Siblings sharing rooms – are you for or against?
If having your kids share a room is something you’ve been debating, I’m here to tell you this can be a really good thing. This might surprise you, but I've found that siblings are often happy for the company– whatever age – especially around bedtime.
They will see it simply as quite normal, even nice. In a way, they don’t have the same expectations of each other in terms of comfort at night that they may have with a parent. These sleep expectations are one of the things that can trigger bedtime or overnight issues with little ones – no matter what age they are.
But when exactly to make this move can really make mums and dads panic. They might want to move the newest arrival out of their room, but there’s nowhere to go except in with a brother or sister. Logistically, in terms of space, you may not have another option, so my top tip is just to rip the band aid right off – just go for it. If you don't want to go cold turkey, you could ease them in by letting the baby nap in the 'new room' for a few days before you pack them off for the night, to get used to the new surroundings.
Siblings and even more so, twins and multiples, often find comfort in each other if they share the same sleep space. Once they have the same sleep patterns, they get on just fine. If though, one sibling or twin is waking the other, I advise parents to move the ‘rowdy’ child out to a different room to create an opportunity to sort out the sleep issue. When this is not possible, there are alternative options: one is to move the good sleeper in with one parent, or both, for a few nights while the parents tackle a little sleep coaching with their poor sleeper.
For other parents, they simply like the idea of their children sharing that night-time space. I shared a bunk with my brother for years, and we loved it. We had the space at home, so it wasn’t as if we had to share, but I don’t remember ever questioning why. Maintain routines at bedtime, stick to your rules and don’t change them because they're sharing a bedroom.
It’s often a personal choice, and not just one of logistics and not having the space to separate them. As children get older, they may prefer their own space, but you can cross that bridge when the time comes.
Kids wake at night, for all sorts of reasons. But for the most part, they are not going to be woken by a sibling and will sleep right through. They get used to each others’ presence very quickly. Don’t underestimate their relationship and don’t be afraid to give it a try.
Niamh O’Reilly is a sleep coach. She's also a baby and childcare guru, a 'parent nanny' and the answer to many a weary parent's woes. A regular in the Irish media, Niamh's book, No Fuss Baby & Toddler Sleep, is now available to buy from all good book stores or online from Amazon.com.