I was terrified when I came face to face with something I had been avoiding for months. Putting m boys in the same bedroom. Cue the "Jaws" theme music. Luckily, there are lots answers for how to make sharing a room easier for kids.
I was terrified for good reason. My toddler is a very light sleeper and my oldest has made daily fun out of keeping him awake.
I looked far into the future and saw nights of rampant fighting, screaming, toy trucks flung into the hallway. I’ll never sleep again, I thought. I searched the internet for help, and through all of the different blogs and advice columns, I found these to be the most helpful to simplifying the process. So here's how to make sharing a room easier for kids.
1. Give Each Child Their Own Space
When you're figuring out how to make sharing a room easier for kids, consider the space. We gutted the room which had been Sam’s for 6 years, and started over. We set up two twin beds, two dressers, and two closet organizers. They matched in color but the themes were specific to each boy. Sam got a camping sheet set and Liam got construction trucks. Liam’s clothes were on the left side of the closet, Sam’s on the right, etc.
2. White Noise
Whether it be in the form of a noise machine or a fan, white noise can go a long way to drown out ambient noise, noisy neighbors and even room sharing siblings. We have a box fan and it has helped tremendously!
3. Physical Barriers
This is actually something we didn’t HAVE to do, but believe me, it’s in my arsenal! Room dividers, curtains, high bookshelves - anything that physically divides the room can keep the peace. Thankfully, for us, their bright orange carpet runner works just fine!
4. Coordinate Bedtimes
This one is more dependant on your individual situations, but for us, putting Liam to bed an hour before Sam was the answer. Sam must vacate the room for the bedtime routine and does not go in until Liam has been asleep for at least 45 minutes.
5. Take out the Lights
This may seem unusual, and it happened quite by accident. Sam likes to sneak his lamp on when he thinks I’m not looking, which wreaks all kind of havoc. I took the lamp for one night as a consequence, and realized that they had no need for it. Their room only operates on natural light cycles and this promotes a must more restful environment.
Fortunately, putting them both in the same bedroom has quite the success! 90% of the time, Sam is respectful of the bedtime rules and procedure and I haven’t lost any more sleep than usual. Their room is like a quiet, dark cave where the outside world hardly invades. It did take planning and structure and without these 5 tips, I feel it would have been a disaster.
Six months later, we’re still sleeping as decently as can be, for being the parents of 3 kids! Good luck to you!