Older Sibling Sharing a Bedroom with Preschooler

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Talkative preschooler is keeping older sibling awake

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.

Quiet alone time when 4 & 6 year old share a 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