I wanted to share this image of our apartment by Brit Gill to show how close the kid's bedroom is to the kitchen and the living room. I talk to many people about their fears around living small and sleep or kid’s sharing rooms. Our kids both generally sleep soundly in our space. We are able to speak in a normal volume and watch movies or listen to music and even entertain friends while they sleep nearby.
These past summer months with our 2 year old have been more of a battle where she wants to stay up much later than we would like. But now that the days are getting shorter she is again going to bed at a more reasonable hour. As my mother always says, “it’s a season” and I’m glad we didn’t question our entire living situation based on summer sleep habits.
I wanted to share a few techniques and thought patterns we use or have used to get 2 kids to sleep in a shared bedroom so close to our living space.
Some tricks we use are:
Ambient Noise - a fan, music in the apartment all help to provide a bit of ambient noise to fall asleep to so they don’t wake if there is an unexpected noise.
Stay in your room - If the kid’s argue that they aren’t ready for bed we will tell them they can play quietly in their room with just a bit of light coming through the doorway. Usually they tire themselves out this way and put themselves to bed.
Staying the course - It hasn’t always been easy but we were set on making this space work. Despite Mae’s tendencies to wake easily we are now here 2 years later and both kids are sleeping in bunk beds through the night. I think this has less to do with our kids or us and more to do with the fact that we decided there wasn’t another option for us but to live and therefore sleep in our small space.
1 week rule - Every vacation or few late nights or sickness can result in a messed up schedule or kiddos crawling into our bed. We’ve learned that most issues can be overcome with one bad week. Giving up the soother?… hang on for one bad week. Lost their favourite stuffie?… one bad week. Most sleep disruptions are usually solved in less than a week as long as we stay strong.
Co-sleeping - I would like to add a disclaimer that I am not against co-sleeping and have many friends that co-sleep and swear by it and I am so happy for them. It’s just not the right thing for our family and our small space. So we have been firm in the kids sleeping in their own bed/crib from the beginning.
Quick Routine - We have always opted for a quick bedtime routine… sometimes a bath, sometimes a book, pyjamas on, brush your teeth and a quick kiss and hug at their bed. It’s not elaborate or detailed and can be repeated anywhere. I don’t know if this has helped with their shared room or sleeping but it’s what we have always done so thought it might be worth mentioning.