Were there any initial challenges to them sharing a room you can share ie) nap schedules, noise, sneaking out of bed?
Are there still challenges to them sharing a room?
Room sharing is always intimidating at the outset, but we’ve figured out some hacks to make it simpler. Firstly, naps are always in separate rooms. Our kids don’t nap anymore, but for years we had a pack-and- play set up in our bedroom for someone to nap in. We never had more than two nappers at once, so this set up was fine. Second, we stagger bedtimes to make for easier transitions. Clover is our youngest and wildest, and stopped napping before age two. The silver lining to no naps is that she’s ready for bed at 6pm, over an hour before her older siblings. If we put all the kids to bed at the same time, its chaos, with our baby as the ring leader. The olders follow around 7:30pm and are allowed to talk quietly for as long as they like as long as they’re in their beds. They rarely wake Clover, so it works well. Mornings are staggered a bit too, since Oli, our son, who is always the last to fall asleep, likes to sleep in. When I hear the girls up around 6:30am, I run in to get them out so Oli can sleep for another hour. It’s all about timing with this shared room thing!
Other tricks to make room sharing easier include black out curtains (darkness!), a white noise machine (if one wakes from a nightmare, being sick, or having an accident the others aren’t disturbed), lavender essential oil (probably just a placebo effect, but I think it’s soothing for everyone), and a baby gate at the door. Our rule is, the kids can always call for us in the night and we’ll always hear because hello, small space living, but they’re not allowed to leave their room after bedtime. We even put a potty in there so they have no excuses!
What are the good parts/benefits you see in your kids sharing a room?
Any advice or tips you can share for other parents considering sharing rooms?
Small space living, including having our three littles in the same bedroom, has shaped our family culture in so many positive ways. We simply don’t have space for tons of toys or books so we are forever purging and the kids are constantly being asked the question, “Do I really need this?Could someone else benefit from it instead?” I can’t imagine fostering minimalism and simplicity when tons of extra space tempting me to consume and acquire more, and I like that our whole family is forced to think about our things differently because of living in a smaller space.
They also have to share everything in their room, which teaches generosity and sharing from birth, and so the kids aren’t possessive of their belongings. They’re always together and are forced to get along. Recently one of our kids learned that a friend of theirs had a room separate from their sibling and they were so confused and sad by the concept. We sometimes imagine a future (far in the distance!) with an extra bedroom, but our kids insist that they’ll never want to be split up. I’m sure that will change when they’re much older, but for now we love the closeness and simplicity that comes from one shared space.
Em, I can't thank you enough for sharing this peek into your wonderful urban life with 3 kiddos. Your insights and tips are immensely helpful.