How your kids can share a bedroom - without you losing sleep
Whether you’re doing it to save on space (and on the finances!) or to foster a closer relationship between your kids, sharing a bedroom definitely has its pros and cons. A shared bedroom can result in a blissful union between two like-minded siblings, but it can also be a great source of conflict. The good news is that if you take the needs of both kids into consideration, and set some all important ground rules, a shared bedroom can work.
Advantages of kids sharing a bedroom
Sharing a bedroom with a sibling can teach kids some valuable life lessons. A combined bedroom can:
- Teach kids the art of sharing, compromise and assertiveness.
- Teach kids how to respect other people’s property.
- Be very conducive to collaborative play/projects.
- Help comfort a child who may suffer from nightmares or other bedtime related fears.
Disadvantages of kids sharing a bedroom
Although the advantages of sharing a bedroom are significant, there are also some disadvantages worth noting:
- Sharing a bedroom can cause conflict between kids who have different temperaments and personalities.
- Some older kids might have privacy issues.
- Kids that have different sleep schedules can disrupt one another.
- Arguments may come up over closet and storage space.
Tips for a baby sharing a room with a toddler
The biggest hurdle when putting a toddler and a baby in the same room is working out a co-ordinated sleep schedule, so that both kids are disturbed as little as possible. Try to wait until the baby is six months old before setting up the combined room, and be prepared for a bit of chaos in the beginning as you figure out the best way of using the space for maximum result:
- If your toddler and baby have a day time nap at the same time, it’s a good idea to put one child to sleep first and then the other. Trying to put them both down at the same time could mean that neither of them sleep! Do a bit of experimenting; you may find it easier to put the fussier one down first or the other way around.
- If one child wakes earlier in the morning than the other, remove the early riser from the room as quickly as possible so the other child is not disturbed. If one is child is being continually disturbed, try to resettle that child in their bed. Both kids will eventually get used to sharing a room and will become much more immune to each other’s noises. Persistence is the key.
- Make sure that the room is safe and that the toddler cannot climb into the baby’s cot or pass the baby any toys that could pose a choking hazard.
Tips for a toddler sharing a room with a school child
The key to success here is to make the idea of sharing appealing to both your toddler and your older child. Allow both of them to include things in the room that they really love. If the kids are happy the space will be peaceful and uncomplicated:
- Decorate the room in neutral tones and give each child a space to add their own decorative touches.
- Assign individual storage and closet space, as well as individual book shelves and toy tubs – this will definitely reduce conflict over who touched whose toy!
- Give each child their own lamp and bedside table.
- Make rules about respecting each other’s property.
Tips for a baby sharing a room with a school child
Big kids may balk at this idea at first but if you give them creative control of the space, and highlight the advantages of this living arrangement, most will come around to the idea quite quickly:
- Many older kids love the responsibility that comes with being the older sibling. So give them some special jobs to do in the combined space, like reading a bedtime story to the baby.
- Ensure the older child knows not to enter the bedroom when the baby is asleep, or to do so very quietly.
- Allow the older sibling to have several periods of alone time in the bedroom every day.
- Older children tend to be very good at sleeping through the night time wakings of a baby, but still it’s best to wait until the baby is at least six months of age before combining bedrooms.
More sleep articles
- Introducing a bedtime routine
- Daylight saving and your child's bedtime routine
- Moving your toddler from a cot to a bed
- Going to bed problems
This article was written by Jo Harris for Kidspot,.
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