I’ve mentioned many times before how much we love that the girls share a room. Every time I discuss their room or that they share a room I get a flood of questions about how that works. I felt passionate about the girls sharing a room as soon as I discovered I was having a second girl. Fun fact: I’m an only child so I always dreamed of having a sister to share a room with. I have absolutely pushed those fantasies onto my children and to my delight, they love it and so do I. Today, I’m finally answering all the sibling shared room questions in one place so we’ll have it as a resource if and when you’re ready to have your kiddos share a room.
While the whole thing was always a dream of mine, I truly believe that siblings sharing a space is good for them. I think it creates a special bonding opportunity that they don’t get when they are separated. My goal as a parent is to help foster a healthy and close relationship between my two daughters. We require them to share a lot of things not just their room. Many of their toys are shared. They each have a handful of special toys that they keep in a safe place and require the other to ask before playing with them. Since the sharing is pretty non-negotiable, we don’t have a lot of fighting over possessions between the two (that’s another story with friends). I also think they have a stronger and closer relationship because they share a room because they get time together, just the two of them, while they wind down for the night. This is time that they aren’t playing or watching something – they are just being together.
Let’s dig into those questions that you have about siblings sharing a room.
How early would you suggest starting a shared bedroom? When still babies/toddlers?
This is really personal to your family. A couple of criteria that we determined would affect when our girls’ shared a room were: is everyone sleeping through the night? Does one go to bed earlier than the other? How would that look logistically? This is really dependent on each family’s bedtime routine and situation. Our girls go to bed at the same time even though they are three years apart. They both fall asleep around the same time. In the mornings, Peighton usually wakes up a bit before Millie and comes downstairs to hang with me before Millie wakes up. She never wakes her up getting up and ready for the day.
What age did they start sharing a room?
My girls started sharing a room just before Millie turned two. She had been consistently climbing out of her crib and it was quite terrifying. She wouldn’t make a peep but she would climb out in the middle of the night and then go into her closet and fall back asleep there. Since she was sleeping through the night and Peighton was showing interested in a shared room we decided to go for it. We moved two twin beds into one room and went from there.
Who wakes up first + does she wake up the other?
Peighton wakes up first every morning. Millie likes to sleep in a little bit. It a combination of Peighton being respectful and Millie being a deep sleeper but P is able to get up, get dressed, and come downstairs without waking up her sister.
Sleep! Do they wake each other up? Keep each other awake?
This is getting a bit tougher as they get older. When they were smaller, I would read them a story and sing a song and they would both lay down in their beds and fall right asleep. Usually, at some point, Millie would wake up and go to her sister’s bed but that wouldn’t stir Peighton at all. Now, they like to stay up and giggle and chat at night. For a while it was getting out of hand but now I do our bedtime routine then set a time for 5 minutes. They have 5 minutes to settle in. Once the timer goes off they know it’s time to go right to sleep. That’s been working for us.
What is your bedtime routine and how do you get them to actually go to sleep?
I touched on that briefly above but our bedtime routine looks like this, we usually watch a show as a family before bed to get them settled. Once the show is over they head upstairs to brush teeth and get in bed. I read a story or a chapter of a book, sing a song, and tuck them in. They like to listen to music while they fall asleep so I allow calming music like classical music to be played via the Echo Dot. Simultaneously, I set a timer for 5 minutes on the Dot. That gives them 5 minutes to get all of the sillies. They know that once the timer goes off, they have to go to sleep. That works well for us. They also end up sleeping in the same bunk most of the time. If they are getting too silly at bedtime then they end up in their own bunks and that always bums them out so they do pretty well with going right to sleep.
When did we start?
I mentioned that Millie was just about two. Peighton would have been just about five then. We began with two twin beds in our last house. Once we found out we were moving they asked us for bunk beds and we were happy to give them something to look forward to.
What age did you introduce the bunk beds/How old was your youngest when you felt good about the bunk beds?
We got the bunk beds when we moved here to California. Millie was just about 4 and Peighton was 7. At first, I required Millie to stay on the bottom bunk. Whenever they wanted to sleep together they had to stay on the bottom bunk. We’ve just recently allowed Millie to start sleeping on the top bunk. She’s only allowed up there with her sister and she has to sleep on the inside, closest to the wall.
I hope that’s helpful to you. I know it can feel daunting to put siblings in a shared space but I think the benefits by far outweigh the negatives. If you have any more questions about shared bedrooms leave them in the comments and I will periodically update this post so it stays up to date and remains an accurate resource!