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Need advice: should siblings share a room?

NewEnglandLady

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Hi all, I need some BTDT mom experience. Or even some "I'm thinking about doing that and can relate" mom experience.

I have two girls, aged 3.5 years and 20 months. They have always had their own rooms. For about 6 months, the 3.5-year-old has been asking if she can sleep in the same room as her younger sister. I always told Katie (older girl) that we needed to wait until Cora (younger girl) was old enough to give her opinion. Fast forward to about a month ago and Katie has been asking Cora every night if she "wants to share a room with Katie". Cora says "yes!", but Cora is 20 months and probably doesn't actually know what this means.

I have concerns, here they are:
1. They both have different bedtimes--younger kiddo goes to bed at 7:45 - 8pm and the older one goes to bed at 8:30pm
2. They both have different nap times--the younger one naps from noon - 2:30pm and the older one usually naps from 1:30 - 3ish (does sometimes skip naps).
3. They both sleep really well with no wakeups at night, which I don't want to disrupt.
4. Cora is still in a crib, but Katie has been in a full-size bed since she was 3. Katie doesn't get out of bed once she's in--I still come in and get her in the mornings. I'm afraid that moving Cora into Katie's room will change that. I have these visions of Cora throwing something out of her crib and Katie getting up to go get it and give it back and this turning into a really fun game they won't stop playing.

Part of me wants to just make the switch because they both seem excited about it. Another part of me thinks we should wait until my older daughter drops her nap because then a.) I won't have to worry about overlapping naps and b.) They would both have an 8pm bedtime (since K would need more nighttime sleep). But I'm a pretty uptight/non-flexible person, so maybe I'm overthinking this.

Opinions? Experience? Just feeling a little stuck here. Thank you!!
 

missy

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OK so while I have no children of my own I can offer advice from my perspective. I grew up sharing a room with my younger sister (27 months apart in age) and cannot remember the exact age we separated into different bedrooms (around 8 and 10 maybe?) but it was nice sharing a room with her during those younger years. We were best friends and very close and a team. I only have good memories of sharing a room with her. When we got older it was natural to want our own rooms however and so she moved into what was our playroom and it became her bedroom.

I don't remember what happened re bedtime and nap time etc except to say I never was a napper but she might have been. It all worked out somehow despite our different schedules.

Good luck NEL. I hope you let them share a room while they want to. It can be a very bonding experience between sisters IMO.
 

NewEnglandLady

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That's very helpful, Missy, thank you! My sisters are 7 - 10 years older than I am, so I never had the experience of sharing a room with a sibling. And my husband is an only child, so he obviously didn't share a room, either. So it's nice to hear from people who did share a room and liked it.

A couple of months ago we went on a little weekend trip and they ended up sharing a bedroom for the night (which wasn't the plan, but they really wanted to and I thought it might help to have the other in the room since it was a different house/different bedroom than home). It went really well--they both fell asleep quickly and woke up at the usual time. When I went in to get them they were laughing at each other, which was cute. But that was just one night, haha.

ETA: Also good to hear when you were ready to move out! Not sure what we'll end up doing with C's room when they start to share, but we're assuming they will want to separate again when they are a little older.
 

Bella_mezzo

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NEL-My short answer is yes, I think that it is great for siblings to share a room especially when they are little. I shared with my middle brother when we were really little, and then my brothers shared for most of their childhood and high school. I often wished I had someone to share my room and my brothers are definitely much closer from that experience.

Our situation is a little different, we live in a 2br apt in Manhattan. E (20 months) sleeps in our room as he has since he was born. He is in a mini crib. B (almost 7) sleeps on the bottom bunk in his own room (he slept with us for his first year or so home and then started sleeping in there)

DH and I are ready for E to move in B's room. And after months of us paving the way and discussing it, B is finally excited about it too. We have a toddler bed set-up. E loves to play on it and says he wants to sleep in there, but he's 20 months...when bedtime comes, he wants back in our room. We are trying to figure out if it is the room change, the change from the mini crib to a toddler bed, or something else (I think what he really wants is to sleep in our bed on his own, but that's not happening :lol:

This weekend we are going to try setting up the minicrib in B's room and seeing if E likes that better. The other alternative is getting a rail for the bottom bunk, moving B into the top bunk, and letting E sleep on the bottom bunk--which I think he might prefer, but he feels so little to move into a big bed...)

Tagging on to ask for suggestions on toddlers transitioning into another room and/or another bed?
 

NewEnglandLady

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Bella, sounds like we'll be going through some room/bed transitions together!

How high off the ground is the bottom bunk? If it's only a few inches taller than the toddler bed, then maybe transitioning E to the bottom bunk is best. Seems like that would be what E is most excited about and it's one fewer transition down the road.

If you are sticking with the toddler bed, is there any room to put it in your bedroom until E is used to sleeping in it? Or is there no extra room in your bedroom? it might help to get him used to the toddler bed, then move him to B's room.

Another thought is (again, if there is room), putting the toddler bed and the mini crib in B's room and letting E choose where he wants to sleep. You know how toddlers love to choose things for themselves. Might help him to get excited about it.

Last thought: where does E nap now? Maybe if he napped in the toddler bed in B's room, that would get him used to sleeping there at night?

C's crib transitions to a toddler bed (switching out one of the rails), but she's not climbing out of her crib and I think she'd be the type to get out of bed and run around if she could, so I'm sticking with the crib for now. Taking this one transition at a time :)
 

swingirl

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My son and daughter are 3 years apart. They shared a room until they were 5 and 2. They had different bed times and nap times. But they loved being together. My daughter would climb in my son's crib and play and bring him Cherrieos and toys. So cute. Once we moved them into their own rooms (built an addition) they continued to hang out in each other's room, being very close and loving towards each other.

So if your girls want to be together, by all means let them. I think it fosters a lifelong closeness. They'll let you know when they are ready for their privacy or fed up with each other. You are lucky to have the option where they can move back to separate rooms. They won't be sharing a room once the older one develops friendships in school and has the potential for sleepovers, etc.
 

Bella_mezzo

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Mini crib moved into B's room for the win. E slept in the there the past two nights and naps. The first night I stayed and rubbed his back while he cried for a few minutes, he cried about 5 min after I left and then he was fine. Last night DH put him down and he didn't cry at all.

He is still waking once a night to nurse, but I can deal with that.

This morning we were woken up by B AND E sauntering into our room (E in a full blanket sleepsack no less) and B saying "guess what mommy, I helped E get out of his crib" :-o

So we are going to start the transition to the toddler bed ASAP...
 

Asscherhalo_lover

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Bella_mezzo|1445170690|3939520 said:
Mini crib moved into B's room for the win. E slept in the there the past two nights and naps. The first night I stayed and rubbed his back while he cried for a few minutes, he cried about 5 min after I left and then he was fine. Last night DH put him down and he didn't cry at all.

He is still waking once a night to nurse, but I can deal with that.

This morning we were woken up by B AND E sauntering into our room (E in a full blanket sleepsack no less) and B saying "guess what mommy, I helped E get out of his crib" :-o

So we are going to start the transition to the toddler bed ASAP...

Lol!
 

NewEnglandLady

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Bella, haha, you must have been completely confused when you saw them both walking into your room! Sounds like the transition to B's room went really well! I feel like the toddler bed shouldn't be a tough transition, especially since B already has a bed. E will likely be excited to have a big boy bed that looks like his brother's.

On Friday, I came up with an idea for my girls: I decided that I could set up Katie's old crib (which is the exact same as Cora's) in Katie's room, then let Cora choose which crib she wanted to sleep in. (Plus, I would still have Cora's crib in her own room for naps if needed). So on Friday night, I took Katie's old crib out and was about to set it up...then decided I needed to do more research on this. So DH and I scoured the web for pros and cons (again) and we ultimately decided to hold off for a bit because a.) the girls have such a good routine (and sleep so well) that we hate to rock the boat and b.) we're afraid that once we let Cora sleep in Katie's room, it would be really hard to go back if things didn't go as well as hoped.

I'm out of town this coming weekend, then the following weekend is the time change, so I hate to do two transitions at once. So I have at least a few more weeks to think about this. Typical analysis paralysis.
 

JGator

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Hi, NEL, my sister and I shared a room until I was in first grade. She is 18 months older than me. I don't remember any issues, and we were very close growing up.

Bella, keep E in the crib! Seriously! Since we moved K to a toddler bed a couple months ago, she comes to our room EVERY night around 2am or so. We tell her to wait till the sun comes up, but it doesn't work and she ignores the potential rewards/treats from staying in her bed. My alternative is walking her back to her toddler bed and patting her to sleep, but I'm 9 months preganant and taking Benadryl nightly to sleep so I just cave and let her sleep with us. Anyway, she never tried to get out of the crib, but she loves her independence in the toddler bed now!
 

monkeyprincess

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NEL, we had 4 kids and a 4 bedroom house, so I shared with my older brother until I was 4, and then my younger sister until my oldest sister went to college. My younger sister and I liked sharing, and we are very close. I'm pretty sure my boys will share a room once baby O is a little older. We have the twins in the same room now because DH and I sleep in shifts in the baby room. However, I'm far less scheduled than you are. I have no clue how you are able to do it. My kids defy every attempt.

JGator, Ev is the worst about staying in his toddler bed too. Drives me crazy, and if we don't give in to letting him sleep with one of us, we'd never get sleep. I keep saying it's a phase, and we can tackle it one the babies are sleeping better.
 

amc80

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Barrett and Tucker have been sharing a room since we bought this house in July- so Barrett was just shy of 3 and Tucker was 5 months. We haven't had an issues. I used to put Tucker to sleep in our bed, then move him to his crib once Barrett was asleep. Now, I put him in his crib (7:30 or so) and then put Barrett to bed an hour later. I will read Barrett's story on the couch as to cut down on noise. One of them will occasionally wake up and cry, and they've somehow never woke up the other. The only time I have to be careful is in the mornings- Tucker will wake up and yell for me at the top of his lungs around 6:30, and Barrett sleeps in a bit longer.
 

NewEnglandLady

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Thanks JGator, amc and MP!

MP, did you try a gate in Ev's room? Amc, I think you may have mentioned doing that. Katie never had a toddler bed and Cora hasn't tried getting out of the crib, so I'm not sure if she'll need a toddler bed, either. If I need it, I'll convert her crib, otherwise, I'll probably move her to a regular full-size bed when she's 3 like we did Katie.

The schedule is key to our lives--the girls just don't know any different since it's always been that way. I always thought that we might not need the schedule as much as the girls got older, but I'm finding that it's more critical now than ever because there is just more going on (more weekend classes, Katie starting school, etc.). Katie is routine-oriented, so every night when I tuck her in she likes to talk about the activities we're doing the next day. Then when she wakes up, she likes to go over it again. And she knows what time things happen (we go up for a bath when the clock says 7, 0, 0), but I don't want her to be as rigid as I am, so I try to be flexible with that.

amc, I didn't know B and T were sharing a room--seems like it's working out really well so far. The differing bedtimes thing freaks me out, but it seems like it's really common and isn't an issue for most. I think that if we do end up having them share, I might try putting them in bed at the same time. But K is used to going downstairs with us after C is asleep and I think she likes it because it makes her feel like a big girl, so we may end up doing what you do. Right now we go downstairs, read/play a game, then quickly put Katie back in bed (because the girls' rooms are close, we whisper and make Katie's tuck-in pretty quick, so it probably wouldn't be any different).
 

Rhea

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I shared a room with my sister, who is 32 months younger than me, until I was about 12 or 13. My parents preferred the bedrooms in the house to be our shared bedroom and a dedicated play room. When I got a bit older we each got our own bedroom, no playroom. We went through phases of liking and disliking sharing a room, but I can't recall any major problems. It clearly worked for my parents who kept it that way for years even though there was space for us to each have our room.

It's great that you have the space to make this kind of decision!
 

NewEnglandLady

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Quick update: tried the transition on Friday night and it was a complete bust, haha!

Set up the extra crib in K's room last week and talked all week about how C would move into K's room. Both girls seemed very excited. So Friday night we did the usual bedtime routine and I put C in her crib in K's room. We left the room and C SCREAMED "my crib" "my crib". We went back in and told C again that she was going to sleep with K and she kept saying "noooo. My crib". We tried a little longer and then gave up when C said she wanted her own room and K wanted C to leave (the screaming was no fun).

So for the last couple of nights we've asked both of them if they want to try sharing again and they both say "no". Hahaha, I guess it's worked itself out for now and I'm actually glad nothing is disrupting our usual routine.

Bella, I hope your transition is going well!
 

junebug17

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Lol NEL! Hey, nobody can say you didn't try! Poor C probably thought "what a minute, I didn't know I was signing up for this!" Too cute!
 

Bella_mezzo

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Aw, poor C.

So E can now leap out of any crib, which is terrifying. The crib is put away now after a particularly dramatic escape where he back dived out of the crib (and since the crib sides come up to his eyes that is some serious air and a really serious distance to fall!)

He is sleeping on the bottom bunk. it's going pretty well. He gets up 1 or 2 times while we are putting him down but goes back to bed when we tell him to/put him there. We have a babygate on the door to make sure he can't wander during the night and put B to bed about a half hour after E (so E is usually sound asleep).

He still wakes up 1-2 times a night and last night B left the babygate open when he went to the bathroom so a very cranky but alert E wandered into our room at 2am and stayed up until 5:( Hopefully that is not a regular habit...

But it is so cute to see him leaning out and looking up and Samuel leaning out and looking d :love: own to talk to each other while they are in the bunks.
 

NewEnglandLady

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Well sounds like the midnight wakeups are no fun, BUT once E gets in bed and stays there, you will be all done with sleep transitions for awhile (until E drops his nap, I guess). Sounds like they both really like the new arrangement, so that's good!

K asked if I could move C's crib out of her room. Which is fine, but such a pain to take down and move everything back!
 

ponder

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My girls began sharing a room at 15 months and 4 months shy on 3 years old. The stayed with my brother and SIL while I was in the hospital having my son and shared a room the whole weekend. We put DD#2's crib in with our older DD so that the baby would have his own room and frequent waking wouldn't bother the girls. When they came home we just kept them together. It was pretty seamless for us.

Fast forward 2 years and DS was not being a good sleeper. Mainly not settling down till wayyyy too late. By then the girls had a bunk bed with a trundle. All three sleep in the same room now.
 

Prietter

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I think you should let them sleep together. That will help them to have more emotional attachment.
 

NewEnglandLady

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We ended up with a solution that is working really well. The girls rooms are in a jack-and-jill configuration with a bathroom in between. We set up both of their beds so they can see each other through the bathroom if I keep their bedroom doors open. So we tuck them both in after bath time at night and leave the doors open so they can still see each other. The last thing they do at night is say goodnight to each other from their beds as DH and I are leaving their rooms.

Also, if they are too chatty, I still have the doors I can close to separate them. I haven't had to do this at this point, just telling them they need to be quiet or I'll need to shut their door is enough. Also, they have one of those "wake up" lights that turns green when they can get up. They go off at the same time every morning, so that's their "green light" that they can start talking and get up.

So far this has worked perfectly. They are now on the same schedule (bedtime is 8:15pm and wakeup is 6:50am), so that also makes it easy. Naps still aren't at the same time, but so far that's not a big issue--especially since the older one is 4.5 and only naps every other day. They like still having their own room/own space, but being able to see each other at bedtime.

Just thought I'd update!
 

junebug17

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Nel, this is a perfect solution! Very glad you've figured something out that works and both girls are enjoying the arrangement. Love the wake-up light, dang, why weren't they around when my kids were little? :D
 
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