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Just under one year ago we took a big leap of faith and put both our kiddos in the same room. At the time our daughter was just a couple months over 2 years old, and our son was 8 months old. We waited until our son was sleeping through the night without feeds so that we were hopefully limiting the chance of the kids waking each other up.

Our fears:

We were afraid of the transition wreaking havoc on either or both of our kiddo’s sleep. We were nervous that bedtime would be terrible (especially when it’s already quite crap some nights with our daughter on her own), that nighttime would be full of them waking each other up, and that the mornings would be ridiculously early. 

Sound like you?

While we did have those fears, we had some good reasons for making the change:

  1. We were ready to have our room become “ours” again. It was time to move the baby out of our room and into another. Our only options were moving him into our daughter’s room or my husband’s in-home office. We love that my husband works from home and we didn’t want to make any changes there. Plus his commute is awesome. So our daughter’s room is really the only option.
  2. We thought it would be special for them. Our kids adore each other (when they aren’t trying to attack one another) so we thought it’d be really nice for them to get to have the feel of a slumber party each night.
  3. We hoped it would help their bond grow stronger. As they grow up and become interested in different things and have different friends, we thought those intimate moments of morning giggles and bedtime chat may help to foster a strong sense of closeness between them.
  4. We hoped it would help them both become deeper sleepers. If they become used to hearing the other’s sounds, snores, grunts, etc, then they can sleep through anything, right? Right? Tell me I’m right.

I don’t know your reasons for wanting your kids to be in a shared room, but if this is something you want to make happen, let me tell you it can work! There may be some hiccups (I mean what change comes without hiccups?), but the bumps will smooth out and you’ll be so happy you did it!

As I said, I was fearful that bedtime would be a circus, that the kids would wake each other up during the night, and that the morning wakeup time would become earlier and earlier. Which, for a mama who NEEDS her sleep, were huge concerns.

Here is what I learned — and what you should take away from this post!:

I actually prefer bedtime with the two of them in one room! At first we did separate bedtimes, and that was beautiful. We’d put the baby to sleep while big sis played quietly in the living room, and then when it was her turn to sleep about a half hour later, the baby was already in a deep slumber. Now we do bedtime at the same time, and it’s still great. We put both kids in big sis’s big kid bed to read stories, then we pick up the toddler to rock while we sing to both, then we put the toddler down in the crib, give kisses, and leave! (Our daughter often calls us back about, oh, a million times, but that’s a different story. We’re working on that.)

Nowadays if we are in a situation where they have separate rooms (on vacation or at Grandma’s house), I find that I highly dislike going back and forth between the two rooms and crying children. One room for the win!

They sleep through each other’s nighttime antics, which are somewhat rare but do happen. Both our kids cry out here and there at night. On the odd night our daughter will have had a nightmare and need some tending to. I used to be really afraid that her cries would wake our son, but they don’t! Like not even a little. Can I get an amen?!

Mornings can be hit or miss. Although they both can sleep through noises during the actual night, once the morning hour has arrived, they become lighter sleepers. It’s like they want any reason to wake up. That said, they still wake up at a decent hour (usually 6:30am-6:45am), and we do not get the kids from their room until we are good and ready (usually 7am or later). How the HECK do we manage that?!

My friend, let me introduce you to the door monkey. You can read my whole previous post where I speak to its glory, or I can summarize here: it is a slide-on-and-off contraption that holds the door in place, slightly ajar. It can be used in a number of ways but we use it so that the kids and we can hear each other while they are safely kept in their room. I mean: no kids coming to our room in the middle of the night, no kids coming to our room as soon as they are awake. By some miracle, they have learned to talk and to play until we tell them it’s “morning time”, and it’s fabulous.

Door monkey aside, sometimes we even have magic mornings where both kids sleep in, or the where one wakes up and the other sleeps right on through until some amazing time. So it can happen! They don’t always wake each other up at the butt crack of dawn!

The noise machine has been, and still is, a big asset. We use it every night and every nap, if not just to buffer sounds, to signal sleepy time. Pavlov’s dogs, ya know? We take a travel one with us wherever we go (you can see my post on surviving international travel with children) and we use the one at home religiously. 

It went way smoother than I would’ve thought. Kids are resilient. They’re adaptable. And they need sleep. … And they’ve done both!

It’s gone really well overall, and I am so happy we made the move. You will be too!

If you have any other specific concerns or fears, let me know! We can work through them together.

If you’ve put your kiddos in the same room, share below! Tell us what has been helpful, what worked, or what just did not go to plan! 

Christina Furnival

Christina is a mom to two wild and wonderful kiddos, a licensed psychotherapist (LPCC), the founder of her website and therapeutic motherhood blog Real Life Mama, and a children's book author of a social/emotional wellbeing series, Capable Kiddos! She and her Scottish husband are raising their family in San Diego, where they love to hike, play soccer, cook, walk around the lake, and go to the beach.

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