Siblings who share a room, how do you do it?

Bear with me here cause I’m going to think out loud for a little bit.

How do you do room sharing with your kids?

I ask because I tried and it was the biggest fail I have ever seen.

Let me give you a little back-story… My oldest will be nine in a few months, my middle son is 3.5 and is stubborn, sensitive and picks fights with his younger brother. His younger brother (my baby) is 18 months and is super chill but pushes his brother’s buttons sometimes (the 3.5-year-old) and likes to roll around, sing and talk himself to sleep… before nap and bedtime.

We have 4 bedrooms in our house, well, technically 3 bedrooms and a den/office but the den has no closet. I put an armoire in that room and made it a cozy space for the 8-year-old. He needs his own space and I thought it would be totally fine to have each kid in their own room. And while it is fine (and we are lucky to have the space we have– which is not huge by the way we do live in San Diego), we are quickly running out of space as the kids grow.

So that is why I tried the room-sharing thing.

My 3.5-year-old transitioned out of his crib and into his big boy bed but we had an extra crib so I took that opportunity to try the room sharing idea. I didn’t have to move or take apart any cribs or beds and that way, if it didn’t work, I could take apart the extra crib and everything would go back to normal. Great idea, huh?

Well, remember the part where I told you that my 3-year-old is stubborn, sensitive and picks fights? Yeah… these two cannot share a room.

First attempt was naptime. I decided to forgo the 3-year-old’s nap (bad idea) and let the toddler get situated in the “new room”. The toddler wasn’t all that happy at first but eventually settled and took an “okay” nap.

Second attempt was bedtime. The toddler did his thing, rolling around while blowing bubbles; singing and talking to himself and it pissed the 3-year-old off. “Be quiet! Shhhh! No talking! Go to sleep! Shhhh! Stop it!” over and over and over. Which only prompts the toddler to blow spit bubbles towards his big brother in a sort of “nah nah nah nah boo boo” kind of way which then gets the 3-year-old really pissed off to which he replies, “Stop spitting!!!” Then it goes in a circle a few more times.

I knew right then and there that these two simply could not share a room. Their personalities just don’t allow for it to happen. I couldn’t allow it to go on any longer. I gave up and decided to keep my sanity. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it… right?

Naturally I think back to when the baby was born and wonder… if I had done it back then, would things be different? Then I wake up and remember that my then 2-year-old was a screeching mess (which started early in my pregnancy, not because of the new baby) and realize that he’s just not the room-sharing type. I also think about putting the 8-year-old and the 3-year-old in the same room (knowing they could share a room… although it would drive the older child batty at times) but then I go back to the whole it’s not fair to my 8-year-old mindset. They are 5 years apart!

So I basically don’t go anywhere with this except I wonder, what have you done to make room sharing easier? Do you take into consideration your children’s individual personalities? Do you believe that kids should share a room? Do you believe that kids should have their own rooms? Do your kids not have a choice but to share a room? and if so, how did you do it? Basically, give me your greatest tips and secrets 😉

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Christina lives in San Diego with her husband, 3 boys and her favorite coffee cup. Christina is a trained Montessori teacher with early childhood education and also has experience in the children’s fashion world as a business owner. While in the children's industry, Christina realized how important it was to research, be ‘in the know’ and one step ahead of the game with the latest and greatest baby gear, toys, clothing and accessories which naturally continued once she became a mom in 2002. Since the birth of her first son, Christina has become a reliable and trustworthy resource to friends, family and other parents on various parenting topics.

9 COMMENTS

  1. I have 2 girls- Big recently turned 3 and Little will be 1 next week. Our only option is to room share, and we are learning a little bit more every day! We are not fans of this arrangement, but have to make it work! Little is a great sleeper, nighttime and nap, goes to sleep by herself, just wants dark and quiet. Big still requires laying with her, patting her back, etc., because, as she says “I can’t go to sleep without a grown up!” So we do 1 of 2 things at night: 1) Let Little do her thing first, have early bedtime, wait until she is deep in sleep, then sneak Big in and not make a peep. We read stories on the couch or in our bed, then we go to her bed. OR, 2) We put Big & Little down at the same time, read stories together first, lay Little down and pretend we are not still in the room while patting Big’s back. I do not like the sneaking and tip toeing part in a room that was once Big’s only, however. Doesn’t seem fair. I really wish they had their own rooms 🙁
    We found at first that during the day when Little was napping, Big NEEDED various items from her room… things she just simply cannot live without, of course, so there were many days where Little’s naps were interrupted. Now I leave out spare clothes, blanky, any special toys I see in the room so we don’t have to disturb Little’s nap. Big knows now to ask me to sneak in there if she needs something too, but this took awhile to learn.

  2. I have three kids 5 1/2 boy and 3 and 15 month girls…my sons room is being completely gutted so he has been bunking in with his sisters for the past 5 months, its a tight fight but we make it work, there are times when they go to bed at the same time sometimes it gets staggered. We run a louder table fan to drown out the noises they all make, then the two older ones each listen to stories on their Tag pens and the youngest has music, there are times when there is a party but it never lasts long. We plan on doing bunk beds when the girls are older so the have their own space.

  3. We currently have a 4 bedroom house with 4 kids and in this market, we aren’t moving anytime soon. I have boy / girl twins that are almost 9, an almost 6 year old daughter (we laugh that she was meant to be an only child) and an almost 3 year old son. Until about a month ago my oldest son has had his own room with an attached bathroom. My daughters have shared a room and our baby has had his own room and they’ve been in these rooms for the past 3 years. It has worked fairly well for us, despite the occasional girls squabble and request to move to a larger home. My oldest son is a sweetheart and for awhile he’s been asking to have his little brother share a room with him. We were on the fence for awhile, but decided a month ago to give it a try. It was time to move our 2 year old out of his crib, so we downsized my older son’s full bed and got them both twin beds. The day we moved everything around I was nervous. Was all of this work going to be for nothing? Well, I am proud to say that it couldn’t have gone any smoother. My little guy naps in his new “big boy” bed every day and he goes to sleep about an hour earlier at night, giving his older brother a chance to come in the room later and read with a little light. They are both happy and now we have a guest room / office, which makes me happy because we used to have the office in our Master Bedroom. My husband and I both grew up with only one sibling each and we were both lucky to have our own rooms always. I never wanted my kids to share a room, but it’s working for us now. We’ll see what happens when they all hit puberty! I would try your oldest and youngest and see how that works! They might surprise you. I LOVE seeing my older son reading books to and playing with his baby brother. I’d even say it’s brought them all closer because now they all share so nothing is “not fair”. 🙂

  4. My girls who are 21 months apart have been sharing a room since the youngest was 6 months old. I think it helps to start when they are young. We live in a 2 bedroom condo, so we don’t have a choice, even when #3 arrives. While it is extremely difficult at times, especially to start, I believe it is incredibly important, especially when they are young and learning how to share. I always had my own room growing up and moving in with roommates was a difficult transition for me.
    I eased into bed and nap time by putting the younger who naturally goes to sleep earlier, down first. Now they go down together. Theyve just had to learn to share, it’s all they know. At times when the youngest, now 2.5, has a fit, I let my oldest nap in my bed or wait until the fit is over.
    Even if we had more space I’d have them share unless they were different genders or had a large age gap. I really think it helps them be closer together and hopefully will teach them in the long run to be more thoughtful of those around them.

  5. different bedtimes. 4 boys in the house and one girl. 4 bedrooms. yeah ! the 16 year old and 13 year old do have their own room.(they need privacy at this point)the baby is in my room but the middle two share .
    sammy is 6 and nate is 4. nate is a very headstrong young man. he knows what he wants and how he wants it done. Sammy has autism and is very routine based.nate goes to bed at 730 and sam at 800.

    in your case talk to the 3.5 year old. explain how hes the big kid and will get a later bed time. or. buy him noise cancelling head phones only for him

  6. Rome was not built in a day….and the first few days of your kids sharing a room takes a lot a patience and a few days to adjusting.

    I put both of my boys in the same room starting when my oldest was almost three and the youngest just turned one. I did this alone(while my husband was on deployment!)The first few days were rough. My three year old didn’t take a nap the first 3 days. However, it did help him be ready for sleep at night.

    This is our routine now starting after lunch I put my youngest down….he needs the most sleep and goes down quicker. About 30 min after my youngest is asleep I take my 3yo and put him in his bed. He understands that this is his “quiet time” if he wakes his brother up he will be in trouble. He usually reads or plays with legos during this time and sometimes goes to sleep. He is getting to the age that he can get through the day without a nap. So classifying it as quiet time works best for him, because he thinks he is too big for “nap time”

    At bedtime they go to bed at the same time. Some nights they fall sleep right away…others they stay up talking to each other. The only rules I enforce are….you stay in your own bed, and NO screaming.

    My youngest didn’t really have any issues adjust to having his brother in his room. It was his room first…so there was no having to adjust to a new space.

    Good luck! Keep trying if this is something you really want!

  7. We have a 3 bedroom home and so our 4 boys share a room and their sister lucks out and gets her own room… the boys have learned to get along as a result of room sharing as there is truly no other choice and they have truly not known any different as they’ve always shared the space. I do find that a stagered bedtime works well… I put them to bed about 10 minutes apart… my 4 yr old falls asleep fast… he goes in first, then the 2 yr old and then our 7 yr old… the oldest son gets to stay up later than the young ones… it works out well !!! I truly think that room sharing teaches children a great life lesson… we’ve become accustomed to having our own rooms and the thought of room sharing can be odd to some people and I think they are missing out on the wonderful benefits of it !! Many years ago when families were huge and space was not, children not only shared rooms but often all tucked into the same bed… our genereation is a bit spoiled =)

  8. I have 2 daughters 6 & 4 years old, and a son who is 10 months. We have a 3bedroom house. Naturally put the girls into the same room (never had to share before) and it was a nightmare, I tried everything different bedtimes, ect… Didnt work they would fight & play for hours. After 6 months of this I said enough is enough and now my 4 yo & 10 month old share a room….peace at bedtime, I really wish I would have had my girls share from the begining so they would be use to it but they arent and fight it. Maybe when they are both older it will work. But for now this is what works

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