Siblings Sharing a Bedroom

Sharing a bedroom can be a polarising topic. Some people believe children SHOULD NOT share a room if they do not need to (for example, if the house has enough space in it). On the other end of the spectrum, some people believe that children SHOULD share a bedroom, even if the house has enough space.

Let’s look at some things that can happen when sharing and not sharing a room:

Sharing a bedroomNot sharing a bedroom
The child learns to share their space with another person.The child does not have their own space for their own things.
The children may enjoy having company at bedtime and in the morning.The child might prefer to be on their own at bedtime and in the morning.
The child can wake if the other child stirs.The child has the ability to sleep peacefully without interruptions from others.
The kids may play at bedtime when they should be sleeping.The child has no distractions from sleep so can fall asleep easily.
One child may not be as “ready” to sleep as the other child.The child can fall asleep when it suits them.
Naps can be tricky if both children nap.Each child can nap in their own room.

As one of four children, I grew up sharing a room with my older sister. Of course we had arguments, there is a 5 year age gap between us. My older sister wanted to stay up and read in bed while I struggled to fall struggled because of the light being on.

Now my children share a room, they started sharing when my youngest was approximately 18 months of age. The reason they share a room is because of space (we now use the “old” bedroom as an office) and because they both said they wanted to. We respected their wishes and put them in the same room. Was it smooth sailing? Well, mostly.

Here are some things to help make your transition smooth:

1. Plan when the move will happen

Choose a day when you firstly have time to move the furniture around, and secondly, when you have the time to prepare them for their new bedroom.

2. Help the kids get used to their new environment

Get the kids to help set their room up (even if it’s bringing their comforters/sleep aids from the old room into the new room or carry books over).

Keep their beds and sheets the same (especially if the position of their bed will change). DON’T try to move one child out of a cot and into a bed at the same time as changing rooms.

3. Teach your children to put themselves to sleep (and back to sleep).

This will not only give you better sleep but will help them put independently themselves back to sleep if they are disturbed by their sibling for any reason.

It does not matter if your child still wakes at night for a feed because their sibling will be able to return to sleep without difficulty.

4. Establishing good sleep patterns

A good routine is always helpful, whether the children share a bedroom or not. But having a good routine that is the same (or similar) for both children certainly helps.

The routine in our house is:
bath time
put on pyjamas
read two books
toilet then nappy on
look at the pictures in one book (great for building even more language)
last kisses/cuddles
lights out and in bed

5. Don’t forget the basics!

Remember to keep using white noise, black out the room, keep the room at a good temperature, dress/wrap the children correctly for the temperature (including using sleeping bags).

6. Teach your children the boundaries when sharing a room.

Boundaries help children know what is expected from them and can help them know how to act in different situations. Some boundaries you could teach are “we let people keep sleeping” or “we stay in our own beds”.

7. Respect that the children are individuals

Each child will still have their own sleep needs so ensure that these are still met as though they were in their own bedroom. There will be days where one needs to be put to bed earlier because of skipping a nap for example. On these occasions, stagger bedtime and try to leave at least 20 minutes between the children going to bed to give time for the earlier child to fall asleep before the later child enters the room. You could also complete most of the later child’s bedtime routine in a different part of the house then enter the bedroom for last kisses and in bed.

Still need help with helping your children share a bedroom? Contact Us, we’re here to help.