Hi my name is Bailey. I have two girls. My eldest is 6 years old and my youngest is 2 years old. I am thinking of having my girls share a room. What do you feel about room sharing?
Before I address this question, I would like to say every situation is different. Sometimes room sharing is the only option. Other times it’s chosen by the children or parents when there are plenty of bedrooms for everyone to have their own in the house. Temperament of a child/children, sleeping habits and the age of your children play a considerable role in every successful or unsuccessful sleeping arrangement. There is no criticism in this article. Whether siblings sleep together or separately, I believe there are pros and cons to both.
sleeping through the night
If there is no urgency in having your children share a bedroom, it’s always best to wait until both children sleep through the night. Whether it be when they’re 6 months or 7 years old it makes no difference.
It is best if your little ones are on the same night time sleep schedule if they’re to share a room.
Day time sleep schedules are a bit more flexible. If your youngest still naps and your eldest is away at school then there is likely no conflict during the day.
If both children are at home and they have different nap schedules or one wakes up the other, I would hold off on room sharing if at all possible.
my sleep philosophy
Sleep is very important. “Sleep is especially important for children as it directly impacts mental and physical development.” (1) “Americans are sleep-deprived.” (2) Jodi Mindell, PhD, who chairs the National Sleep Foundation task force says, “There is a clear disconnect on what parents think their children need and what the kids are really getting.” (2) “Young children don’t sleep enough. Even infants are sleep-deprived, a trend that continues.” (2)
The above being said, I think one of the most crucial gifts we can give our children is sleep. I feel so strongly about sleep that while pregnant with my third child, we moved so that all my children could have their own bedrooms. As parents we do what we can and often finances unfortunately make our decisions for us. Many can not just move and buy a bigger home. But I will say, in most cases, an individual room is the best assurance your children are getting enough sleep.
My children have slept through the night since their second month of age (12 hours), so many may think it strange that I am so cautious about sleep disruptions. Even now, at 2 and 4 years old, they’re napping at the same time during the day. Yet, I still have them sleep separately. Children don’t think like adults. They want to squeeze every bit of fun and entertainment out of each day (even at the expense of sleep). No matter how wonderful they are at sleep, once you add their best friend into the mix, it may throw a wrench into their sleep. Sometimes you may not even know they’re not sleeping. Although my children have never shared a room, on vacation they have. They can be very convincing that they have slept until you look on the baby monitor, lol!
Some parents and children elect for room sharing because they believe that it’s sweet… and could be fun… and I agree. But the truth is sleep is not about fun… it’s about rest. It can be very cute for little ones to share a room, but one often disturbs the other and the mere excitement of them being in the same room often unravels the whole thing.
learning to be alone
I believe learning to be alone and being comfortable with it, is a wonderful thing, that is not often nurtured in this day and age. Learning to be alone is just as important as it is for siblings to bond and have fun with one another. I believe that having one’s own room nurtures this ability.
creative ways to add magic to their lives
What I have done instead of letting my children share a room is to try and create wonderful memories by setting up fanciful play spaces. My eldest has a walk-in-closet in her bedroom that we’re in the process of turning it into a magical little adventure palace for the two girls. The room is an ugly mess right now, but they love the little space and play in there for hours. Although, they may be too young to remember this space or how they played together when they’re adults, I know little moments like this are creating a life-long bond.
I also like to buy interactive toys that neither has much of an advantage. See article RODY: THE PERFECT TOY FOR CRAWLERS TO ADULTS!
(1) “Children and Sleep.” Children & Sleep. Https://sleepfoundation.org, n.d. Web. 07 July 2016. <https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/children-and-sleep>.
(2) Kirchheimer, Sid. “Young Children Don’t Sleep Enough.” WebMD. WebMD, 30 Mar. 2004. Web. 07 July 2016. <http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/news/20040329/young-children-dont-sleep-enough>.
I am not the authority on any topic asked in this forum. For questions that may have medical implications, please consult your doctor or midwife. The purpose of this section of the site is to provide support, help, or a sounding board for individuals. Whether a person is going through struggles, would like to know they’re not alone, or find out which bottle worked best for my children, I will do my best to answer. There are going to be many ways to reply to all questions posted. I am merely providing my perspective. This forum is not meant for debate.