When people find out my daughters share a room, they inevitably have tons of questions. Can it work when they are babies? How does bedtime work? What about nap time? Is there sibling rivalry? Do they love it? Do you love it? Do you hate it?
Room sharing isn’t for everyone, but if you want to give it a shot, it can be a blast. And hey, sometimes you just have to make it work. My top tips for successfully putting more than one kid in a bedroom:
- Make it an event: For my kiddos, we got bunk beds. You can debate the safety of bunk beds elsewhere, because my kids are in them. And they love them! For my girls, bunk beds meant they each got a brand new bed, and, of course, the oldest got the top bunk. You can also make it an event by rearranging existing furniture, swapping bedding, getting new name signs or other wall decor, or offering rewards.
- Treat it as a coming of age ritual: We transitioned to bunk beds when my youngest was ready to move out of her crib into a toddler bed. She was of course thrilled about her big girl bed, and the oldest was thrilled to move to the top bunk. They both got to be “big girls” in their own ways.
- Institute a specific bedtime/naptime routine from the beginning: If you have a baby and a toddler in the same room, this may involve putting the baby to bed first while reading to the toddler in another space. For older kids, try reading books together and then giving them some alone time to wind down together.
- Have rules, but be flexible: My daughters both have a bedtime of 8 pm, but my Kindergartener often likes to stay up and read a little while. For this purpose she has a nightlight, but she knows if she keeps her sister up too late, there will be consequences.
- Give your kids a sense of ownership: Just because they share a room doesn’t mean everything has to match. Nor does it mean they have to have to be in there together every minute of every day. Find other places in the house for them to express themselves individually.
- Be cool with some chatting: My girls talk to each other constantly after lights out. Sometimes it means they stay up later, but they will go to sleep eventually. And I love the close bond these nights provides them with. How fun to stay up late talking with your sister, #amirite?
- Teach respect: In my house, you do not wake up a sleeping person unless it is absolutely necessary. My five-year-old tends to like to sleep in on weekends, and her sister does not. It has taken a few rough mornings, but my four-year-old knows to give her sister a chance to sleep in. Everyone will have a better day for it.
Do your kids share a room? Have any other tips for our readers? As always, leave your questions below. I’m happy to share!