“Room Sharing with Young Kids” is a guest post from Felicity Frankish; mum of two girls, Cassie (2.5 years) and Vivi (10 months). Felicity runs the website The Baby Vine. She loves sharing informative articles and fun play ideas to make parenting as easy as possible.
Our Big Idea
We recently made a big move with our little family. The four of us – me, my husband, 2.5-year-old Cassie and nine-month-old Vivi had been living in a three-bedroom ground floor unit since I was pregnant with Cassie. It was great! There was a big courtyard out the front, some grass out the back and it was nice and close to the train station and shops. But Vivi was getting bigger and we were beginning to long for a bit more space. We made the big move into our four-bedroom, two-story house and decided to put the girls into a room together.
In our new house, there are two rooms upstairs and two rooms downstairs. I didn’t want to be sleeping away from the girls – I wanted to be near them. We all moved in upstairs. We were initially thinking about putting a divider in their room (it’s big enough to separate), but something in me said, why not just let them share? Let’s see how it goes. We are a few months into it now and it has been the best thing ever. The girls love it, we love it and it works so well for us.
Keep reading for some of my tips if you are looking at doing the same!
Room Sharing 101: Sort Out The Bed Situation
We had one kid still in a cot and another in a bed, which did make it tricky when looking for beds for them. I was keen on a loft style set up from the start. I didn’t want the beds taking up the whole room, as I wanted them to be able to play in there as well. Keep a look out on your local buy/swap/sell pages. The loft bed we ended up with cost $1000 plus new, and we got it for free! It had stickers all over it that I had to sand back, but it was so worth it in the end.
Room Sharing 101: Set The Ground Rules
Have you ever heard of a Gro Clock? I am in love with ours. When the sun is down, Cassie knows it is sleep time, when the sun comes up she is allowed out of bed. These rules are so important for room sharing. When we first started I would put them to bed at different times, so one could drift off before the other joined them. I figured that meant less chance of talking or stirring each other. Now we go to bed together and Cassie just knows bedtime is quiet time. There’s no chatter – if anything just a bit of carry on from Vivi, and when I come to pop the dummy back in Cassie tells me how good she has been – so that’s working well.
Room Sharing 101: Make It Fun
I want the girls to actually enjoy sharing the room together. It’s their space and I know that trouble will come – so I wanted to encourage safe risk taking. Much more fun room sharing and getting up to mischief than hating it! One morning I woke up to laughter and went straight into their room. Cassie had climbed down from the top bunk and was in Vivi’s cot. It was so super cute. They were sitting in there and playing and having a blast. I didn’t want to tell Cassie off, but I also didn’t want her thinking this was ok during the night. I made sure that I reinforced the rule of no playing until the sun is up. This has worked for us ever since and I love waking up to laughter!
Room Sharing 101: Think About Day Sleeps
This was a hurdle I didn’t think about to begin with. We have set up another cot downstairs to combat it. Cassie and Vivi go down at different times during the day and this Mumma didn’t want them waking each other. Cassie sleeps in her bed and Vivi sleeps downstairs. Eventually this will change but for now, it’s working for us.
Should you? Could you?
Room sharing has been the best thing for the girls and I love it too. During winter I can’t help but think how much we are saving on electricity just heating up the one room – bonus! Plus, I love watching the bond between Cassie and Vivi grow and this just helps it along. I both dread and look forward to seeing what sort of mischief they get up to in future years.
If you’ve got any experience with room sharing that you’d like to share with our audience (hints, tips or horror stories!) please feel free to have your say in the comments.