared a room since my younger son was 6 months old. They both go through periods where they wake up a lot at night (nightmares, colds, bathroom trips, etc.) and amazingly, 9 times out of 10, they do not wake each other up. At a very early point, we combined their bedtime routine and they go to bed together (we have silly time post pajamas, pre-brushing teeth and books, so they get that out of their system early). After they are tucked in, I stay in their room and sing songs, tell quiet stories and count to 100 until the younger one is asleep (I know, not acceptable to the Ferbers out there) and the older one is nearly asleep. Our younger son still wakes up earlier, and he now knows to call for me quietly, I come and get him (he's still in his crib) and it usually doesn't wake up his brother. Of course, when they both wake up it's a complete and total nightmare, for which I have no advice.
April 1999 Does anyone have advice about toddler and baby sharing a room? We have two sons, 3 1/2 and 1. Currently the 3 1/2 year old has his own room and the baby is in our room. We'd like them to share a room; the room is large and the toddler says he'd like that (as long as his baby brother is small and cute--which of course isn't going to be the case forever!).

They get along very well except for very occasional moments of he grabbed my toy, but the 3 1/2 year old is definitely not old enough to realize that he shouldn't throw a blanket over his brother's face or knock him over etc. That's my hesitation; on the other hand, I know that lots of kids share a room from very early on. Any advice on handling the transition and on safeguarding the little one from the big guy (and the big guy's toys from the little one?) Corliss

We moved our second child in with the first when the baby was a few months old and the older child was 2 years old, and they were both very happy. Then we moved our third child into the same room when the first was 5, the second was 3, and the third was a few months old. Again, they were all happy with the arrangement (until they got a few years older and wanted more room).

During sleep hours, the sharing arrangement worked surprisingly well. The older children slept through the baby's crying, and they never did anything objectionable or unsafe to the baby. During the baby's naptimes, I did need to keep the older kids out of the bedroom. During waking hours, the children's interaction and my supervision of them were basically the same as when the baby slept in my room.

I recommend having children share rooms for at least a few of their growing up years. Speaking as someone with a college roommate who had never shared a room before, I can tell you that sharing a room as a child builds valuable social skills for later living with roommates and spouses. Beverly

We put my daughter in with her older brother when he was four, and we put their beds close together because he wanted to hold hands as he fell asleep! But we also put a gate up so that she couldn't get into the room on her own, at first. Now she is a toddler, and the gate is rarely up, but when he wants to play without her, or doesn't want some set up to be destroyed, the gate goes up. She fusses abit, but all her toys are kept in the adjoining living room, and so I can usually distract her. Also, I'll put her in the crib with some toys when I'm in their room with my son. I think it is good to preserve the older one's space. As a result (maybe) he doesn't ask for the gate so often.

Also, it is good to stagger bedtimes, but sometimes they enjoy falling asleep together, giggling and playing for awhile, then settling down. A couple of times we've had to separate them to get her asleep. They both end up in our bed by the time the night is over, but I think sleeping near each other, and playing together like that at bed time, is a great thing. Kateri

Baby and 4-year-old Sharing a Room

Any more advice and strategies about young children sharing a room? (I read and enjoyed the few postings on the website). We are planning our second, but we only have two bedrooms (they'll be 3 or 4 years apart.) How does one deal wtih practical matters (keeping chokable toys away from the little one, dealing with nighttime sleep and naps), and emotional issues (won't the older one feel like the new one is invading his space?) At what age is it better to give each his or her own room? (Does gender matter?)
I recommend that the older child have a bunk-style bed (at chest level). The Kids' Room, Berkeley (841-5068), has these for a decent price. Pottery Barn sells a set of cloth pouches that hook over the end of the bed with velcro for $29. The older child can keep all the small mouth-size toys on her bunk. As for helping the older child feel a part of bringing the new child into her room: devise some projects in which she can participate like shopping for baby clothes, furnishings, toys, making a quilt, drawing special pictures for the wall, and so on. Using a clothesline and sheet if the room is large enough, the older child could have some privacy (and light) while the other child is sleeping. Our 5-year old is getting used to the idea of playing quietly while his dad rests so it could work pretty well, assuming sound sleepers on both sides of the sheet!