My daughter and son started sharing a room when Ivy was 3 years old and George was 18 months old. We decided to move them into the same room because Ivy had started saying that she was scared and lonely at night. We talked to Ivy and George about sharing a room and they were both very keen so we moved George’s cot into Ivy’s room.
Three years later and they are still happily sharing a bedroom.
Lots of parents worry that sharing a room will mean more disturbed nights because they will wake each other up and that they will become over excited at bedtime and struggle to fall asleep. For us, it has been the opposite. As soon as George moved in with Ivy, she stopped saying that she was lonely at night and yes, to begin with, bedtimes were a little more raucous but within a week they were going to bed easily.
Here are my top tips for a smooth transition
1. Time it right. Ideally make the transition when they are getting on, there is no illness, teething, sleep progressions or any big changes like potty training.
2. Let them spend lots of time playing in the bedroom with the new bed/cot step up during the day. This helps to reduce the excitement at bedtime.
3. Talk to your eldest child about the move, and share your expectations at bedtime and naptime.
4. Let the youngest child start by taking their nap in the new room.
5. If both children nap during the day, role play this so that they know what to expect when it comes to nap time. I had a lovely period where Ivy and George napped together every day and there was often an overlap of 90 minutes! When Ivy dropped her nap, George would have FOMO so we would pretend we were all going for a nap and then Ivy and I would creep out once he was asleep.
6. Set expectations. Make sure both children know that if one of them wakes up, you will come and comfort them (the other one can go straight back to sleep).
7. Pre-empt any disagreements around sleep preference like the use of nightlights as opposed to darkness. If you have one child who really likes darkness but the other likes to have some light, eye masks can really help.
8.Try using white noise. If there are wake ups in the night, white noise can really help to keep the other child asleep. It can also help if one child wakes for the day earlier than the other.
9. Aim to honour each child’s sleep routine and needs. This may mean having two different bedtimes and bringing in one child when the other is already asleep. For me I have had to do bedtime at the same time as I’m often solo parenting at this time. I have found this tricky at times because George doesn’t need to go to bed as early as Ivy. But I have always let him play quietly (in the bedroom) whilst I have sat or laid with Ivy and then once he is tired he will get into bed and go to sleep. He knows that if he needs me I will lie down with him but most of the time he falls asleep easily once he has got the last bit of his energy out.
10. Have a back up plan for when one child is ill or goes through a sleep progression (regression). This could be to have them in your bed (if it is safe to do so) or to have a travel cot in your room.
Any Questions ?
I would love to answer any questions you have about siblings sharing a room, you can ask these in the comments below.