For most families, it’s just not possible to give siblings separate bedrooms because you don’t have the space, whether you have a third baby on the way, or you feel this is a way that siblings can bond. While siblings sharing a bedroom can be sweet and fun for both of them, it can also be a great source of battle. Bedtime giggles and early morning wakeups can have their issues, be sure to set some ground rules. Be consistent and a shared bedroom can work. There can issues, especially when one of the siblings is still a baby or under the age of 12 months. Juggling two different bedtime routines can also be a challenge. Consider the children’s ages when siblings are sharing room, consider whether the children are on different bedtime routines, the importance of sibling space and privacy and setting sibling rules and boundaries.
There are many advantages to siblings sharing a room. Sharing a bedroom with a sibling can be an early learning experience for children, as it requires compromise, the importance of boundaries, and sharing. Additionally, having a sibling in the room can comfort a small toddler who may be having difficulties self-settling or having nightmares. It can build strong bonds between siblings. Shared giggles, bedtime stories, and having a chat can function as basic but important bonding experience for children. Children subconsciously can learn how to accommodate and work with others, skills that can be used many times over later in life.
Of course, there are some drawbacks to sibling sharing in bedrooms. Obviously, it can set up the giggling and the messing, prolonging bedtime routine. Some older children might have privacy issues. (i.e., a sister and brother sharing) Children that have different bedtime routines in the evening time can disrupt each other. That said, if these problems are “nipped in the bud” immediately, you can overcome the disadvantages and reap all of the benefits of the advantages. When doing this, it is important for parents to work together in being consistent, also if you are introducing this to older children it is important to have patience.
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 coordinated sleep schedule, so that both kids are disturbed as little as possible. Try to wait until the baby is nine to twelve months old before setting up the combined room. If your toddler and baby have an afternoon sleep, it’s a good idea to put the youngest child to sleep first and follow with the older maybe 15 minutes later. 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. Both kids will eventually get used to sharing a room and will become much more immune to each other’s coughing, snoring, whimpering, whatever it may be. It just helps the children become immune to other sounds, which can benefit in other scenarios as well. If you have an unscheduled waker, which is inevitable during those tough times of teething, illnesses, growth spurts and so on, it is important that you sit down and reexamine your day time routine. It may be that they’re having too much sleep during the day or a food issue. Don’t be afraid to experiment with these to get an optimal situation. 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. It is important to note that if one child’s bed or cot is near a window, be very aware of blinds, curtains and cords as these are the biggest choking hazard to children. Likewise, cords to baby monitors and other electronic devices must be stored carefully. It is important to reexamine the safety and efficiency of everything in the room, as you will likely have less space as more things will be in the room.
Tips for a toddler sharing a room with a school child
Don’t forget to make the whole process attractive and exciting for both children. Involving children in the process (think, decorating, bedding, moving and so on) will also make for a better involvement for them into the transition of the process themselves. It should be a positive experience for everyone. Make sure to be clear on the rules and boundaries from the start, make rules about respecting each other’s property, privacy, and as previously mentioned quiet time.
When it comes to older children and privacy, make sure to give them their alone time in the room each day. And remember, sharing room has many benefits to both yourself and your children so make sure to keep in mind that it is a positive experience that it is in everyone’s interest.
© Teresa Boardman, Nanny Options.