Tips for Siblings Sharing a Room

kids sleepoverDo you have siblings who share a bedroom? I have gotten quite a few questions from parents about this topic and wanted to go over some of them along with my answers.

Question: If you have any tips for moving siblings into a room together (3 and 1 right now) please share!

The first thing I would do when thinking about moving children into a room together is to work on getting them to sleep well on their own.   It is much easier to work on their sleep when there is less of a concern about waking the other up.  I would make sure your 3 year old understands rules, like no climbing into the crib in the night and no waking up the baby in the morning before putting them together.  You could do some sort of sleep manner chart with your 3 year old to clearly outline what is expected of him or her.   I may also introduce white noise to both of them so that you can use it while they are sharing a room to lessen the chances they will wake each other up with normal nighttime noises.  I would also have each of them spend some time in the new room before expecting them to sleep there.

Question: If my daughter (2.5 yr) wakes up too early, we can usually get her to stay in bed quietly. How do I do that with my 10mo old?

It is definitely harder to keep young babies quiet when they wake too early.  To avoid this, I would look into why your baby is sometimes waking early.  The most likely reasons for early rising are: going to bed too late; too big a gap between the last nap and bedtime (this should not be more than 4 hours); going to sleep too drowsy (if you do too much of the work for your baby at bedtime, when they have a partial awakening during the night, they may not know how to fall back asleep on their own; and too little sleep during the day.  One other thing I have noticed occasionally is that sometimes parents expect more nighttime sleep than is actually appropriate for the child.  A 10 month old should be getting around 11 hours of sleep at night (and 3 during the day).

 I have twins that share a room and for the most part they don’t wake each other up.  Lately it has become more frequent.  When is it time to  separate?  They are 2.

While there is not specific age to separate your children, if things are not working out well while they are together you may consider it if you are able to.  Before moving them though, I would take a look at things going on and why they may be waking more frequently.  At 2 years old, they should be getting around 11 hours of sleep at night and 2 during the day.  The gap of awake time between nap and bedtime should not be more than 4 or 5 hours.  If it is longer, they may be overtired when going to bed at night which could cause more wakeups.  If they are not napping well during the day, they may be overtired at bedtime and then nights can be affected.  I do recommend having white noise too since that may keep the twin who is not awake sleeping through the other’s noises.

Our b/g twins share a room and was curious when the ‘recommended’ time might be when they should have own room. They sleep great together at night, but pretty much play at nap time!

In this case, is there a way to separate the twins for nap time?  I would keep them together at bedtime if things are working for you then, but maybe have them in separate rooms for naps.  I don’t believe there is a right or wrong way to move siblings into their own rooms as long as things are working for everyone in your home.

How do you get the kids not to bother each other without having to police them every night?  I eventually had to separate them because of this,  but now my youngest is going to have to share a room with someone.

I would have a meeting with the children who will be sharing the room at a time of the day when everyone is happy and relaxed and not tired.  I would give the children rules that are expected to be followed at bedtime and during the night.   Sometimes giving them around ten minutes of talking time after bedtime can help them get some of their messing around over.  Depending on their ages, giving them some sort of sticker chart or other rewards system could also be beneficial to clearly outline was in expected of them.  Another thing you may do is let them know you will come to check on them every 10 minutes or so.  Then they may fool around less as well if they know you will be coming and going.

Do you have other questions about siblings sharing a room?  Or do you have experience with this issue and advice for others?  Feel free to comment below!!



13 Thoughts on “Tips for Siblings Sharing a Room

  1. dena liston on March 27, 2014 at 9:39 am said:

    great ideas for co sleeping. i have them in separate rooms but i will def remember if they ever have to share.

  2. WOW! This is great info!! I’m definitely going to bookmark it and refer back for when I have kids 😉 and also share with friends who do!!!

  3. I was surprised by your statement about how much sleep a 10-month-old baby needs. There is so much variability! My first baby needed about 8 hours at night and 1 hour in the day and was rarely fussy. (But you can imagine how tired I often was, given that I could not sleep every minute she slept.) My next was closer to average in his sleep needs.

    • sleepwell on March 26, 2014 at 10:16 pm said:

      Hi Virginia – When I post numbers like that, they are averages. Some babies do need more and some do need less. I imagine you were very tired when your first was a baby!!

  4. Oh my, I look at the questions about separating the kids into their own room and I think back to my childhood – there was four of us in one room. 🙂 Today, my kids like their own room. They used to sleepover each other’s room, but not any more 🙂

    You have some serious questions here and you handled them beautifully. Thanks for sharing.

    • sleepwell on March 26, 2014 at 2:55 pm said:

      Thank you for reading Joanne!! My kids try to do sleepovers sometimes, but it often ends with them getting mad at each other and them going to their own rooms!

  5. Hi Michelle – congrats on getting the blog up!
    Reading this post brought back a lot of memories sharing a room with my older sister for our first 17 years. These are great tips that I will pass along to friends in this situation. Like Lori, I have an only child so was spared the room sharing issues :).

  6. Very good article for parents who have kids that share a room. I remember sharing a double bed with my younger brother (2 yrs. younger) from the time he got out of his crib until I was 7 years old and we moved to a house where I had my own bedroom. It’s been so long ago, I don’t remember how it was and if we woke each other up much. Lol

  7. These are some great tips. I only have the one child, but I’ll pass this on when friends who have mor talk about their challenges.

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