My grandparents raised 5 kids in 2 small bedrooms, and they made it out alive. They also had to walk uphill through a volcano to get to school, but that’s a different article. While the living arrangement isn’t ideal, sometimes circumstance is beyond your control.
Maybe you’re looking to help your kids bond, moved into a new apartment, or maybe a new baby arrival has cramped the living conditions. Regardless of how we got here, we want to help you find room sharing success. The following tips should work wonders for your budding family.
- Keep Your Child’s Sleep Schedule
It’s normal to have different sleep schedules, even when sharing a room. For instance, a new baby may be ready for bed at 7:00, and the 2-year-old who shares their room might not need shut-eye until 8:30 p.m. It may be tempting to try and get them both cleaned up and in bed by 7:00, but it’s not fair to your toddler. Send your infant to bed at 7:00 and your 2-year-old can hang out a little longer for some much needed 1 on 1 time with the parents.
- Make Them Feel like Part of the Process
This works especially well with older siblings. If you are moving a toddler in with an 8-year-old, they’ll likely resent it at first. Have them help you with the move-in process. They can assist in building a crib and planning where the furniture will go. This gives them a sense of responsibility and accomplishment. It also lets the move happen gradually, rather than them coming home one day to see all of their things rearranged and a new little roommate.
- Give them Privacy
While a couple of toddlers might not appreciate having their own dresser, a 12-year-old sharing a room with a 6-year-old definitely will. Giving them each their own belongings, like a bed, nightstand, and dresser, can go a long way toward making older kids more comfortable and less resentful. You can also separate the room so that each half is a designated area for one child’s belongings. This will help them have their own spot to “get away” when they need to, while still encouraging companionship and playtime together.
- Keep Naps Separate
The biggest difficulty most parents with shared bedrooms face is getting their children to nap together at the same time, in the same room. If they can play together and hang out instead of taking a nap, they likely will. If you have this problem, set up a pack-and-play in a separate room for one child’s nap time, while the other naps in the bedroom. You can also set up a white-noise machine to lull them to sleep and drown out background noises.