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10 Things I’ve Learned Letting My Kids Share a Room

Living in New York City, space is tight. When I found out  I was pregnant with Avery, one of our first thoughts was if we were going to have enough room in our apartment for another baby. To my surprise many people in NYC will live in one bedroom apartments with two kids, so having two bedrooms is sort of a luxury to NYC standards.

We decided that there was enough room in Harlan’s bedroom for both of the girls. Thankfully Harlan was excited and loved the idea that she was going to get to share a room with her baby sister. It’s now been nearly a year since they’ve both been in the same room together and a lot has been learned along the way. There is no rule book on the perfect way to transition siblings into a shared room, but there are definitely things that worked for us and things that didn’t work for us.

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  • Shared Spaces 1 of 11
    Shared Spaces
    There are so many things that I've learned from having the girls share a room. Check out some of the things that have worked for us.
  • Buy a Sound Machine 2 of 11
    Buy a Sound Machine
    This was probably the best thing that I could have ever bought when it comes to getting my girls to go to bed. It helps to put them to sleep and it also helps mute out noises. If one girl is sleeping and the other is awake and needs to get something from the room, the sound machine helps cover up any little giggles from trying to be quiet.
  • Give Them Each Their Own Space 3 of 11
    Give Them Each Their Own Space
    Although the room is theirs to share, I wanted to give them each their own space within the room. Harlan has her toddler bed with her book shelf over it because she loves to read while she is going to sleep at night. Avery has her crib on the other side of the room with her lovies and she loves to lay in her crib and cuddle with them. I don't let Harlan play in Avery's crib and Avery doesn't get to play on Harlan's bed unless Harlan asks her to. It helps them keep a little piece of the room to themselves.
  • Let Your Older Child in on it 4 of 11
    Let Your Older Child in on it
    Whether you are preparing for the baby to move into the bedroom or the baby is having a rough night and needs extra time in the room by herself, be honest with your oldest child. I've been preparing Harlan to share a room with Avery since day one. We made a huge deal about her moving out of the crib so that her sister could have it and that she could have a big girl bed because she was a big sister. If I have to spend a couple of extra minutes of alone time with Avery in their room, I always explain to Harlan why I am doing it. I want her to know that it's her room too, but that Avery sometimes needs her time by herself in there.
  • Spend Time With Both Kids Together in The Room 5 of 11
    Spend Time With Both Kids Together in The Room
    Before Avery was sleeping in the room, I often brought her in the room while Harlan was playing so that Harlan could get used to having another one in "her" room We'd play in the room for at least 30 minutes a day together. Now Harlan always calls Avery to come and play in their room together and is completely comfortable with it.
  • Eventually They Get Used to The Noise 6 of 11
    Eventually They Get Used to The Noise
    I was always so scared that in those few circumstances when Avery did wake up in the middle of the night that Harlan was going to as well and I would be stuck at 2am with two wide awake and cranky kids. Much to my surprise, Harlan has slept through almost every single middle of the night Avery wake up. She is so used to hearing baby noises and cries during the day that the noise no longer phases her and therefore she sleeps soundly.
  • Figure Out a Bedtime Schedule and Stick to it 7 of 11
    Figure Out a Bedtime Schedule and Stick to it
    Avery goes to bed an hour before Harlan does and that's the way that it has been since we started having the girls sleep in the same room together. Harlan gets ready for bed out in our living room and then quietly goes into her bed without waking up Avery. There are some nights that Avery wakes up, but then I would usually rock her in the dark room and put her back in her crib. We make that extra hour that Harlan gets to spend with us very special. She loves the alone time and we love it too.
  • Get a Video Monitor 8 of 11
    Get a Video Monitor
    This is a great investment that I made with Harlan, but I had no idea how useful it would come in handy with both kids. Ours lets you move the camera around the room so that I can always keep an eye on either girl. If one of the girls wake up before the other I can quickly look at the monitor to see who it is and quietly go in their room to get them.
  • If You Are Going to Sleep Train, Move The Oldest Out of The Room 9 of 11
    If You Are Going to Sleep Train, Move The Oldest Out of The Room
    No judging on whether or not you decided to sleep train your child (or how you did.) It worked for us for Harlan and we tried it with Avery and it worked within two days. We moved Harlan out of the room and told her we were having a slumber party for a couple of nights so that Avery could get used to sleeping in her crib. By night three both girls were back in their room together, sleeping soundly.
  • Have a Common Area 10 of 11
    Have a Common Area
    The girls have their own separate spaces with their own things, but I wanted to create an area in the room where there are toys for both of them to play with and that they can play together. Now that Avery isn't as much of a baby anymore their favorite thing to do is go in their room and play together on the rug in the middle of the room. They have so much fun together.
  • It’s Tough 11 of 11
    It's Tough
    I'm not going to lie to you and tell you that it's bliss and so easy having two young kids share a room. My oldest daughter is currently laying down on the floor next to me having a "sleep over" while Avery fights sleep and is playing in her crib talking to herself. Most of the time it's great and the girls have grown an amazing bond from it. Others times, as with anything, it can bring difficulty.

More from Lauren on Baby’s First Year:

Read more from Lauren at her personal blog, A Mommy in the City, where she chronicles her life living in New York City with a suburban mentality. For more updates, follow Lauren on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram! Check out more of Lauren’s Babble posts at Being Pregnant and Baby’s First Year.

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